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Letters: Focus on deceased veteran’s final actions; Bus company supports BOE’s decision | READER COMMENTARY

Focus on deceased veteran’s final actions

G. Leamon Martin worried in a Jan. 12 letter about the apparent lack of concern for the “military veteran” killed during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol because “she was white.”

That veteran was Ashli Babbitt. She is often described — especially in conservative outlets — as a “decorated Air Force veteran”. While honorable, her service was not particularly remarkable. She had four years of active Air Force service and eight more years with the reserve and Air National Guard. In these years, she attained the rank of Senior Airman (E-4) and received an Army Achievement Medal (presumably for duties in a joint USAF-Army environment). Her other decorations were service awards.While not without meaning, these are the same awards her peers also received for also going where they were supposed to when told to go there; a veteran who does not acquire one or more of these is a rarity. Most enlisted members advance to the rank she attained during their first two years of service, and many advance further during a first enlistment. However honorable her service, she was not setting either the Air Force, reserves or National Guard on fire.

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According to the Washington Post, among other news sources, Babbitt’s recent social media presence included support for QAnon conspiracies, “vetbro”-style anti-government rants, and frequent retweets of Lin Wood (formerly Richard Jewell’s attorney, and now a far-right cartoon character peddling hate speech). In her final hours, she expressed excitement about her travel from California to Washington and enthusiasm for marching to Capitol Hill. Babbitt was shot inside the Capitol. She was trying to climb through a broken window and enter a corridor where a member of congress was fleeing the crowd she was at the front of. If Ashli Babbitt were Muslim, her evolution would almost certainly be described as “radicalization.”

In the final moments between the bullet striking her and her last breath, did “decorated Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt” reflect on the series of bad decisions that led her death? Did she long to be comforted by a loved one instead of strangers in a mob? Or did she die doing what she loved? Civilians should understand that neither decorations nor a DD-214 are inoculations against bad decisions or criminal actions (ask Oliver North, Michael Flynn or John Poindexter, just to name a few). We should focus less on her military resume, and more on the context of how she wasted her life’s final moments.

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Dean Horvath

Eldersburg

The author served in the US Navy for 21 years.

Bus company supports BOE’s decision

In response to the Jan. 6 front page story headlined, “‘We can’t drive a school bus virtually’: Carroll County bus drivers express health, safety concerns,” we at Savage Transportation would first and foremost like to thank the Carroll County Board of Education and the Transportation Department for continually supporting the contractors and drivers in these unprecedented times. They understand the important role we have in the education of our students and by continuing to work together collectively, we have ensured them that when it comes time to return to work full time, we will be ready and are eager to return.

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We fully support the board’s decision to return to hybrid learning but also understand that there will be some parents that will choose to keep their children virtual and that is perfectly fine. We expect that there is not a decision that will make everyone happy but are just glad that everyone has been given the ability to make the choice that’s best for their family.

While not all buses have been continuously running this school year, some drivers started and have been transporting students since Sept. 14. We are all grateful to have the opportunity to be working and have been looking forward to the day when we can resume a normal schedule.

With the amount of time we spend with the children over the years, most of us begin to think of these children as one of our own and want nothing more than to protect them as well as ourselves. There have been guidelines laid out for us to follow such as student loads, proper ventilation, PPE, disinfecting, health checks protocols, safe distancing, etc.

We also believe that the mental health of the students is just as important and are ready to do whatever is necessary to continue moving forward towards normal.

Would like it to be known that the article published on Jan. 6 may represent a few but does not represent the opinion of all.

Irene Savage

Savage Transportation, LLC

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