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Letters

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Shaquille O'Neal will lose his special deputy's badge in Maricopa County because of language he used in a rap video that mocks former teammate Kobe Bryant.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said the Phoenix Suns center's use of racially derogatory word and other foul language left him no choice. Arpaio made Shaq a special deputy in January and promoted him to colonel of his largely ceremonial posse earlier this month.

"I want his two badges back," Arpaio told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Because if any one of my deputies did something like this, they're fired. I don't condone this type of racial conduct."

That shouldn't poise a problem for Shaq. He can just pin on his Bedford County Deputy Sheriff's Badge! Has anyone from the State Police honored him yet? (He may have another backup badge.) This gives me an idea for a new product similar to 'Cracker Jacks' with a badge in every box.

Jeff Robertson

Bedford

Lost benefits

The statement by the Rubatex official that they are committed to the community is a slap in the face to the people that lost jobs, retirees that lost health benefits, and some others that didn't receive all of their severance awards because of a so-called "bankruptcy."

If this is the same company that has been in business since 1935, someone should look into the crooked management that has cheated these people out of so much these last several years. Even the City of Bedford should have a bad taste in their mouths over the utilities and tax revenue they lost.

Jimmy Cundiff

Bedford

For our soldiers

Our VFW Post, 2157 here in Bedford is collecting contributions and donations for the welcome home of our soldiers of Company A 1-116th Infantry, Virginia Army National Guard. These soldiers have been gone for a year and we are having a party for them and their families on July 13 in Appomattox, about 200 people approximately.

These soldiers have been fighting in the deadliest areas of Iraq, performing convoy security, exposing themselves to IEDs and roadside bombs everyday. These soldiers are primarily from Bedford, Lynchburg and Prince Edward counties. With good luck and all of the thoughts and prayers, these soldiers are returning home without any major casualties.

We are accepting anything that will help our cookout celebration. Some of the things that can be used are food for the cookout, drinks of all types, plates, flatware, small gifts for spouses and children, etc. Any amount of help is appreciated. Cash is also accepted and will be used. 100 percent of all donations will go to these soldiers and families. We are taking this project on because the unit's Family Readiness Group can no longer fund-raise or ask for donations. Donations can be given to any VFW post member, dropped at the Bedford National Guard Armory or mailed to VFW, P.O. Box 95, Bedford, VA 24523.

If any further information is needed please contact VFW Senior Vice Commander Robert Smith at (540) 587-0213 or bobbys1947@yahoo.com.

George W. Lawhorn

Commander, Post 2157 VFW

Bedford

What would General Lee do?

I'm a school teacher living in the Bedford area. Both of my children, Meghan and Carter, are graduates of Liberty High School.

I'm bothered by the recent incident at LHS relating to a handful of students who decided to fly one or more "Confederate" flags on the last day of school. I have no first-hand knowledge of the incident and base the following comments solely on a couple of articles that have been printed in the Bedford Bulletin about the matter.

I am proud to call Dr. Cherie Whitehurst, Liberty's principal, my friend. My son Carter often attends the church her husband pastors. Cherie is a fine Christian woman serving in a very demanding leadership position. According, she has to make tough decisions on the spur of the moment, not to benefit a select few but the whole as a group. No leader is always "right," but still, she has the "right" and obligation to do what she feels is best for the good of the school.

I find it very interesting and somewhat disturbing that the day chosen for this proclaimed expression of "Southern heritage" and "freedom of speech" was the last day of school. That it was preplanned by more than one student is obvious. If not, what a strange coincidence! Having worked with young people for over 40 years, trust me when I say they know how to get a rise out of adults (not such a bad thing in itself).

Dr. Whitehurst and her staff were incredibly busy and perhaps even a tad stressed that last day of school (the last few weeks are always stressful on teachers and administrators). If these young men profess to be true Southerners and wish to honor Confederate veterans (it is their flag they chose to fly), let me suggest you don't accomplish that by yanking the chain of an adult Christian lady who is also in a position of authority. In my lifetime there was a huge glass ceiling for women aspiring to be high school principals.

Dr. Whitehurst has helped shatter that ceiling and deserves better. General Robert E. Lee, who was and still is one of my top-five heroes, often said the number one rule in life for a young man was to always "Bring honor to your mother." He left out the term "father" because he felt that the mother (woman) was the more important of the two in the long-term.

If these two young men from LHS truly love the South and all of its historical traditions, you simply must pay attention to General Lee and the way he led his life. It escapes me why folks today like to use (misuse?) the Confederate flag for various agendas. What relevance does it really have today in that the army it flew over ceased to exist in 1865? As an historical symbol, it's timeless and I'm proud to see it in its proper context (such as when I attended a Civil War re-enactment).

Were I a person of color, I would certainly see past the "defending my heritage" defense expressed by one of the involved young men. He may be 100 percent serious about his feelings but then again, I'm old enough to remember very vividly the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-'60s and it was a none-too-pleasant experience; in fact, America at its worst and best at the same time. If they could come back in time, General Lee and his Lieutenants would be appalled by what they see - Skinheads and Neo-Nazis carrying Confederate battle flags, beach towels and head scarfs adorned with the emblem, vulgar T-shirts using it as a background, etc. - especially any use of the flag to cause a negative reaction from someone.

I have no problem with Dixie Outfitters shirts but just this year alone asked that a similar Confederate shirt with an outright sexual connotation be taken off in my class and not worn again. I didn't clear this with my school principal. It's my class, I'm prior military, and I'm 54 years old (an adult by all standards). I'm in a position of authority to ask this. I was reasonable about it and out of respect my student did what I asked of him. I remain impressed by his professional attitude toward me. Doesn't Dr. Whitehurst deserve as much?

One of the young men who wrote the Bedford Bulletin suggested that community leaders might be showing "ignorance" over this whole matter (Southern heritage, etc.). Perhaps, but to look at it another way, maybe they're all too aware of past cases in the school system where the Confederate flag was clearly (and inappropriately) used as a racial symbol.

I would not lose any sleep over complaints of discrimination. High school principals and teachers too must balance this issue every single day. We all willingly and rightfully discriminate on a daily basis. Students are masters at it. They decide to date a certain person over another (tall vs short, one ethnicity over another, blonde vs brunette, etc.), to wear certain styles of clothes, to get up and go to school vs staying at home, to study for a certain class at the expense of another one, to cause trouble for a certain teacher while being an angel in another classroom.

When true Southerners, many of the kin-folk of Confederate veterans who paid the ultimate price, start policing up this sort of unnecessary behavior, we'll all be the better for it. I always ask myself, "What would General Lee do?" He'd ask for us to get along, to put aside any hidden agendas, to show respect to all American flags (Confederate included), to remember the "Golden Rule," and to love and respect one-another, <*U>with no exceptions<*P>, as Christ loved and still loves us.

Does it bring more honor, or less, on Confederate soldiers by bringing in Confederate flags to school on the last day? Answer that question honestly and I think you'll make General Lee (and school officials) proud.

William Brown

Bedford

Descendant of Confederate soldiers who rode with J.E.B. Stuart and marched with "Stonewall" Jackson

Open for the season

The Bedford Farmers Market has opened for the season. It is very exciting to have such a variety of vendors offering Fruits, Vegetables, Plants, Bread, Pies, Cookies and other Baked Goods. Herbs, Medicinal Teas, Handmade Soap & Lotion, Eggs, Jellies & Fresh Cut Flowers.

We are pleased to have periodical vendors offering Handmade Pottery, Jewelry, Prepared Foods and a variety of other items. Everyone is encouraged to stop by to visit & shop.

Spending money locally keeps your community thriving and family farms alive. Most fruits & vegetables purchased in grocery stores travel up to 1,500 miles before reaching their purchase point. Not to mention the time that has passed since being harvested. The shorter the route from the farm to your table the more nutrients on your plate.

So join us at the market on Tuesdays from 3 – 7 p.m. at “Tasty Tuesdays” or stop by the market during regular season hours Tuesday and Friday 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Laura Manning

Farmers Market Manager

Bedford Main Street, Inc.

Fairness Doctrine — Nothing fair about it

There is a bill before Congress (S333) that would reinstate a federal communication's policy. The title sounds like it would be something to support, "Fairness in Broadcasting Act of 1993," but to the contrary we need to oppose it.

The supporters say that the scarce amount of spectrum space requires oversight by federal regulators. Although the spectrum is limited, the number of broadcasters in America has increased over the years.

When the fairness doctrine was first conceived, only 2,881 radio and 98 television stations existed. By 1960, there were 4,309 radio and 569 television stations. By 1989, these numbers grew to over 10,000 radio stations and close to 1,400 television stations. Likewise, the number of radios in use jumped from 85.2 million in 1950 to 527.4 million by 1988, and televisions in use went from 4 million to 175.5 million during that period. ("The Fairness Doctrine," National Association of Broadcasters, Backgrounder (1989).)

The supporters also say Fairness or fair access is best determined by FCC authorities. Why does the federal government need to police the airwaves to ensure that differing views are heard? All you have to do is turn the dial or change the channel. Bill Ruder admitted, "We had a massive strategy to use the fairness doctrine to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters, and hope the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." (Tony Snow, "Return of the Fairness Demon," The Washington Times, September 5, 1993, p. B3.)

The supporters propose the fairness doctrine will guarantee that more opinions will be aired.

Then why did the FCC rule in 1987 that the fairness doctrine "had the net effect of reducing, rather than enhancing, the discussion of controversial issues of public importance," and therefore was in violation of constitutional principles. ("FCC Ends Enforcement of Fairness Doctrine," Federal Communications Commission News, Report No. MM-263, August 4, 1987.)

Given the above information, now is the time to contact your congressmen and senators and ask that they sign the Discharge Petition to bring the Broadcasters Freedom Act up for a vote. The Discharge Petition was filed over 250 days ago and not one Democrat has signed on. If you are for free speech it is imperative that you voice your concern now.

Janet Robey

Bedford

Commitment?

The Bedford Memorial Hospital recently ran a two-page ad in this very paper. The hospital boasted of it's "commitment," "dedication," and it's "compassion" to the community's "health and well-being." There was a message from the president stating "your care and welfare are our greatest concern. We are committed to caring for and serving our community."

My question is this: If this is true, why is it that Carilion continues to force doctors out of their practice by saying they aren't making the hospital enough money? Physician's Associates lost another doctor, my personal physician in fact, just this last month. Why?

He wasn't generating enough funds to suit Carilion. These doctors are limited in their means to generate income. They deal with patients on Medicare and Medicaid, neither of which will pay the outrageous prices that the hospital demands from its other patients with regular insurance.

By and large it was nice piece on the hospital what with the ad for free coffee in the waiting room and a $2 off coupon for the gift shop.

Barry Arrington

Bedford