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OPINION PAGE - OCTOBER 27, 1999 - HOMER, GA

Editorial
The Banks County News
October 27, 1999

Time for parents
to take blame
Children bringing guns into schools...Teen pregnancy running rampant. And now Georgia middle school children engaging in group sex parties...
What is the world coming to? Who is to blame? These questions are thrown around daily. The answer is pretty easy. The majority of the time, parents are to blame.
The recent reports from Rockdale County where a large number of middle school students have sexually transmitted diseases are shocking. Sexual activity is reportedly beginning as early as age 12 and some children have more than 100 sex partners.
This is appalling. There is no excuse for a 12-year-old child to have the opportunity to have 100 sex partners. Where were the parents? This is the worst example of neglect. Some parents blamed their work schedule. Others whined that they deserved to have a social life and go on dates. This is ridiculous.
If an adult makes a decision to have a child, they must take all of the responsibility that comes with parenthood. It is certainly not an easy job, but it is one that must be taken seriously.
Work is never an excuse. If work takes so much responsibility and time that your child will suffer, don't become a parent. If you have to leave work so early every morning that you leave your child standing alongside the road alone waiting for a bus, don't become a parent. If you have to leave elementary, middle and even early high school age children alone in the afternoons, don't become a parent. Parenthood is a choice and it is a choice that some people don't need to be making.
And it's not too late for those people who are already parents. Rockdale County is not isolated. The things going on there could very well be going on in our area. Parents need to set their priorities where they should be-on their families. They may work more hours in order to live in a nicer house, but what is more important: Living in a big house or having a child with morals?


Letters
The Banks County News
October 27, 1999

Domestic Violence Awareness Month observed
Dear Editor:
Are you aware that:
According to data gathered by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every year between two and four million American women are battered by their husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence is the leading cause of serious injury to American women, more common than muggings and car crashes combined. Every day, four women are killed by a husband or boyfriend.
Those of us not in the direct path of domestic violence may feel unaffected by domestic violence. However, domestic violence contributes to violence against all persons in our communities and neighborhoods because violence is often learned in the home. Our backyards and neighborhoods would be safer for all of us if domestic violence were not so common.
The financial cost of domestic violence (law enforcement, prosecution, incarceration) is another burden that we all bear. Moreover, we bear the financial burden of incarcerating violent offenders who quite possibly learned violent behavior in the home. In short, we all feel the cost of the destructive and deadly epidemic of domestic violence - emotionally and/or financially.
As a part of the effort to end domestic violence, the month of October is designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month: A time for reflection, sadness and hope. The purposes of Domestic Violence Awareness Month are threefold. It is a time for: Mourning those who died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who have survived domestic violence and honoring those who work to end violence.
This October, please open your heart and mind to the seriousness of domestic violence as both a threat to those directly involved, and a societal tragedy in which we all share. Across, the nation, domestic violence will be highlighted for what it is - an epidemic which consumes precious lives and resources.
Sincerely,
Joan V. Murray
Jefferson Parole Office

Column
By Sherry Lewis
The Banks County News
October 27, 1999

Being sports crazy
must be hereditary
My son, Ben, is the latest in a long line of Langfords to be bitten by the "sports bug."
My first introduction to this wild and sometimes erratic behavior was when we used to visit my uncle Jack. I remember my dad telling my mom, "Jack is not going to be in a very good mood."
I wondered if he were psychic or something, because he was always right. Don't get me wrong, Jack didn't go around throwing things, it was just the look on his face, his posture and his attitude. I soon realized that his sickness was called "Bulldogitis," which could be good or could be bad.
In the bad times, it wasn't as if we set out to gloat on his unhappiness; we would just run into him at my grandmother's house. Unless things were really bad and we would just see my aunt Minnie, who would let us know that he had to stay home until he was feeling better or until next Saturday rolled around.
Then I began to understand he was not just a normal Georgia Bulldogs fan, especially when I remember the decor in some parts of his home. It included that big hairy dog wearing the red sweater with the "G" on it.
While I experienced this behavior on a somewhat limited basis with Jack, the next thing I knew my brother, Keith, had contracted the "sports bug." Until recently, it would be hard to find a ball game on at my house unless it was a Braves playoff game, except when Keith visits. When that happens, I can find the tube tuned to any and every college football, professional football, baseball or basketball game known to man. There is a noise that is somewhat foreign to my ears. The fans, the commentators and the noise of a full-fledged ball game vibrates in my living room.
And yes, my brother has that sports decor going on at his house also. I look around and I see a Braves and a Bulldog room. I guess he has that option since he's single.
I've come to realize that Ben has got a bad case of the "sports bug" himself. I realized it when I send him to bed and went to bed myself because the Braves blew a 7-0 lead. At least, I woke up the next morning to hear "Bring on the Yankees." I couldn't wait to tell him, but he later confessed that he went to bed and turned on his television and never missed an inning.
It gets worse. He spends his television time watching ESPN news. All season, he told me how many home runs Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had every day. He even talks about World Cup soccer and racing and loves the Bulldogs and wants to like the Falcons.
The other day, I mentioned my dilemma to a friend of mine. I told her how sports crazy my son has become. I talked of my brother and my uncle. Her reply: "I just don't understand y'all!!" Y'all. What do you mean? How can I ever be put into a group with those sports fanatics? Her simple reply, "I've been with you to a basketball game." So what if I get a little excited? I guess it runs in the family.
Sherry Lewis is news editor of The Banks County News.


Letters
The Banks County News
October 27, 1999

Disagrees with council's action
Dear Editor:
I'm responding to the story that was put in last week's paper about a fruit stand and Grady McDuffie. What Deloris Thomas and Robert Bohannon said is not true. He has not sold anything from inside the building. The council is a bunch of people who make their own rules without the mayor's consent. Grady is a 71-year-old. He is on oxygen 24 hours a day. He has cancer of the mouth and is a diabetic. That is the kind of people we have on our Baldwin City Council. He has a license until January 1.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Grady McDuffie
Baldwin


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