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Akbar: How many more children must we lose?

As a mother of three growing boys, the Parkland shooting shook me to my core. I cannot believe this is still happening in my country. As an American Muslim, I cannot fathom why the shooter had not been recognized as a threat earlier and believe we need a shake up in our leadership. Here is a little piece I wrote and hope to get published.

How many more must lose?

With Wednesday’s tragedy being the 30th mass shooting since 2018, 18 of which were in a school setting…I ask you all, is “America (finally) Great Again”? Trump keeps pushing illegal immigration as a huge issue, but are we really much safer after he deported that PhD Doctor a few weeks ago? And are the “dreamer’s’” businesses and degrees a bigger threat to us than these mass murderers hidden in the fabric of our own society? In fact, Trump plans on cutting student aid for colleges, food stamps for the deserving and so on, just so he can build this wall to keep us safe…but the real danger is not outside, rather it’s within our own country.

The propaganda of Islamic terrorism, as a direct threat to our country, is just a farce. The real demons are here, growing in our own bellies…feeding on the hate and intolerance that this government spits out. It took one “attempted” shoe bombing after which everyone was made to take their shoes off before every flight, for the past several years. What actual steps have been made in the direction of our children’s safety since Sandy Hook?

In the very state of Florida, where we had our most recent bloodshed, there is no permit or license required to buy a gun; in fact, there is no registration required for firearms either! Also, if the criminal was already on the FBI’s radar and people are now confessing of his mental illness, why wasn’t anything done about it sooner? Like as soon as he threatened to shoot everyone in the school for the first time which was a year ago!

In my opinion, inaction is as big a crime as the action! What happened to the great leaders, the ones like Hadrat Umar (ra), the second Caliph of Islam, who couldn’t sleep all night out of worry that someone in his empire might be hungry! The heads of states today perhaps don’t fear a Just God, One who will take account of all their deeds and responsibilities. My reassurance is only in “Who when disaster strikes them, say: To God we belong and to Him shall we return” (Quran 2:156).

Mehrunnisa Akbar


McNickle: Democratic candidates have it wrong on Trump tax cuts

At a recent forum for Democrat candidates in Virginia’s 10th District, State Senator Jennifer Wexton attacked the recent tax cuts saying she would vote to repeal the tax cuts if she were in Congress.  Given that the tax cuts are providing the average Loudoun family a sizable tax break, let’s hope she never gets that opportunity. 

According to a review done by the bipartisan Ferguson Group for the County Administrator a Loudoun family of four earning $150,000 and residing in a house worth $535,000 would save $1,798.  That is real money back into the pockets of many Loudouners that I know and will help these young families pay their monthly bills, help with childcare,  or even be put into a savings account for the family’s next big purchase.

Deep Sran, another Democrat candidate at the forum said that the tax bill represented “everything that is wrong” in one piece of legislation.  All of the Democrats fell in line with Nancy Pelosi’s attacks on the tax bill that she called “Armageddon.”  Dan Helmer made clear he opposed the tax cuts.  Alison Friedman, called tax cuts a “horrible product” and Lindsey Stover Davis lectured the crowd saying, “Let us never forget that Barbara Comstock voted for this tax bill not once but twice.”

Well let me thank Congresswoman Barbara Comstock not once, but twice, for voting for tax cuts for our families and businesses.

Cathy McNickle


Helmer: Cowardice of Congress risks lives

In the heat of June 1999—as a first-year “new cadet” at West Point—I learned how to assemble, fire, clean, and store an M-16 assault rifle. In the years that followed I became a trained user of the M-4 assault rifle, the M-9 Beretta, the MK-19 automatic grenade launcher and many other weapons.  Those on the political right like to pretend that advocates of basic gun reforms are weak and afraid, unfamiliar with firearms and ignorant of their potential. I am not. We are not.

In over a decade as an Army officer, I served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the most violent places on earth. I am extremely familiar with military-grade firearms, and I am excruciatingly aware of their potential. I have witnessed that potential in bloodshed and mayhem - and the death of too many friends.

There is a time and a place for everything, and the time and place for weapons of war is not 2:19 p.m. on a Wednesday at the local public high school. In the name of the victims in Parkland, as the husband of a public school teacher, and father of two public school students, I join those calling for new gun laws, now: universal background checks for all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, assault rifles, and high capacity magazines.

My mother and father have told me that when I was a child, the school-day hours were a time when they could relax: they knew not only that I was learning, but that I was safe. Such security and certainty are luxuries with which I and millions of other American parents are today unfamiliar. Two threats to Virginia schools were posted on social media just this week. But what can we do? Again and again, school rampages—and office rampages, and night club rampages, and outdoor concert rampages—end innocent lives, and too many politicians have little more to offer than thoughts and prayers. Many observers have drawn the conclusion that nothing will ever change. But there is reason for hope. Politics-as-usual can be overcome. Connecticut, in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, instituted a number of gun laws in line with what I have described above. Their effect has been marked and encouraging, and reasonable, responsible, mentally-healthy gun owners have not been affected.

Virginia is not Baghdad, and freedom is not the same as a free-for-all. The best use of our liberties is not to treat the sale and possession of firearms as though we are all living on the front lines of a war. I learned about the consequences of cowardice in our leadership while serving in Iraq. I also learned that the best use of our liberties is to think clearly, to argue persuasively, and to make ourselves safe. We should do all three, and raise our voices once again. The question: Is Congresswoman Comstock listening?

Dan Helmer

A West Point Graduate, Rhodes Scholar, and Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in Virginia’s 10th District

Schaufeld: How to fix the traffic mess on Route 15

Minchew: Metro funding bills would hurt Loudoun

Goff: The fox is in the hen house

Noggle: Dealing with rural reckless and distracted driving

Bingol: Loudouners deserve a no vote on True North

De Cola: Generosity should not be seasonal

Baldwin: Keep level playing field for short-term rentals

Meyer: Excessive tolls hurt Loudoun County commuters

Srinivasan: CHIP funding delay is shameful

Pien: Considering the True North data center

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