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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
In May of 2010, I began archiving emails from readers of this column. As of Friday, the number stood at 1,420, which doesn’t include the letters that arrive via snail mail. Snippets of many of the above have ended up in monthly reader-feedback columns.
Many of those correspondents are unaware there’s another feedback mechanism, a blog connected to this column. This is the first time I’ve specifically pimped it in print.
It’s called Dan Casey’s Blog, and it’s on roanoke.com. It’s updated daily and is there 24 hours a day. It’s a fun and lively place.
All of the columns are posted there. Many emails I received are posted as “Your daily letter to the Columnist.” There’s a daily “open” thread that solicits comments on any subject. And if a reader slams me in a Letter to the Editor, it goes on the blog. It also features regular “guest posts” from readers on a variety of topics.
Some concern local issues, such as the appropriateness of building hotels on a former school site in the Dorchester Court neighborhood. Others are from far away, on subjects as arcane as a visit to an absinthe bar in Prague.
The blog also attracts comments from readers, and that’s where a lot of the action is. Since its inception, back in 2009, it’s racked up more than 190,000 reader comments. It’ll probably hit 200,000 sometime in March if not before then.
Some of those commenting use their real names; others use aliases. Some of the comments are smart and pithy. Others are long and passionate. Many of them sarcastically take yours truly to task. There also are plenty in which commentors pick nits with each other. Below is a selection from last week.
On gun control:
Another Chuck: “Until someone honestly admits that the bulk of gun crime is in by the inner city and the culture that surrounds it, the current discussions are basically worthless. As of now, the liberals and Obama are spitefully using a tragedy to push their anti-gun agenda. Nothing more, nothing less. If Obama was earnest in addressing gun crime he would start in his home town!”
Sandi Saunders: “I don’t think that you get the issue here, Another Chuck. Statistics are numbers in a record book. Mass shootings and especially the mass shooting of children are an act of terrorism. One-on-one or a few inner city violence [incidents] is sadly the norm for that city, it is NOT the norm for this nation to have mass shootings and even worse, children. Statistics be damned, that ups the ante and the angst.”
J Kitts: “You know Dan, I hope The Roanoke Times realizes that it’s because of buffoons like you that gives me the sole reason I will never purchase or subscribe to their newspaper. Until they put a legitimate voice of conservatism in your stead, they will NEVER get any of my or my family’s money.”
On the separate Roanoke River Greenway segments in Roanoke and Salem:
From Mike Scott: “Kind of disappointing to hear that the link between the two greenways still has some formidable obstacles. To me, linking the two communities is a highly desirable recreational feature for the valley.”
On Gov. Bob McDonnell’s gas tax proposals:
From Dave: “Why would anyone want to remove the gas tax? It’s nearly a direct consumption tax (is for gas, nearly so for road use due to different fuel efficiencies) that’s collected to the state and is marked for transportation. The two problems are that the gas tax hasn’t been increased since 1986 and the Virginia General Assembly has plundered the VDOT’s construction trust fund. So increase the gas tax and index it to inflation, the budget, or VDOT’s budget.”
On delivering newspapers after snowstorms:
Kristen: “A shout out to my intrepid paper-delivery guy. Despite there being a tree down in my road, my paper was right on my porch this morning where it always is. Thanks dude!”
She can say that again. Those delivery folks are awesome.
Anyway, that’s merely a smattering of the hundreds of comments that came in last week, a flavor if you will. I hope you’ll consider joining the fray, and making it an even richer and livelier place.
Dan Casey’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
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