Involve our youth in national gun debate
Recently, I traveled to our nation's Capitol as a member of the West Virginia delegation representing middle and high school student council members at a national leadership training conference. Among the 800 student leaders from across the United States, I had an opportunity to meet and speak with two students from Newtown, Conn.
Our brief meeting reminded me both of the recent horrific tragedies related to guns that are occurring all across our nation as well as the consequences in form of major debates on gun laws. Both in West Virginia and across our nation, the so-called experts are arguing for their respective points of view on gun control laws and advocating for policies to make our schools safer. In an effort to edify their audiences, these experts often cite factors for gun violence such as video games, movies, and the current day media. Some want to turn our schools into fortresses with more locks, more surveillance, stronger windows and more law enforcement officers.
However, there is one view that few experts have taken in this debate. That view is from the eyes of students involved in these and future incidences. Whether it is a shooting, a threat of shooting, a suicide on our rail tracks, drug abuse, or bullying, there is no doubt that we, the local students are closer and more informed on these issues than these experts. Why? Because we also happen to be the victims.
So why is it that in communities, towns and states, students are not being solicited to offer solutions? The problem here is that youths are just not involved. If engaged, these youths would tell you that violent videogames and media aren't as big as the problems of social pressures that are in schools today. Students are well aware of these invisible pressures in schools that were not only nonexistent but unthought of at the time when these experts were in school.
Whether it is cyber-bullying, drugs, sleep deprivation, social influences, rising single-parent and no-parent homes or extreme competitive academic pressure, the world inside a school is very different and mysterious than it was even a decade ago. So, that leads me to my point that there should be more participation of youths in these campaigns against violence in schools.
The younger generation knows how to communicate with their peers in a way that they will connect. Active and meaningful youth participation would allow the message of nonviolence to spread in our culture faster than any gun rules or laws and make learning a safer endeavor overall. So, let's involve our young people once again to solve our societal problems and it will result in more responsible adult Americans for generations to come.
Tug Valley Chamber is rebuilding its history
The Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Coal House, which houses the chamber. We are seeking information about those who have served as executive directors of the chamber or as past president of the chamber board with information about their years of service, significant events which occurred during their tenure, photos and current status of the person. Any mementoes of historic significance -- old photos of the chamber, of events which occurred, of people involved in events, programs which were used for commemorative events -- would be appreciated, since we lost our records in a recent fire.
We would also be interested in any information about the early history of the chamber as well as that of the Coal House. We would like the information by March 15. Information may be sent to me at the address below, or by email to lhvanme...@suddenlink.net, or to the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, 73 E. Second Ave., Williamson, WV 25661. Information also may be emailed to the attention of Natalie Young at tv...@frontier.com. Thank you.
Linda Van Meter
1730 W. Fifth Ave.
Williamson, WV 25661