Change gun laws

I love my country, but she is fatally flawed. For those of us who have for so long begged and debated for reforms and enforcement of common-sense gun laws, we’re more than exasperated. We are infuriated. My mind is as broken as my heart in witnessing yet another mass shooting with another assault weapon. Seventeen students and teachers were killed at Douglas High School in South Florida in the second-deadliest shooting at a U.S. public school. The fact I was able to pick my grandson up from school, unharmed and alive, made me mournfully grateful. That’s a sad reality to face.

If we’re to believe we’re the greatest country on earth, if we’re to personify the power of intelligence and compassion, if we’re tasked with shining “light upon the world,” then we have failed if we don’t change. Right now I think we send only shadows. Change your mind, change gun laws and change our country.

Linda Gilleland Stewart, Crawford

Heart Valve Day

Thursday marks the second annual National Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day. I urge everyone to educate themselves on this common yet little-known disease.

Heart valve disease (HVD) occurs when one or more heart valves do not work properly. This disease reduces blood flow and can cause major health complications. Estimates show at least five million Americans fall victim to this disease, resulting in 25,000 deaths a year — an estimated 68 people per day. Individuals over the age of 75 are especially vulnerable to HVD, along with those who have experienced previous heart-related problems.

Yet nearly 75 percent of Americans have very little knowledge about HVD. Fortunately, once detected, valve disease is usually treatable for patients of all ages. Visit to learn more. You never know when this information might help save a life.

Sue Peschin, President and CEO, Alliance for Aging Research

And male teachers?

With regard to the front-page story about lack of diversity among teachers in the Waco ISD (“Bridging the divide, Jan. 11): What about the lack of male teachers in public schools — especially in the lower grades? This is the one “demographic” not included in the article or the accompanying graph.

Romana Curtis of Prosper Waco rightly says (in the article) that students’ experiences and the difficulties of teacher demographics don’t align with student demographics. But the article nowhere mentions the fact that boys have very few male teachers who can relate to their experiences as males.

Are there active programs to recruit more male teachers, as there are to recruit more minority teachers? If not, why not? And why is that demographic rarely if ever mentioned in articles such as this one?

Roger Olson, Waco