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Dart and laurels (11-8-14)

Laurels to each of the more than 39,000 Rowan County residents who cast a vote in this week’s elections. According to the Board of Elections, that figure represents the largest number of Rowan voters ever to turn out for a midterm election and, at nearly 42.5 percent of the county’s registered voters, the highest percentage who have taken part in a midterm in Rowan since 2002. Some told the Post they went to the polls to support a specific candidate, some had a race that was especially important to them, and some, like Tina Kelly of Cleveland, went “just to participate in my right to vote.” No matter the reason, they all deserve praise for doing their part to select leaders at the local, state and federal levels. The flip side of this, however, is that about 53,000 Rowan County residents who are registered to vote chose to forego that right. Learning why and getting them out for the next election would be cause for celebration.

• • •

Dart to the perception that e-cigarettes are all that much better for you than the regular, tobacco-packed version. As Amy H. Smith, a health education specialist and wellness coordinator for the Rowan County Health Department, wrote in a column this week, smoking e-cigarettes — or “vaping” — still exposes the user to potential nicotine addiction. Since e-cigarettes aren’t regulated by the FDA, there’s no way of knowing how much nicotine — or what other ingredients — they may contain. We do know the liquids used in e-cigarettes come in flavors including cotton candy, chocolate and others that can be attractive to children, and deadly if ingested. Compared to regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes may be, Smith writes, “the lesser of two evils.” But that doesn’t make them good.

• • •

Laurels to Rowan County Deputy Danny Lindley, the school resource officer at West Rowan Middle for his actions to confront a threat at the school using only as much force as necessary. The events unfolded Tuesday morning when Lindley and Assistant Principal Tricia Hester heard screams and saw students running from the school cafeteria. Inside, they found a 14-year-old student wearing a scary rubber clown mask and wielding a 12-inch butcher knife. When the student refused Lindley’s orders to drop the knife, the deputy struck the arm in which he was holding it several times with a baton. After disarming the boy, Lindley found another knife in his bookbag. The student was sent for a mental health evaluation, but it could have ended much differently for him. Lindley said that in such situations, officers are “trained that we can use up to and including deadly force.” Thank goodness for an officer who assessed the situation and found that unnecessary, and for the fact that resource officers are back in the county’s middle schools.

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