Banks County Opinions...

September 26, 2001

Letter To The Editor

The Banks County News
September 26, 2001

Didn't appreciate Beckstein's column
Dear Editor:
I would like to make a few comments in response to Rochelle Beckstein's column on the Opinion Page of The Banks County News, 9-19-01, titled "Maybe war is not the answer."
First of all, I am a Vietnam vet and consider myself to be a conservative libertarian, of sorts. When I was in Vietnam, I carried a weapon, fired the weapon and beat the bush. I know "first-hand" how terrible and indescribable a war-like atmosphere really is.
Ms. Beckstein states that, "They (Muslims? Mideasterners? Terrorists?) need to be taught about Jesus Christ and Christianity." I would make the case that the terrorists know all about Jesus Christ. And as far as education goes, a lot of them have been and are being educated right here in the good old U.S. of A. with the help of my tax dollars!
Make no mistake, Tuesday's attack was an attack on USA, in particular, and an attack on humanity in general. I believe Ms. Beckstein, among others, has the idea backwards.
As far as "having an international anti-terrorist task force within the United Nations" goes, let me ask you this: Are you kidding? Are you serious? Just look at the past/current record of the United Nations. The USA has been having to play a "short hand" with the United Nations ever since we first sat down at the table. The deck has "usually" been stacked against us from the start, Check it out.
Look at our track record when we really got fed up and got serious with international terrorists. Remember World War II, Khadafy (Libya)? Look what happens when we get serious, but just don't go quite far enough. Remember Saddam (Iraq)? I learned a long time ago that when you're backed into a corner and have to fight the schoolyard bully, you had better not just knock him down. You'd better jump on top and pound him into the dirt. Finish the job at hand or your back will be dealing with him (and probably his friends) in the not-too-distant future. I know personally.
In Ms. Beckstein's statement, "We choose whether to follow the directives of our ancestors or to open our minds to the possibility they were wrong," what is that supposed to mean? I, for one, am glad we didn't have more "like-minded" people such as Ms. Beckstein at such times as our American Revolution or World War II. Just imagine where we'd be today.
In closing, may I suggest that Ms. Beckstein change her bed sheets, They're all wet and are infecting her mind.
I, for one, refuse to be a "sheeple" (sheep-like people) to any organization or government, terrorist or otherwise. I'm doing it for my children and yours, too, believe it or not.
I thank you for reading this letter, my steam level is a little lower now that I've vented some off.
Larry Burdge
P.S. Could you please hand me some more ammo? My magazines are a little low right now. War is hell, I know. Freedom is not free, likewise, security is not secure.

By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
September 26, 2001

15 minutes
For 11 days, pictures of horrors unimaginable made their unwanted way into eyes that wished to be blind. Images cascading, colliding, one into another, into another, creating a macabre collage from which there seemed to be no escape. In a bottomless despair, the list of the dead raced fast-forward over and over. Always stopping at the names of five children on the flights that crashed. A darkness was overwhelming me.
Then I saw a sign and felt the need to go inside. It was a place I never would have pictured myself frequenting. Yet, there I was, standing at a counter talking to a warm, smiling woman. I followed her to a room and closed the door.
For 15 heaven-sent minutes, I was able to put the distress, the feeling of helplessness, out of my mind.
For 15 minutes, I basked in sunshine, wrapped in the warmth, of all things, a tanning bed. As I closed the lid, I was able to shut out the world and all its problems.
I went instead to a fond memory of a stretch of Florida beach where gulls fought over bits of bait tossed in the air by a fisherman finished for the morning.
The breeze coming off the ocean lifted loose curls, tickling my forehead.
Two toddlers played and giggled on the shoreline, clumsily scampering in and out of the waves that sought to tickle their feet.
A mom watched, lovingly, as her two young daughters gleefully buried dad up to his chin and then poured a bucket of sea water on his face. They raced off laughing as dad burst from his sandy bed in hot pursuit feigning annoyance.
Off to my right, a young couple spread oil on each other, gently, tenderly, with the infatuating smiles of new-found affection.
I rise and walk across warm, white sand into the foaming waves. The water clear and sparkling, roiling on the crests with sand and shells and flotsam. One knocks me over in the shallows and I find myself laughing in sheer delight trapped in the undulations of the irregular breakers. Helpless in the power of the surf, one wave smashes me towards shore and the wake pulls me back out. I wonder, "Am I too old to be having this much fun?" Then I ask myself, "Do I care?"
I move out to deeper water and, on my back, float on the turquoise surface, bobbing up and down, watching the pelicans cruise the shallows. It's so peaceful and I'm so happy.
I thanked the powers that be for such bliss. "I won't forget this blessing," I promised.
Suddenly, the "sun" goes dark. My time is up. My hand moves to open the lid, but hesitates. "If I could only stay here" But, I know I can't. One can't hide from life, be it happy or sad, if one wants to live.
And I do want to live and keep my promise to remember those very special memories that hold such joy of life.
It's those memories that help maintain equilibrium in agonizing times. What I realized in that 15 minutes was that with sure footing, one can keep going, keep striving keep the faith.
Shar porier is a reporter for The Banks County News. Her email address is

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Homer, Georgia
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