Category Archives: Opinion

Stop the raid on Texas schoolbook funds

By Colby Nichols

More than 150 years ago, Texans set aside a fund to provide free textbooks to children in the state’s public schools, and ever since leaders have worked to keep faith with that covenant. Until now.

Now, the Texas legislature seems determined on abandoning their commitment and raiding the proceeds of the Permanent School Fund which provides not only for books, but the 21st Century technology our children will need to succeed.

Your Texas Senate has adopted a budget which cuts the fund for technology and textbooks by $104 million from the proceeds from the Permanent School Fund.

Similarly, the House has proposed to cut the same fund by $125 million.

Texas legislators frequently say more money should be spent in classrooms, but these cuts fly in the face of that rhetoric. No resources can be more directly tied to students and classroom instruction than the instructional materials allotment (IMA) which both chambers of the Legislature propose to cut.

Cutting these funds tears books and instructional technology from the hands of Texas schoolchildren.

A century-and-a-half of Texas leaders have understood that instructional materials provided free-of-charge to our students are vital to public education. In 2011, the Legislature channeled proceeds of the Permanent School Fund to pay for instructional materials, technological equipment, and technology-related services for all districts and open-enrollment charter schools.

Legislative members constantly hound schools to provide for a “21st Century education.” The State even wants to provide expanded broadband access for that purpose. This requires a substantial investment in technology. School districts around the state were ready to upgrade and purchase technology in the current biennium because no major instructional material updates were anticipated. The Legislature’s proposed raiding of the IMA will prevent this needed improvement.

These are not tax funds; they’re the return on 150 years of investment in the future of children. In fact, that may be the reason lawmakers want to siphon the funds away from kids; they can look like heroes who balanced a budget without raising taxes.

The Instructional Material Coordinators’ Association of Texas believes raiding these funds – balancing the budget on the backs of Texas schoolchildren – establishes a dangerous precedent and a tempting target for future state policymakers. In the future, there will be more temptation to pilfer the PSF proceeds to avoid the harsh realities of budget-making and when the time comes for a major overhaul of materials – English/Language arts in the next biennium, for example – kids will come up short.

Without an appropriately funded IMA, our children will be without the necessary tools to have a world class education. It is imperative the State continue to fund the IMA with all the funds available from the 150-plus-year commitment to Texas schoolchildren.

 

Colby Nichols is the Legislative Counsel for the Instructional Materials Coordinators’ Association of Texas.

Letter to the Editor

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

 

The City of Irving was born at the corner of what is now Main Street and the Trinity Rail Express. Two railroad surveyors were sent by the Rock Island Railroad to survey a new rail stop in the year 1903.

The wife of one of the railroad surveyors was a member of the Washington Irving Society (whose namesake was America’s first man of Letters), and she suggested naming this new rail stop “Irving”.

Irving’s reason for existence begins with transportation. Our great City’s success over the years has been built on transportation. Whether it be the Texas Stadium construction on the confluence of the three major freeways of Loop 12, Highway 183, and Highway 114 (which today we refer to as the Diamond Interchange of Walton Walker Freeway, Airport Freeway and John Carpenter Freeway) through which threads the NAFTA Highway of Interstate 35 connecting Mexico to Canada; or the building of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (for which Irving serves as a one of the four host cities).

Irving’s future success will continue to be based upon transportation with the modernization of Airport FreewayIMidtown Express and the completion of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail line to terminal A at DFW Airport.

Irving’s downtown centers have evolved from its original Main Street location to Plymouth Park, the Irving Mail, and the Las Colinas Urban Center. Further, the eighty-acre tear drop at the site of the former Texas Stadium offers the possibility for a four hundred acre spectacular, mega downtown.

Irving must maintain a clear focus on the full development of its transportation network rail component if it wishes to realize its full potential. I have attempted, via the following Exhibit, to portray how the rail corridors will complete Irving’s future transportation needs connectivity.

Each rail corridor offers expanding opportunity for goods and services to trigger future development like the new Verizon Campus we anticipate at the Deferred Carpenter Ranch Station on the DART Orange Line.

Fort Worth’s TEX Rail; the Cotton Belt Line; Burlington North Santa Fe Line; DART Orange Line; DART Green Line; and the Trinity Rail Express, when completed and fully operational, will provide Irving, Texas with one of the most comprehensive rail connectivity networks in any North Texas city.

In conclusion, it is not a coincidence that the new concrete panels along the updated Airport Freeway will portray Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It is the essence of our heritage.

Only by maintaining our commitment and focus to the rail component of Irving’s transportation network can we achieve the full measure of the Birthright that our pioneering ancestors bestowed upon our great City.

JOHN DANISH
IRVING CITY COUNCILMAN

Editorial

Do you remember words like ‘yes sir’ and ‘no ma’am’? Do you remember concepts like don’t read or play with your phone at the dinner table? Remember the idea of holding a door open for another person to go through, and then the person who passes through that door might actually take the time to say ‘thank you’? These words and ideas are collectively known as manners.

In a world full of millions of people going in different directions trying to get the things that they want and need, manners are a form of social currency. Manners help you obtain the things that you want as quickly as possible through cursory social interactions.

Let’s say for example, you need to have a legal document signed. In order to get this document signed, you must first present it to a clerk who earns minimum wage while standing on his feet all day long. The better your manners are when you address this clerk, the more likely it is the clerk will feel respected and will aid you in getting the signature you require. However, if you address this clerk with unflattering and abrasive language, I can assure you, the clerk has a number of ways to make certain your signature quest takes far longer than is normally necessary.

There are manners for business, family, high-end restaurants, sports games, great-aunt Millie’s visits, so on and so forth.

I find it striking that it seems one day I woke up in a country to discover that the vast majority of adults suddenly forgot there are manners we are to use when addressing police officers. The results of this amnesia have been horrifying to say the least.

I thought we might review these manners, so that some who have forgotten them might remember, and some parents or grandparents might be inspired to share a few of these manners with the children in their lives.

First off, I’ve always referred to police officers as ‘cops’, and I see nothing disrespectful in using that term in general conversation. However, when speaking to a police officer, the officer should be addressed as ‘officer’. It is a title he or she has earned.

In all your conversations with this officer, speak clearly, directly, and use your best manners.

When you are stopped by a police officer for whatever reason, do not argue with the officer. Sometimes this is a difficult thing to do, but arguing will gain you nothing and may earn you a ticket or an overnight stay in jail.

Follow the officer’s instructions to the letter. If an officer asks you to pat your head and rub your stomach, do it. If at any point you feel your civil rights are violated, you can contact a lawyer later.

If for some reason you do not understand the officer’s instructions, tell him you do not understand the instructions.

Tell the officer what you are planning to do prior to doing it. If you are going to reach into your glove box, either tell the officer are about to reach into your glove box, or better yet ask the officer’s permission to reach into your glove box. If the officer says he does not want you to reach into your glove box, then don’t do it.

If you are stopped in your vehicle, do not under any circumstance get out of your car (unless instructed to do so by the officer). Officers are trained to see this action as a hostile maneuver. If you get out of your vehicle, the very next thing an officer expects to see is a weapon. By getting out of your vehicle, you place yourself in danger from both the officer and oncoming traffic.

When you are stopped in your vehicle, place both hand on your steering wheel where the officer can see them. Passengers should place their empty hands in their laps. These postures will show the officer you have nothing in your hands, and will hopefully put him at ease, so you can get back to whatever it is you would rather be doing as quickly as possible.

Regardless of the outcome of your encounter with the officer, you say, ‘thank you’. This officer just has risked his life to keep you and the community safe. That might mean you just got a ticket – you say, ‘thank you’.

Never antagonize or threaten a police officer or a police dog; both actions can end with you being ticketed or jailed.

Never under any circumstance point ‘finger’ guns, toy guns, BB guns or any other type of gun at an officer regardless of your age or any other qualifier: this action could very well cost your life. Pointing cell phones, pens, wrenches and other objects that in indistinct light could be mistaken for guns at officers could also result in unhappy outcomes. Officers are trained to react very forcefully and swiftly to any weapon attack. Do not give them any reason to think you are in possession of a weapon or have any intention of attacking.

There is no us against them. Police officers represent society, us, and they are dedicated to protecting society, us, against those who would harm hard working, vulnerable and innocent members of society, us.

Some people dislike police officers because they represent authority. I will tell you this about police officers: a police officer will do things for you that no one else in the world will do. A police officer will do things that your best friend will not do.

You can go up to a police officer and say ‘that man just stole my car,’ and the police officer will attempt to get it back for you. You can tell a police officer you are afraid to go into your house, and the police officer will go in and make it safe for you. When you are lying, bleeding on the ground, a police officer will bring you aid and help you find justice. When you run down the street in fear, with nothing but your children in tow, a police officer will protect you from whoever is threatening you.

On the day you need a police officer, you will be ready to invite that officer to Thanksgiving dinner. That officer will have a place on your Christmas card list forever. The position of police officer is not one to be taken lightly in this society, and it is not one to be treated thoughtlessly.

If you choose not to stand behind the emblems of our country because you are angry about the actions of a few police officers, I will defend your right to free speech and freedom of expression to the very last.

But in return, I would ask that you take a long, hard look at the ground upon which you choose to kneel rather than stand. Look long enough and you will see that it is not merely soil and grass, but land soaked with the blood of warriors, officers, and peacemakers. Settlers and emigrants have camped on that land, children of every description have been educated on it, the chains of slavery were broken across it and left there to slowly rust; it echoes the ideals of individual freedoms. It is hallowed ground that should not be walked across carelessly.

 

Stacey Starkey

Editorial

Once when I was a child, a visitor to my great-aunt’s house bent down, looked me in the eyes, and said, “You don’t remember the world before Pearl Harbor do you?”

As I stared at the woman, startled by the question, I saw a mixture of pity and sadness reflected in her face. I have no idea what her world was like before December 7, 1941. But even as a child, I understood there had been a time before Pearl Harbor and a time after.

There was something rhetorical in that question as the event itself took place more than two decades before I was born, and happened even before my parents’ births. To me Pearl Harbor was a historical fact as immutable as the Civil War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the fall of Rome. They were all pieces of a past upon which my reality stood.

I grew up with grandparents and great-aunts and great-uncles. Many times I heard ‘”old men” speaking about World War II. Sometimes they would talk about boring islands in the Pacific; other times, they both fascinated and frightened me with stories of firebombing Tokyo or shooting children dressed as German soldiers.

One man told me about trying to rescue men from a sinking ship amid the chaos of the battle of Pearl Harbor. He and his friends desperately tried to pierce the hull of an overturned ship as it slowly sank beneath the water. He said he could hear voices of the men inside even as the ship was lost beneath the oil-slicked waves. His story has always been my mental image of Pearl Harbor.

After a while I realized there was a piece of their story I had not accounted for. There was a ‘time before,’ a ‘time after,’ and the ‘horror of.’ All of the stories of World War II veterans I had the privilege to hear were from the ‘horror of’ – the events sparked by Pearl Harbor and everything that followed until the end of the war.

But the fact remains that I am a product of a different age. For all the stories I have heard and all the newsreels and documentaries I have watched, I can never truly know the horror of World War II. And the ‘time before,’ in great part, eludes me.

On September 11, 2001, we lost nearly 3,000 people and four passenger airplanes in an unprecedented attack. There was a time before, a time after, and the horror of.

Today, America has an entire generation of young people who have no concept of the time before. To them, the 9/11 attacks are a historical fact not unlike the first moon walk, the assassination of President Kennedy or Elvis sightings. For those young people, the horror of that day is limited to the realm of documentaries and fill-in-the-blank history tests.

They are not the ones who lived through the horror. They are not the ones who carry the scars of those endless hours.

They are our children and they look to the future, not the past.

Recently some young people in San Antonio made a commercial in which they built and then demolished Twin Tower replicas made of mattresses for the purpose of promoting a 9/11 sale. Watching the video made me sad for a number of reasons, but the sadness is mine and mine alone.

However, I feel strongly that these young adults do not deserve to be threatened or coerced in any way because of their video. Instead, they deserve, as Americans, to be educated. But, they have a First Amendment right to create their commercial and thousands of good people died to secure that right. I believe we should all honor it.

As a youngster, I watched Abbott and Costello jostle their way through the Navy, and Bugs Bunny impersonate both Hitler and Stalin. Hogan’s Heroes bested the Germans every week, while McHale’s Navy outsmarted the Japanese, and The Producers envisioned springtime for Hitler.

Humor is part of healing and 15 years after the sorrow of 9/11, maybe we should allow the kids a little room to have some fun, even if we don’t think it is funny.

 

Stacey Starkey

Letter to the Editor

I am writing to express my concern for an article published in your April 30, 2016 edition of the Rambler Newspaper entitled, ‘Best of Irving’ snubs most Irving businesses written by Sarah Bays. As a supporter of the Rambler and staff, I was very disappointed to read this article. The article was a one-sided, unbalanced, opinion piece on your front page. Nowhere in the article did it say you reached out to the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber for comment, who produced the event, or to verify any of the information quoted in the article.

This year’s event was unique and exciting. It was held at the Texas Musicians Museum showcasing the new amenity and the great things happening in our Heritage District. The Best in Irving event brought together small, medium and enterprising businesses to an often overlooked section of town. You missed such a great opportunity to highlight the Heritage District and promote South Irving. Instead you chose to focus on attacking the Chamber.

I read a story in which all the details provided were from two business owners, one of which who actually won an award, about the unfairness of the survey used to decide winners. As a participant in Best in Irving process, I have never experienced the process of the survey as unfair.

The statement that the award winners can only be Chamber members is an outright false statement. There have been many companies who have won Best in Irving over the years who were not Chamber members when they won, nor did they become Chamber members after. How hard would it have been to verify the facts before printing this type of falsehood?

In the paragraph referring to the Chamber’s mission statement the reporter writes that the “Chamber’s mission to create, advance and promote economic growth for our investors and community seems to contradict how the survey is conducted”. Is this a blog disguised as a news piece? Are you saying that the Chamber’s mission is compromised by the Best in Irving Awards program? This is ridiculous.

A news organization’s duty is to provide factual and unbiased information to the public. Also, I found several grammatical errors and two spelling errors – Milan and a local business’ name – Palio’s Pizza Café.

I am disappointed the Rambler would allow an article riddled with spelling and grammar errors, misleading and inaccurate news reporting to be printed, let alone be placed on its front page. I look forward to a correction and/or factual follow-up to be published.

Thank you,

Jo Ann Goin

2016 City Elections: Letters to the editor

Irving


Code enforcement was on the mind of many at the SIPOA forum on March 15.  One council candidate’s response to a citizen having a problem was very forthright by recommending he contact his district’s council person.  As I reflected on this suggestion, a song from the ‘80s came to mind.  So apologies to Ray Parker, Jr., the man who wrote and scored the theme to “Ghostbusters.”

“If the grass is tall in your neighbor’s yard,

Whadda you call this guy?  Code buster!

To ignore the blight is just too hard,

Who you gonna call?  City council!

I ain’t afraid of no threats,

I ain’t afraid of no threats,

If his car’s on blocks and it’s leaking oil,

Whadda you call this guy?  Code buster!

If his broken fence, just makes you boil,

Who you gonna call?  City council!

I ain’t afraid of no threats,

I ain’t afraid of no threats,

Who you gonna call?  City council!

Go ahead, pick up the phone, and call City council!”

P.S.  I am supporting John Danish, Allan Meagher, and Kyle Taylor.  I hope you do, too!

-Mike Gregory


It is very important to have strong leadership on the city council.  Strong leaders get things done.  Strong leaders stick to the issues, don’t engage in personal attacks, and push forward for the benefit of the city.  John Danish is such a leader and it is important to re-elect him in District One.  He has been in the forefront of new development in District One, and in moving forward with improvements Downtown.  He has pushed to renovate the City’s golf course that had fallen into disrepair and the council is now moving forward on its repair.  He has strongly supported the Historical Museum and now it has been approved.  John has earned our vote.  Please vote for John Danish.  Election Day is May 7, but early voting takes place until May 3.

 

-M/M Gilbert Ornelaz


Coppell


Elect Anthony Hill

To the Editor,

On May 7th, I will be voting to re-elect Anthony Hill for CISD School Board, Place 3.  I first met Anthony Hill about 5 years ago through school events at Austin Elementary.  He is extremely involved on all campuses in our district and I continued to be inspired by his involvement throughout my term as PTO President at Austin.  As my children became involved at CMSE and now as one graduates CHS this year, I have been pleased to see Mr. Hill continue to be very active and interested in all programs at each and every Coppell campus.

His passion and his commitment to the students and district of Coppell is evident in all he does.  I have seen first hand the significance Mr. Hill has made in improving our district.  When making decisions, he researches and asks the right questions to determine what is the best course of action for our district and more importantly, our children.

Please join me in re-electing Anthony Hill.  There is not a better, more informed, passionate candidate for CISD School Board, Place 3.

Kristi Scates,

Coppell Resident

School choice matters for Texas’ families

By Andrew R. Campanella

When it comes to K-12 education, America’s parents want more choices.

In fact, almost two thirds of parents – 64 percent – say they wish they had more options for their children’s education.

In a society where Americans choose practically everything, from the brands of coffee they drink in the morning to the types of cars they drive, it is understandable that parents are demanding more of a say in where they send their children to school.

Parents understand that with greater options come better results for their children. Every child is unique, with distinctive interests and learning styles. Moms and Dads know that a school that might work for one student might not be a good fit for another.

From Jan. 24-30, millions of Americans will raise awareness about the importance of school choice at an unprecedented 16,140 events – including 1105 events in Texas. These events are planned to coincide with National School Choice Week, the largest celebration of opportunity in education in US history.

For families in the Lone Star State, National School Choice Week provides a good opportunity to review the different types of education options available to their children.

Parents can choose from schools in the public sector – such as traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, or online academies. Parents can also pay to send their children to private schools, or educate their children in the home.

Parents who are not happy with their children’s current schools, or would like to explore their options, should use January to consider the alternatives available to them. Families can use National School Choice Week as an opportunity to visit schools, ask lots of questions of teachers and administrators, and talk with other parents to find a school that may be a better fit.

Starting the school search process in January, rather than waiting until summer break, means that parents have more options available to them.

Of course, some – if not many – parents in Texas will find that they do not have as many education options as children and families in other states. For these families, National School Choice Week provides an opportunity to stand up and have their voices and opinions heard.

Providing greater access to education options in Texas and across the country is essential, not just for individual families, but for the future prosperity of communities.

Research has demonstrated that when parents actively choose the schools their children attend, or choose to educate their children in the home, high school graduation rates increase dramatically.

A student with a high school diploma will, over the course of his or her life, earn more than a quarter million dollars more than a student who has dropped out. High school graduates are far less likely to be incarcerated, and are six times more likely to participate in community and civic affairs, than individuals without high school diplomas.

In the short term, and over the long haul, school choice pays dividends.

Most importantly, though: school choice matters because every child in America has potential. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and together, we must do everything possible to prepare them for success.

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

My wife and I were sitting in our living room last night around 9:30 with the TV on Fox News. We both had our laptops open and working, a scene that plays out multiple times during any given week in our empty nest. During the news segment I heard a familiar soundbite from one of the regular pundits, “Our public schools are horrible!” I glanced over to see if my wife, a fourth grade teacher in Burleson ISD, was paying attention just as she glanced up at the screen with a scowl and went back to her school work. I have often heard this idea of the poor condition of our public schools being bantered about by our politicians and leaders to score cheap political points at the expense of hard working teachers and administrators across our state and nation that are giving their heart and soul for the kids they serve every day. Are there schools out there that need improving? Yes. Are there bad teachers? Of course. But the vast majority of our schools and educators are doing an amazing job with the tasks that they have been given considering the lack of resources and parental support so necessary to prepare students for life after high school.

I recently watched Good Morning America’s interview with the 2015 National Teacher of the Year, Shanna Peeples. Shanna is an English teacher at Palo Duro High School in Amarillo ISD in the Texas panhandle. Her story inspired me to read her biography at ccsso.org. I discovered that Amarillo is a destination city for the resettlement of refugees from a number of countries around the world. Shanna states, “As a teacher of refugee students, I’ve been privileged to see public education through the eyes of students from countries as diverse as Burma, Somalia, Ethiopia, Iraq and Cuba. I’m thinking of a student who taught me that public schools are so much more than a building – they are our culture’s brightest gift to the world.” Her biography goes on to tell heartwarming stories of several refugee student’s whose lives have been dramatically impacted by the Amarillo schools. When asked on GMA why she loves her job, Shanna responded, “You can help write the end of the story for every kid.”

The past several years I have had the opportunity to visit a number of public schools in South Africa. Although South Africa has been referred to as the U.S. of Africa because of its similarities to America, the disparity between the best schools, which rival our top schools in the U.S., and the worst is vastly greater. Many schools, even in urban areas, lack electricity, supplies, and basic training for teachers that we take for granted.

In more than a few countries and cultures around the world, children with disabilities are written off and treated inhumanely. This is not so in America. This fall marks the 40th anniversary of legislation passed by congress, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, that required public schools to educate all children – regardless of any disability, mental or physical, they may have. Why do most private schools refuse to take students with disabilities? Because it is an incredibly difficult and very expensive proposition. Hats off to all the educators who work tirelessly with our children including the extra special ones.

Many would say that teachers have an easy job with more vacation time than any other profession. As the husband of a Texas public school teacher, I can attest that this is not the case. Teachers put in countless hours during and outside the school year to prepare for what happens each day in the classroom. So the next time you hear someone disparaging our public schools, ask them for something specific that they have experienced firsthand to support their assertion. When they stare back at you with a surprised look on their face, ask, did you know the United States is one of a handful if not the only country in the world that guarantees an education for every child, even those with disabilities? Or, when is the last time you volunteered to mentor a student or give your time at a school in your neighborhood? Then, tell something positive and specific from your own experience. Together we can spread the good news about what is happening in our public schools, “our culture’s brightest gift to the world.”

Dave Irby
Board President
Friends of Texas Public Schools

Editorial

Dear Readers:

On Saturday, roughly a dozen people claiming to be Christians stood outside the Irving Islamic Center with flags, signs of unkind tidings and firearms, exercising their freedom of speech and assembly. Now one of them has taken the liberty of publishing the names and addresses of people who had the audacity to speak in an open forum during an Irving City Council meeting and exercise their freedom of speech to express an opinion contrary to his.

As a reasoning person who lives in Irving and calls those who worship at the Islamic Center my neighbors and friends, I am appalled and embarrassed. A condition which Irvingites are far too accustomed when it comes to those who are outspoken and uninformed.

Now picture the situation in reverse: a group of Islamic residents assemble outside of one of Irving’s churches on Sunday morning with weapons. How different would the outcome be?

Though I have nothing to do with those who shamed themselves in front of the Islamic Center, I feel compelled to offer my sincere apologies. Someone needs to honestly say, ‘I’m sorry;’ it’s the Christian thing to do.

I’ve only been to the Islamic Center a few times. Each time, I have been treated with respect and courtesy. I can say the same thing for the various temples and churches I have visited across the city.

I don’t live my life in the dark. I am well aware of what happened on 9/11, recently in Paris, and Charlie Hebdo. I was so concerned about the attack on Charlie Hebdo that I sat down with an Imam at the Islamic Center and spoke with him about it. I later wrote an article about our conversation.

Perhaps instead of standing outside the center, the 12 should have gone inside and discussed their feelings, fears and the best ways to move forward given their differing points of view.

Timothy McVeigh was a Christian. I would not wish all Baptists or Nondenominational churches to be judged by McVeigh’s actions any more than all Muslims should be judged by a few twisted individuals.

I truthfully can’t say I know what Jesus would do, but I think He would find solutions that would help bring our community together and minimize the distrust that already exists. And He would do it all while leaving his AK-47 and hunting rifles at home.

Stacey Starkey – Editor

Editorial

Everyday people went out Friday the 13th looking for a little variety and fun throughout Paris: some opted for pizza, some Cambodian food, others headed for a bar, sports fans spent their hard earned money to watch a soccer match between France and Germany, music aficionados listened to the Eagles of Death Metal at the Bataclan Concert Hall. Then a sinister thread pulled them all together.

The world watched as terrorist attacks unfolded across ‘City of Love’ like the plot of a high-octane, summer blockbuster. Unfortunately, 007, Iron Man and the Mod Squad never showed. Ordinary people, first responders and military troops were left to deal with the evil doers and the human tragedy they wrought.

People far from the epicenter of the violence have reacted to the attacks on Paris. Thousands of Facebook profiles now sport images of the French flag or French monuments. Health conscious gun owners took to the Dallas parks trail system the weekend following the attacks sporting automatic weapons and hand guns as the latest in walking leisure attire. Their message to would be terrorists ‘Why don’t you pick on a country that can shoot back?’ or something to that effect.

But one of the greatest things these terrorists threaten to take away from people everywhere is compassion. Just a week ago, people in countries all over the world were willing to open their hearts to refugees fleeing from war torn countries like Syria. Today, those same countries are shutting their doors to Syrian refugees.

As of the writing of this article (Nov. 17), half the governors of the United States have announced their intentions to refuse to resettle Syrian refugees. On the airways, political pundits debate sealing our borders with renewed vigor.

Regardless of your position on immigration, if you allow the actions of a few twisted individuals to harden your heart against those in need, then they have won something beyond the devastation they caused in France. If we cease caring for each other, if they steal away our empathy for those in dire circumstances, the evil of a few has renewed power to reach out and infect millions of other innocent lives.

In an effort to provide our readers an idea of the current status of Syrian refugees who have resettled in the DFW Metroplex, the DFW International Community Alliance provided the following information.
The total number of Syrian refugees currently resettled in the DFW Metroplex area is 102.
Number of refugee families (including single men) is 24.
All but six of those who were resettled by volags (resettlement agencies under contract with the State Department) live in Dallas. Five families live in Fort Worth. One single man lives in Arlington. Three of the families originally resettled in Dallas moved to Richardson.
Eight of the 24 families arrived by ‘other visas’ and applied for Temporary Protected Status, and subsequently applied for political asylum. Three of the 8 political asylee Syrians are families. Four are single men and one is a married man who is waiting for the arrival of his wife and children. One of the single men was studying here on a prestigious Fulbright scholarship. Most of these men were brutally tortured and their homes / businesses burned during their captivity and subsequently fled to Lebanon and from there to the U.S.

Homeland Security’s intensive investigations of each refugee family has caused an unprecedented delay in arrivals. No families have arrived from Turkey (where the largest number of Syrian refugees currently resides) in the past 9 months. One family reached Dallas from Uzbekastan last week. They are a Kurdish Syrian family from the NE of the country. Two months ago the large family of a disabled Syrian reached Fort Worth.
Two families, brothers of a Syrian who lives in Richardson, are scheduled to arrive on Dec. 4. The DFW International Community Alliance is uncertain if the brothers will be permitted to join their relatives on that date.

Do not go blindly forth. Reasonable measures need to be taken, so that all of us remain as safe as possible.

Do not let yourself be a victim of the cowards who attacked the unwary in Paris. Continue to be the same generous and giving person you have always been, assuming you have a generous and giving nature. And be careful to judge people by the content of their characters and not by the accident of their births.