Darts and laurels

Published 12:26 am Sunday, July 24, 2016

Dart to the impossibility of finding a universally popular site for the new western elementary school. Such a piece of land would have to be technically suitable, politically acceptable — and the most economical option. That trifecta has proved elusive for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education. Politically, replacing and consolidating Woodleaf and Cleveland elementary schools requires a neutral site, so rebuilding on the Cleveland site was a no-go. The Godbey Road site the board has eyed for some time and invested $116,000 in fell to complaints about its location on a busy road and proximity to a power plant. The majority of board members chose Door No. 3 last week — a shiny new site on Foster Road. But it has a potentially fatal financial flaw; annual water and sewer costs are at least $100,000 higher than at the other sites. But it is neutral and on a quiet road away from industry. Again, no site is perfect. There will always be trade-offs. The entire board needs to unite behind one site and get on with building this school.

Laurels to the American Red Cross’ capable and comforting presence in Rowan County. Has it really been 100 years? The service agency has helped the community through wartime, epidemics and the Great Depression. Its volunteers respond to fire and disaster at home and far away. The Red Cross is where you go to be certified as a lifeguard and learn CPR. It conducts blood drives (and could really use your help with that, by the way), helps active military and veterans and works with youth. Salisbury has a tradition of strong support for its chapter of the American Red Cross, providing a dedicated corps of volunteers. And that was before Salisbury native Elizabeth Hanford Dole headed the national organization in the 1990s. Laurels especially go to Doris Faggart, recognized at last week’s banquet for her 50 years as a dedicated volunteer. She epitomizes the concept of service.

Dart to the epidemic of shooting sprees around the world. On Friday it was Munich that was sent reeling by a surprise attack, this one by a high school student fascinated by gun violence and being treated for depression. Others cite causes — anti-American, anti-gay, anti-police, anti-(fill in the blank). This shooter claimed no cause, but he may have crucial traits in common with the others. Mental instability and the fascination with firepower are a lethal mix. This is a subject area that begs scientific study and practical solutions. Other types of solitary attacks on crowds, such as driving a truck into a busy sidewalk or detonating a suicide bomb, should go under the microscope too. Apart from or in addition to jihadist networks, the compulsion to annihilate  strangers is a mystifying and multiplying threat.