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A personal constitutional dilemma

first_imgTo the Editor:Halloween 2017 put me in a quagmire with my own personal feelings which I inevitably pitted against the Constitution. This day brought forth another terrorist attack on American soil by a terrorist who pledged loyalty to ISIS. My immediate reaction was probably like others, it has to stop and we must do anything to deter people from committing these acts, full well knowing that logically this is not possible. Raw emotion can be dangerous if not reigned in and my second thought was this person deserves nothing and should get nothing other than death. As the events of the day unfolded some began to suggest that this person should be treated as an enemy combatant. My initial reaction was that this is an appropriate course of action and could technically be constitutional. This person pledged allegiance to ISIS which has declared the United States its sworn enemy, an enemy not of a country but an enemy in ideology scattered throughout the world.My thought process flowed logically to some degree because if someone declares allegiance to another country or a foreign entity they are siding against the Constitution. Logically they have given up their Constitutional Rights and should be treated as an enemy combatant and due process does not apply. As I pondered this and my emotions calmed down and I started questioning my own reasoning. This person was here legally and as such they are afforded the same rights as we are. This Constitutional Republic is built on the premise that all are equal under the eyes of the law and the Constitution. Suspending Habeas Corpus on an individual who was admitted into this country legally would be a very slippery slope.I continued to ponder if this is something that could be decided by the courts via a judge. Could a judge make a ruling as to if an individual’s rights to due process, could he be stripped and reclassified but I hit the same wall. Having a judge make this decision is a slippery slope. How could we trust the courts or the government to do the right thing, what would stop them from abusing such authority. I thought about it more and realized why the founders feared mob mentality so much. When a time of crisis is upon us, people are willing to throw away all ideals and reasoning to achieve justice even if an injustice results.As I viewed this dilemma that I inflicted upon myself I realized once again why the Constitution is so important and not outdated. The Constitution not only protects us from the Government but also protects us from ourselves, to protect us from the enemy within. The enemy is raw emotion, mob mentality. That is why this terrorist, a monster, a stain on mankind still must have due process. The 5th & 6th Amendment is clear and if we allow mob mentality to take control and deny due process then what happens when they come after me to deny due process. Maybe it will be you the reader who they come for in the middle of the night to take you into the darkness. SHAWN JARYNOlast_img read more

Art and catastrophe

first_imgAt the reception, Vlad Vepryev, a Ukraine-born graduate student in government at the Harvard Extension School, peered intently at the photographs. He was 12 when Chernobyl went up in radioactive smoke. A few days later, the political elite of his town, which was  more than 100 miles  from the unreported disaster, watched the May Day parade on a hot spring day. In a parody of radiation protection, they were dressed in winter clothes and wearing outsized sunglasses — not yet ready to share the secret with the public at large.And D’Avignon’s  photo show? “It’s a clear picture of regular life,” said Vepryev , “regular life in the Ukrainian countryside without any chance of going back.”The photo exhibit is on display at the Knafel Building’s Fischer Commons through Aug. 12. Twenty-five years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster, that single word still packs enormous power. Chernobyl is now a deserted city in northern Ukraine, but for some people it is also a nine-letter argument for eliminating nuclear power.Tuesday of this week (April 26) marked the quarter-century anniversary of the accident, which released 400 times the radiation as the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima.Smoke-borne radiation from an explosion and fire at Reactor No. 4 contaminated 2,600 square kilometers, and penetrated parts of Belarus, Russia, and Europe. Nearby, 350,000 people were evacuated, including 50,000 from Prypiat, a workers’ city a few kilometers away. To this day, it is a spooky ghost town, whose abandoned ferris wheel has become an iconic image of sudden disaster.Stress likely took a greater toll following the accident than radiation did, said Harvard Kennedy School Associate Professor Matthew Bunn, an expert on nuclear energy, proliferation, theft, and terrorism. Photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerThe Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University commemorated Chernobyl with a one-day workshop April 26. Scholars discussed the disaster’s ecological consequences, its psychological toll, and its meaning for the future of nuclear power internationally.Historian Paul Josephson of Colby College remarked on the world’s still incomplete understanding of the health effects of ionizing radiation, but estimated that the accident will spawn 50,000 extra cancer deaths. Meanwhile, he said, the natural environment — trees, wildlife, and cropland — is recovering with surprising rapidity.Independent researcher Tammy Lynch, a fellow at the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Policy at Boston University, looked at Chernobyl’s impact on local life and politics. The real story of Chernobyl is personal and not scientific, she said, and 2.4 million residents of the former Soviet Union have the status of being “Chernobyl-affected.”Stress likely took a greater toll following the accident than radiation did, said Harvard Kennedy School Associate Professor Matthew Bunn, an expert on nuclear energy, proliferation, theft, and terrorism.But he said the still-unfolding nuclear disaster in Japan — though now the only other Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale — has so far released only 10 percent of Chernobyl’s radiation, and most of it to the sea.The pictures capture what was left behind in the hurried (though delayed) evacuation of Prypiat: a jar on a kitchen windowsill, cloudy with age; a pot hung to dry on a fence post; shoes scattered on a kindergarten floor; a dusty chair on an apartment balcony.“Chernobyl was really a very different story,” mostly because of the Soviet Union’s clumsy attempts to conceal the accident, Bunn told National Public Radio in an April 27 interview.  But the accident focused the world anew on safety at nuclear power plants, which today are “dramatically safer” than 25 years ago.After the workshop concluded, art was a means of reflection too. About 20 visitors attended an opening reception for “The Day the Ferris Wheel Stood Still,” an exhibit of Chernobyl photos on display at the Knafel Building’s Fischer Commons through Aug. 12.The photos — haunting and hopeful all at the same time — were culled from thousands taken by onetime National Geographic photographer Tania D’Avignon. Born in the Ukraine, she has made eight visits to post-accident Chernobyl since 1988.“What we see here is social history,” said Lubomyr Hajda, associate director of Harvard’s Ukrainian Research Institute, the exhibit sponsor. “It’s not simply the story of an event in physics.”And true enough, the photos tell the human side of the story. One called “Death Bridge” was taken from a span overlooking the reactor. Just after the accident, children lined the railing there to watch. None of them, D’Avignon said, survived.Other photos, “faces from the zone,” are frank close-ups of big, grizzled men in high fur hats, some of them the “accident liquidators” who survived to be photographed.The pictures capture what was left behind in the hurried (though delayed) evacuation of Prypiat: a jar on a kitchen windowsill, cloudy with age; a pot hung to dry on a fence post; shoes scattered on a kindergarten floor; a dusty chair on an apartment balcony. Next to it, a sapling juts high out of the flagstones.“It’s fantastic that nature is coming back,” said D’Avignon, “but the reason it’s coming back is sad.” Animals, trees, and grasses that have not thrived for a long time are reviving within the 30-kilometer exclusion zone, she said, “only because this is a condemned area.”Nature reasserting itself brings a kind of beauty. In one photo a fallen fence lies in a fan of boards. House shutters are weathered to a mosaic of cracked paint.There is hope within catastrophe and ruin, too. Some of D’Avignon’s subjects are the visitors to the cemeteries within the exclusion zones, when once a year — on the Sunday following Easter — former residents are invited back to pay respects to the dead. In one picture, two old women in black headscarves picnic on the cemetery grass, laying out a meal of pickled eggs, brown bread, and vodka.Other photos depict the scattering of elderly Ukrainian samosely, or “self settlers,” who have moved back into the rural environs of Chernobyl to farm in the peace of a deserted area. In one photo, a cheerful burly man in a cap strides along a dirt path, followed by pecking chickens. “They are so happy to be there,” she said of the elderly pioneers. “They eat everything.”D’Avignon moved to the United States with her parents at age 7 and in 1964 started revisiting her homeland as a recent art school graduate. In 1986, she started eight years as a contract photographer with National Geographic.During her first visit to the disaster area, in 1988, D’Avignon was struck by the silence. “There were no sounds. There were no birds singing,” she said of her springtime visit. “There was nothing. It was just the wind.”Shoes scattered on a kindergarten floor are among the images captured by onetime National Geographic photographer Tania D’Avignon.last_img read more

Relax, Recharge, and Reset in Highland County

first_img Rt. 250 and Rt. 220 are the two main roads to be traveled in Highland, intersecting at the county seat of Monterey in the center of the county.  For a map to help plan your trip, check out the brochure at www.highlandcounty.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Sweet-Rides-Motorcycle-Map.pdf or view VDOT’s Highland County Map at www.virginiadot.org/travel/resources/county_maps/45_Highland.pdf. Sweet Spot #5:  Relax with fishing along the cool, clean streams and ponds Highland County offers three rivers for public fishing: the Bullpasture, the Potomac and Laurel Fork.  Discover information on places to go and regulations with Fish Virginia First at www.fishvirginiafirst.com/partner_pages/highland-county or the Department of Wildlife Resources at dwr.virginia.gov/fishing.  If you need a guide, check out Bull Mountain Guide Service at www.bullmtnguides.com.  If you want a fun experience with children to introduce them to fishing, visit Hiner Town Trout Fishing, roughly one mile north of Monterey off of Potomac River Road (Rt. 220) at 222 Hiner’s Lane.  You can fish in a small pond from 9 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday or by reservation on Sunday at 540-679-6194 (if you call before Saturday).  Family units must remain six feet apart.  Stay updated at www.facebook.com/Hiner-Town-Trout-Fishing-102282044733901 .  Finally, if you are just in the mood to taste some fish, get your fresh or frozen trout at the Virginia Trout Company at 5480 Potomac River Road, Monday through Wednesday from 8 am to noon (www.virginiatroutcompany.com). Sweet Spot #4:  Take a hike on unspoiled, sparsely-populated trails Highland County is well known for its maple syrup industry, being one of the most southern places in the U.S. that the sweet “liquid gold” can consistently be produced.  Maple syrup producers and their sugar camps dot the landscape, each with their own stories, history and techniques.  Because of the freezing and thawing cycle in late winter, the county hosts an annual Maple Festival during the second and third weekends in March.  Outside of that March timeframe, eight Highland County sugar camps plan to be open by appointment to explore for a tour, local syrup sample and fun.  Pick up an official passport, get yours stamped after each sugar camp visit, and if you complete all eight, you’ll even get a free gift!  Set to begin in September of 2020, get full details at www.virginiamaplesyrup.com.  Call ahead to each syrup producer for details and COVID-19 protocol. Wanderlove is about doing what you love with the people you love.  Experience the unspoiled views and hidden gems in our mountain community of Highland County, one of the least populated counties east of the Mississippi River that is ideal for those seeking solitude and a refreshing sense of freedom.  Highland is characterized by rural landscapes, dark night skies, and small towns.  Plan your next road trip at www.highlandcounty.org, or check out the following sweet spots for your itinerary. Sweet Spot #6:  Discover the history of an area that looks much the same as it did over 100 years ago DCIM\100MEDIA\DJI_0157.JPG Get off the road and lace up your boots for hiking in the clean mountain air.  Four trails are featured in Highland County’s section of Virginia’s Western Highlands Trail Guide at issuu.com/tnc27/docs/virginia_s_western_highlands_trail_guide4x8.5-5-we, each with varying degrees of difficulty and features. Sweet Spot #3:  Find all the beautiful shapes and colors on the Barn Quilt Trail Sweet Spot #2:  Taste pure deliciousness on the new Virginia Maple Syrup Trail Barn quilts are painted wooden quilt blocks adorned on barns and houses.  Beginning in 2011, Highland County was the first county in Virginia to have its very own Barn Quilt Trail.  Starting in mid-September, pick up a copy of the newly revised Barn Quilt Trail brochure or view the online version at www.highlandcounty.org to locate over 50 unique barn quilts on a leisurely country ride.  With interesting names like “Five Reds,” “Colaw Apple,” or “Jacob’s Ladder,” each barn quilt tells a story, usually with significant special meaning about the owner, nature, family, business or design. Feeling the itch to discover more?  That’s your Wanderlove calling, and we have you covered!  Find out more at www.highlandcounty.org, or learn more about other destinations at www.Virginia.org/WanderLove.  Happy travels! The Highland Historical Society runs a beautiful museum known as The Mansion House that served as a hospital during the Battle of McDowell in May of 1862.  Located at 161 Mansion House Road in McDowell, you can learn more about Highland’s history.  The Mansion House accepts free-will donations for entry and is open Thursday through Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. through the end of October.  More info and a virtual view of its newest exhibits can be found at www.highlandcountyhistory.com.  More information on the Civil War history and trails in the area can be found at www.civilwartrails.org and www.shenandoahatwar.org.  It’s easy to elevate your travel experience in Highland, but now you can get even higher.  Over 100 steps up the Sounding Knob Fire Tower will give you a lasting memory – and maybe even some wobbly legs!  It is located up a gravel drive on Sounding Knob Road just 1.3 miles south of its intersection with Rt. 250.  Enjoy the majestic view now through November 1, 2020 from sunrise to sunset every day.  The practice of social distancing is required, and please be sure to exit right when leaving Sounding Knob Road and entering Rt. 250.  Vehicles with very low clearance may have difficulty with water breaks on Sounding Knob Road, but most vehicles have no issues. Sweet Spot #1:  Climb the Sounding Knob Fire Tower last_img read more