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Orlando: I don't know what the answer is; I just want it to stop

06 15 Shooting Vigil

To The Daily Sun,

I'm at the church office today (Tuesday). I'm supposed to be putting together Sunday's bulletin. But, instead, I'm making memorial fliers for the victims of the horrific terror attack in Orlando. I've seen all of the political speeches, heard all of the same old rhetoric. It's the fault of ISIS. It's the fault of the gun. It's a failure in the mental health system. The FBI is screwed up.

Right now, I'm kind of in a place where I just need a minute to not care who or what is at fault.

I don't have the answer. I have a flier. I have the flier that I made for a candle-light vigil. There are pictures of 23 people in it. There are names of 25 more. The oldest is 50. The youngest, 18. Make that was. They are all dead.

On Sunday, I watched the evening news. David Muir was speaking with a distraught mother. She couldn't find her son. Her name is Christine Leinonen. Her pain was so visceral that I felt like she reached through the television and pulled my heart out. I pulled up the City of Orlando's web page. There were only seven names on there. Her son, Christopher, was not among them. I refreshed, and refreshed, throughout the evening, throughout the day on Monday. I remained hopeful. This mother and her son had become inexorably part of me and I was holding on to rapidly fading and yet, with each refresh, ever increasing hope that he was all right.

Christopher is on the list. Christine is now bereft of hope and so am I.

I don't have the answer. Right now, I don't care what the answer is. I just want it to stop.

For now, I'm going to keep folding these fliers. Because that's all I have.

Hillary Seeger

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What happened to the truth being an absolute defense against libel?

To The Daily Sun,

I admit that I am in no position to judge a Superior Court judge. I would question, though, based on the June 10 article, the accuracy of Carroll County Judge Amy Ignatius's assessment, regarding statements made publicly by Douglas Frederick as to what he sees and smells coming from the chimney of Mayhew's Funeral Home crematory, and how that's made him feel, as speech that could possibly get him into trouble.

Mr. Douglas has, in fact, seen what he has seen and smelled what he has smelled. And all of what he has said can be corroborated by countless others who have also seen and smelled the very same things. Mr. Frederick, then, is not subject to libel/slander issues, as I believe was suggested, because, within the definition of defamation lies the foundation of that law which is based on whether or not statements, made public, are fabricated and untrue.

Mr. Frederick has fabricated nothing. He and others have seen the emissions. He and others have experienced the smell. It is true; Mr. Frederick is simply speculating that human ash may constitute partially the emissions, but is the judge or anyone prepared to state emphatically that no human ash has ever slipped by the filtration systems of crematoriums? In addition to that, if Mr. Frederick concludes that because the EPA has no guidelines on crematory emissions, and that fact alone raises questions and concerns for his health and well-being, and he expresses that ... is that really speech that is not protected?

I happen to agree with Mr. Frederick's opinion and have voiced it publicly, as have many others. Does this mean we should all watch what we say? Am I, along with the others, to expect a letter from Mr. Mayhew's lawyer telling
us to shut up, or else? Will we all be dragged before a judge and threatened to watch what we say? This country was built by people who refused to watch what they say. For all we know, Mr. Frederick's advocacy and voice, although
irritating to Mr. Mayhew, may prod the EPA and the state DES into performing better oversight, and years from now could possibly save lives.

And for that reason, I applaud his voice ... and deplore any efforts to silence it.

Al Blake

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