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 Letters Published in November 19, 2008 Issue



November 19, 2008 - Letter submitted by Danny Baker, Knightstown Police Chief

Dear Editor,

More than 250 state and local law enforcement agencies will step up seat belt patrols, impaired driving patrols and speed enforcement in order to prevent senseless tragedies from occurring on Indiana's roadways this Thanksgiving holiday season. The Thanksgiving holiday period runs from November 21 at 6 p.m. through November 26 at 6 a.m.

The statewide Safe Family Travel Operation Pull Over enforcement blitz will begin on Friday, November 14, and will conclude on Sunday, November 30. This effort will consist of Indiana law enforcement officers working thousands of overtime hours day and night to ensure that motorists travel safely on the state's roadways.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is one of the most heavily traveled times of year and this year will be no exception. Many people will travel to visit with family and friends during this time and Knightstown officers are committed to making sure these families reach their destinations safely.

Last year, 20 percent of all fatal collisions were speed related. Ten people were killed in traffic crashes during the 2007 Thanksgiving holiday period alone. Twenty percent of those deaths were alcohol related. In nearly one-half of the fatal collisions that occurred around Thanksgiving 2007, the person killed was not wearing their safety belt.

Nighttime is a more dangerous time on the road because seat belt use is shown to be lower. Of the 266 night time passenger vehicle occupant deaths that occurred nationally during the 2006 Thanksgiving holiday period, more than one-half (138) died with their seat belts unfastened (where seat belt use was known.)

Daytime seat belt use is slightly higher, still nearly half of those killed during the daytime hours were unrestrained. Studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) consistently show that wearing a seat belt increases one's chances of surviving a crash by more than 60 percent.

"Safe Family Travel" is a statewide enforcement effort that is funded with federal dollars awarded to Indiana from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The effort encompasses seat belt and impaired driving initiatives. To further publicize this effort, ICJI will launch a paid statewide television and radio media flight promoting "Click It or Ticket" and "Over the Limit Under Arrest" from November 12-25.


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 November 19, 2008 - Letter submitted by Nate LaMar, New Castle

 Dear Editor,

The USA made history last week, electing its first African-American President. The contrast between the two candidates’ voting records, experience and ideologies were very different. As the USA makes the transition from one of its most conservative presidencies ever, to one of its most liberal governments ever, the world will be watching, as we set the example for a peaceful transition in our republic.

I found myself on the losing side in last week’s Presidential race, having chaired fellow service academy graduate John McCain’s winning eastern Indiana campaign. However, I believe that President-Elect Obama will similarly follow President Abraham Lincoln’s order to Union troops at the end of our Civil War, to treat Confederate soldiers with “charity towards all and malice towards none.” Indeed I will respect President-Elect Obama as our next Commander-in-Chief. After all, having led an African-American majority US Army unit in Germany, I know that President-Elect Obama will inspire many of our minority soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.

For well over 200 years, our armed forces have fought and died to preserve freedom in this country and elsewhere in the world. What distinguishes our military from that of many other countries is the fact that our active duty military personnel are not allowed to engage in politics, other than voting. Rather, they are to obey the lawful orders of their civilian chain-of-command, which includes the President (as Commander-in-Chief), Secretary of Defense, and the various Secretaries of each branch of service. Our elected officials are our policy makers, while our military are our policy enforcers.

In today’s world, we find militaries commonly interfering in politics, such as in Myanmar (Burma) or formerly in Pakistan and Chile. Thankfully Chile had a peaceful transition to democracy. We can only hope and pray that Pakistan will. In Russia’s less than democratic Duma (parliament), some generals and admirals serve. In the USA, this is only allowed if military personnel are retired or otherwise leave active duty, whether to become Reservists or National Guardsmen. Indeed the Russian transition from Communism to democracy was very difficult, and has thrown Russia back to an authoritarian government. Jim Walton and I were among only about a dozen classmates who studied Arabic at West Point. Today, Arabic is capped at around 200 students per class, as there aren’t enough instructors for the demand! Jim hailed from Rockville, MD and competed on the Army swimming team.

Having each failed a semester of calculus our plebe year, Jim and I spent some time together retaking it in summer school! A fellow linguist, Jim also knew some French, German, and Spanish, and was commissioned an Infantry officer. In late June 2008, Lieutenant Colonel Jim Walton was killed in action in Afghanistan. His death was not in vain, but rather helped to preserve a fragile democracy in Afghanistan, so that it, too, can continue its transition from Taliban despotism to democracy.

President Ronald Reagan once paraphrased Matthew 5:14, saying that our country should be “the shining city on a hill,” setting the example for others to follow. The world is watching as we undergo our peaceful transition of government. Thank a veteran today for making this possible in our country.



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