Are schools safe?

In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, what is our school district going to do to improve safety and security in Berkeley County Schools?

My child started at Berkeley Elementary School for the 2012-13 school year, and I have been observing the routines each day when taking him to school.

Why are our courthouses and police offices equipped with metal detectors, security doors and bulletproof glass, but our schools have no protection? Law enforcement officers have weapons to arm them, but our schools have no recourse against the risk of criminals or pedophiles.

Schools should have stronger security systems. The main entrance should be a secure area where only students and visitors with security badges or school escorts can pass through. Security glass walls and doors should be installed in the foyer of the schools to keep students safe.

Instead of the recent tax increase to build new schools, I would like to see some of that money used to increase the safety and security of our existing schools.

I have not been at peace with the lack of security I have witnessed since the first day of school.

We need to protect our schools and our children.

Clarence Harwell III

Highway 402

Moncks Corner

Eisenhower tribute

There are seven words that sum up opposition to the work of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission: “Please start over. Immediately release the architect.” The first draft of Frank Gehry’s muddled models in his unseemly (and unsightly) design invites a characterization of “billboards” from Susan Eisenhower, Ike’s granddaughter.

Thanks to columnist Paul Greenberg for joining legions of critics who regard Gehry’s design as lame and lacking in understanding of Eisenhower’s success, especially during World War II.

Millions of Americans and Europeans were set free by the heroic allied effort. Ike led it bravely and efficiently. A superior design by Daniel Cook of Atlanta proposes a triumphal arch featuring a statue of Eisenhower in military uniform on one side and a statue of him as president on the other.

Gehry has presented images of Ike barefoot on a farm in Kansas. A congressional subcommittee was told by Susan Eisenhower: “The man we celebrate was not a dreamy boy.”

Eisenhower was forced to fight battles on multiple fronts during World War II.

Now he has another: The smug modernists who seek to diminish Ike’s legacy as Leader of the Free World.

Ben Kilgore

Arbor Road

Summerville

Be informed

There seem to be many opinions about guns, about what can be done, about what should be done.

Here are two sources for information: the Brady Campaign (www.bradycampaign.org) and The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org).

The general public needs to get some facts. Read what laws and policies are in effect in South Carolina. Read about other states. Get informed.

Evelyn Dolven

Chadwick Drive

Charleston

A little kindness

The story of the homeless woman set on fire while she slept on the city bus bench in Los Angeles was horrendous enough in its own right, but the additional gut-wrencher was the comment from the man who had wished her a Merry Christmas: “She was happy to have someone talk to her.”

We provide food and shelter for those who can’t afford such basic needs; we collect toys for children whose Christmas would be bleak without them; we drop money into the Salvation Army bucket and donate to worthy charities — all wonderful and necessary gestures.

But do we remember that many people’s lives would be made happier by offering the most fundamental gesture of all, a smile and a simple “hello”?

At my college, we had the “speaking tradition,” the very simple expectation that we would speak and be spoken to by anyone we met on campus. It was premised on the notion that we never get to know someone we don’t have dialogue with.

However, getting to know someone may not be the best reason to speak. Giving another person an unsolicited greeting just may make the day for someone whose misfortunes have taken hold of his or her life, someone, for example, whose bed is a city bus bench.

Or it may give the schoolyard loner a feeling of enough self-worth to avert a rampage that takes the lives of innocent people going about their daily routines.

At this time when we make resolutions that are often hard to sustain, I suggest we all resolve to come out of ourselves to address the quiet needs of those who need the boost that comes from sensing that even a stranger cares about them.

Can you imagine what it must be like to be ignored? Is there any greater blow to one’s dignity?

Bert Hudnall

Ashley Avenue

Charleston

The latest lawsuit

A New Haven, Conn.-based attorney has been hired by the family of an unidentified six-year-old girl who survived the shooting at Newtown Elementary school.

The child was never exposed to the killer, was not injured in any physical fashion and only heard the event over the PA system.

Predictably, the $100 million legal claim “isn’t about the money,” but only to prevent future school massacres.

Terry Williamson

Spalding Circle

Goose Creek

Hacking update

Once again, the latest update on the S.C. Department of Revenue hacking leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. One statement really stood out.

The statement “If you do not receive such a letter, it is likely that your data was not hacked” is simply incomprehensible. Likely? Shouldn’t the SCDOR know if my data were hacked or not?

Everyone should be receiving notification that tells them whether or not their information was compromised.

This Keystone Kops approach by our governor and her SCDOR management staff has gone from incredible to ludicrous and is now approaching the moronic.

I want to know the status of my personal information from an official notification from the SCDOR. Do I need the assistance of an “activist judge” to get this?

Paul Vecellio

East Edgefield Drive

Summerville