Sheriff Clinton: “Eliminating guns is an impractical and flawed argument”

News, Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton

From the Desk of Sheriff Chris Clinton 

Towns County, Georgia

 

As I reflect on the horrible tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that destroyed lives and brought such sorrow and grief to so many families, there are no words that can properly convey how I feel for those hurt by this despicable act of evil. I’m sure there will be some who will be offended by my thoughts and that is their right. I can only hope they will understand that this is an issue that is very near to my heart as Sheriff of Towns County. I have often stated that school shootings are the most horrible of crimes and the nightmare of Sheriffs everywhere.

I find it extremely unfortunate that in the aftermath of such horrible tragedies, there are those who inevitably attempt to make a political profit by jumping on the Second Amendment issue. Over the years, it seems that there are many who almost want this issue to remain because they make political hay from it. So often it seems that the same people who blame law enforcement for shootings, whether justified or not, want to blame the firearm for the shootings carried out by mass murderers.

Too many news reports want to talk about the personal issues the shooter may have been experiencing, as though it matters at this point. The time to have helped the individual would’ve been before he shot up a school. Then, some of these same reporters blame the NRA and anyone else who believes in the Second Amendment as their best defense against such acts, which does nothing at all to address the problem. The problem is a condition of the human heart that allows an individual to perpetrate such unspeakable horrors. While it may well be unfortunate that the shooter went down a dark path, it happened. It is too late to help this sick individual. Actions have consequences and the actions taken by this individual are so evil that they demand justice. Justice is for the victims, those who lost their lives, those who lost loved ones, the community, the whole nation; we have all been harmed. It no longer matters what led up to the shooter doing this. It has been done and it demands justice.

What we can do is look for real solutions to trying to prevent these horrific acts from occurring. These acts of violence have always plagued the human race, which is why the Office of Sheriff is the oldest elected office in the history of the world. There are those who, when given the opportunity, will harm the innocent. The question becomes how do we stop them or at least do all that we can to do prevent them from carrying out these horrific evils.

Eliminating guns is an impractical and flawed argument. Guns aren’t the only weapons of choice by this type of criminal. In the Township of Bath Michigan, on May 18, 1927, 38 elementary school children and 6 adults were murdered, while 58 others were injured by a mad man, who had formerly served as the school board treasurer. Andrew Kehoe did not use a gun. The much talked about AR-15 had not even been invented yet. Kehoe used homemade bombs to carry out this horrible crime. On June 11, 1964 in Cologne, West Germany, a deranged criminal used a homemade flame thrower and lance to murder eight students, two teachers, and injure twenty-two others.

While many would ask to ban guns, I ask can we ban evil. We have laws against murder, but it still happens daily. Not all murders involve a firearm. Some crimes are prevented by firearms. Firearms are inanimate objects with no will of their own. They can be used by humans for perpetrating evil, but they may also be used by humans to defend against evil. Jeff Cooper in “The Art of the Rifle” made the following observation, “The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”

While some may take offense at the harsh, cold reality, I believe that we should look at ways of protecting our precious children, rather than making them more vulnerable. I am committed to doing all I can, including the willingness to lay down my own life, to protect our children. I only ask that we look for solutions in keeping our children safe, not in some far off imagined utopia where no one breaks the law, but today. We have lost too many precious lives and rhetoric has done nothing to deter crime. My thoughts and prayers go out the families and community of these precious children who were the unarmed, undefended victims of an evil act of violence perpetrated by a criminal. My heart breaks for them.

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Sheriff Clinton shares valuable emergency preparedness advice

Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton

From the Desk of Towns County Sheriff Christopher M. Clinton:

There are a number of things that each family can do to be prepared for an emergency situation. There are any number of weather events that can create an emergency on a very large scale and for those who are unprepared the consequences can be devastating.

Events such as tornadoes, flooding, winter ice storms, heavy snow, and extreme cold don’t happen all the time, but when they do happen, families can be stranded for days without help. During a major event, it may take rescue workers and utility crews several days to reach certain locations. Tornadoes and winter storms may make roads impassible for long periods of time, in essence, trapping people in their homes and preventing help from getting to them until roads can be cleared. Other events, such as flooding, may require people to evacuate their homes.

Because these types of events can and do happen, there are some things that families should do to be prepared for an emergency. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency offers many tips. The following information is compiled in large part from their recommendations and I believe they are helpful if implemented:

  • Families should consider installing safety features in their homes. A NOAA weather radio can alert you to rapidly changing weather conditions and let you know if a serious event is likely. Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers should be in each home.
  • Home owners should regularly inspect their home for potential hazards such as items that can fall, break, or catch fire and correct these issues.
  • It is a good idea for family members to learn CPR and first aid, as well as how to use a fire extinguisher, or how and when to turn off water, gas, or electricity to the home.
  • Children should be taught how and when to call 9-1-1 for help.
  • Families should keep enough supplies, including medical supplies and medicines to last for at least three days.
  • Families should have a plan and discuss where to go in the home in the event of a severe thunder storm or tornado and what to do in the event of a flood. Children especially need to know and practice this.
  • In the event you need to evacuate your home you will need an emergency supply kit. A good kit should include enough water to last three days (one gallon of water per person per day), food that will not spoil, a change of clothes and shoes for each person, a blanket, or sleeping bag for each person, a first aid kit that includes any prescription medications, emergency tools, extra car keys, cash. Infants and disabled persons may need specialty items and they should be included. A kit should be ready to transport in easy to carry containers such as back packs or duffel bags.

While the possibility of experiencing a disaster is unpleasant to consider, having a well-considered, discussed, and practiced plan can make a tremendous difference in the safety of all concerned.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

From the Desk of the Sheriff: Winter Weather Driving Hazards

Sheriff's Desk
Robin H Webb

From the Desk of Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton:

With the wintry weather of the past few days and the promise of more to come, it seems an appropriate time to talk about winter driving. It is always best not to drive during snowy or icy conditions. Whenever possible avoid driving during extreme winter weather. Even front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-`drive vehicles are susceptible to snow and ice. If you must drive, the following suggestions are meant as helpful tips to avoid increasing the risk.

During winter you should always make certain that your vehicle is prepared. Vehicle preparation should include keeping your vehicle properly tuned up and making sure that your tires are in good shape. Tires should be properly inflated and have a tread depth of at least an eighth inch. Always keep plenty of fuel in your vehicle’s tank and make sure that your battery is up to date and properly maintained.

There are several items that are recommended to be kept in your vehicle during cold weather. These are especially important if you are traveling long distances. Good items to have on hand include bottled water, a flashlight with extra batteries, spare warm clothing, a warm blanket or sleeping bag, jumper cables, snow chains, a tow strap, wooden matches in a water proof container, a fully charged cell phone, and road flares, safety triangles, or both, to make your vehicle more visible. Cat litter can be used as a traction aid, much like gravel, but is easier to carry in a vehicle.

Some things to consider when driving include slowing down by at least half the speed normally recommended and allowing at least twice the distance between your vehicle and another. Remember to use more gentle controls during slippery conditions. You should start, steer, and stop your vehicle in a gentle, steady, and smooth fashion. If you are breaking and your brakes start to lock, ease up on the pressure. If your rear wheels start to skid take your foot off the brake and steer the vehicle in the direction you want the front of the vehicle to go. Do not try to accelerate during a skid and never use cruise control during snowy, icy, or wet conditions.

If you become stuck or stranded in the snow, it is almost always better to stay with your vehicle and wait for help. If you run the vehicle to use the heater, be sure that the exhaust is not obstructed and always leave at least one window slightly open to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Only leave your vehicle if you know exactly where you are and are certain that you will improve your conditions by doing so.

It is always better to stay off the roadways during winter weather conditions such as snow and ice. The information I have provided is by no means a comprehensive list and is only meant to offer some suggestions for being safer. All the preparation in the world cannot guarantee that you will arrive safely to your destination if you choose to drive in poor conditions. My first advice is that you not drive during extreme weather. If you must, please take precautions and drive carefully.

 

(Photo: Robin H. Webb/FYN – Towns County, GA – Dec. 8, 2017)

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Sheriff Clinton shares Christmas shopping safety tips

Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton

From the Desk of Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton:

During the holiday season, busy people intent on trying to complete their Christmas shopping often become the target of criminals who seek to steal packages from vehicles parked in mall and shopping center parking lots. The following information is provided in conjunction with your Georgia Sheriffs’ Association and is intended to help you from becoming the next victim.

When shopping, look for the best lit parking spaces. Once in your chosen space, look around before leaving your car. Is there anyone in the vicinity watching you? Do you see anyone loitering? If so, remain in your car and watch them for a moment. If they move on, that’s fine, but if not, you might consider moving to a new parking space. If you feel uncertain or unsafe about a situation you observe, take steps to move yourself to a safer location. Don’t assume you are being foolish or paranoid.

Once you are in a safer location, lock your vehicle and move quickly and confidently to the store. Would-be thieves and robbers are looking for the easiest targets. If you show that you are aware of what is happening around you and move with a sense of purpose, you are less likely to become a victim. Walk against the flow and traffic.

Keep your head up and scanning—look forward, to the right and left, and even check behind as you walk. Awareness is your greatest defense. Don’t search through a purse or bags in the parking lot. If you must look for something, make sure you are in the safety of the store before you become absorbed in your hunt for a tissue, shopping list or other item.

If you store items in your vehicle, make sure they are covered or concealed. If you are putting bags in your vehicle and returning to shop, move your car from time to time in case someone is watching you.

Finally, if leaving late from a shopping mall or store, don’t hesitate to ask a store employee for help. Don’t accept the kind offer of the “stranger” who meets you outside the door and offers assistance. It may be a kind and generous offer, but it could also be ploy to gain access to your belongings.

Be aware, stay safe, and have a joyous and wonderful holiday season!

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

From the Desk of the Sheriff

Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton Towns County GA

From the Desk of Sheriff Chris Clinton:

Most of us have family traditions that we enjoy during the Christmas season. Families with small children may spend Christmas Eve baking cookies for Santa or listening to Christmas carols while enjoying eggnog by the fire. As a small child, I remember the anticipation of Christmas being so intense. I was in awe and wonder, dreaming about what might be inside all those presents wrapped so nicely under the tree. I would just stare at the Christmas tree and daydream about Christmas Day.

For me, even at 49, Christmas is still the most magical time of year. I love Christmas lights and the sounds of Christmas carols everywhere. The world just seems to be a nicer place during the Christmas season. I love to watch young children open gifts and see their eyes light up with joy. There is no other feeling like the feeling of Christmas. While Christmas is about much more than material possessions, the spirit of Christmas is certainly captured in the joy of a child receiving a gift on Christmas morning.

So, what about the children who are less fortunate? Imagine the child whose family has fallen on hard times. Do they wake up to just another day of struggling to make ends meet? Imagine if you were a parent who loved your child, but had lost a job because of the poor economy. I doubt that there would be anything much harder than not being able to provide your child, whom you love, the wonder of Christmas morning. It breaks my heart to think that, as the rest of the world enjoys the most blessed day of the year, some families wake to another day of not having enough. While providing toys for these children isn’t going to make the rest of their problems go away, I can’t help but believe that, at least for a time, their world becomes a little brighter and things seem a little better than before.

Each year the Sheriff’s Office attempts to provide the joy of Christmas gifts for Towns County’s less fortunate children. This effort is only made possible by the help of generous people in the community who donate to this cause. Names of children in need are collected and toys are gathered. We try whenever possible to provide at least one item that the child has specifically asked for. The toys are then given to the parents of the child to handle Christmas in their family’s tradition. It is all done in such a way as to protect the dignity of the family and allow them to share in the joy that many of us take for granted.

This year has been a tough one for many local families. We are hoping to provide for each child, but we need your help. If you would like to help us with this effort or if you know of a family with children that needs help, please contact your Sheriff’s Office at 706-896-4444.

I hope that each of you has a blessed and joyous Christmas this year!

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw updates Towns County, Coach Jimmy Smith retires

News
Coach Jimmy Smith

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw announced several community updates and plans at his monthly meeting at the Towns County Courthouse on the evening of Nov. 21, 2017, before a large turnout of citizens.

Commissioner Bradshaw explained the county is in the process of completing the 2018 budget, and it will read similar to the 2017 quota, with expectations of ultimately landing below budget.

Towns County is set to host the Bassmaster Elite Tournament in September 2018, and the event expects to add an estimated $1 million to $2 million dollars to the local economy. “This is a huge thing for our county,” Commissioner Bradshaw divulged. “Towns County will feel the effects for many years.” The Bassmaster Elite is the highest level of professional bass fishing tournaments offered.

Three detainee road crews completed upkeep on the fire tower located on High Tower, which involved pressure washing the structure and replacing the roof, among other repairs.

The fire department sign on Highway 76, one of the first signs seen when traveling west into Towns County, was replaced with a more appealing version, and the parking lot at Fire Station 1 in Hiawassee was repaved.

Towns County Daycare installed a code pad at their entrance for security purposes. Parents will receive a code, and a doorbell system was added for vendors.

The Georgia Mountain Fair “Mountain Country Christmas in Lights” will open on Thanksgiving night. Commissioner Bradshaw praised the fair’s General Manager, Hilda Thomason: “Hilda has done a great job to grow it each year.”

Approval of the 2018/2019 Federal Transit Grant Application took place. The application amounted to $96,900, half of which will be matched by Towns County. The actual amount awarded may be less as it is dependent on operational costs and based on expenditures for the year. Towns County Transit operates Monday through Friday and provides transportation for residents without vehicles.

A resolution approving the purchase of state-mandated Firefighter Cancer Insurance was read and signed by Commissioner Bradshaw. The insurance was purchased through the ACCG program. Newly elected Hiawassee City Councilwoman Amy Barrett inquired whether future coverage could be acquired locally. The Commissioner replied that the concept is worth exploring.

An application for a grant to fund the development of ADA projects at the Highway 288 Lake Chatuge Recreational property was read and signed by the Commissioner. Handicap ramps, renovation of the parking lot, accessibility for kayaks and canoes and a water trail are expected to be completed. Towns County is requesting $200,000 in funding, but less is anticipated for approval. Towns County will be reimbursed for 80 percent of the total cost and detainee labor will be used accordingly.

Towns County Courthouse

Towns County Courthouse

Last on the new business agenda was approval of the Towns County Sheriff’s Office policy on the implementation and regulation of credit cards for deputies to purchase fuel while transporting inmates out of county. Sheriff Chris Clinton explained the deputies were paying the cost out of pocket, then receiving county reimbursement, prior to the policy’s adoption. Each card is assigned to the transport vehicle’s VIN number. The policy will save the taxpayers the cost of federal and state taxes that were included in out-of-pocket purchases.

The final segment of the commissioner’s meeting was dedicated to the recognition of Towns County Youth Program Coach Jimmy Smith, who is retiring after 21 years of service.

“It is amazing what this man has done,” Commissioner Bradshaw said as he presented the coach with an award. “I can’t say enough. You don’t know the impact you have made on the county and kids.”

“He’s not made a dime to do this. We would not have Little League football if not for Jimmy Smith,” the Commissioner expressed, defining the retiring coach’s love and compassion for children.

Commissioner Bradshaw holds his monthly briefing on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the courtroom of the Towns County Courthouse. Public comments and questions are welcome as the meeting concludes. Several citizens praised the commisioner’s efforts in the community as the November session adjourned.

Featured Image: Commissioner Bradshaw presents award of recognition to Coach Smith

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Sheriff Clinton offers tips to avoid Holiday fraud

Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton Towns County GA

From the Desk of Sheriff Christopher M. Clinton

Towns County, Ga.

 

This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, most of us will enjoy the time with family and friends or take part in some tradition. Many are already planning their Christmas shopping. While stores and consumers alike are getting ready for a busy season of shopping, criminals are planning to take advantage of unwary consumers.

Each year criminals and unscrupulous companies, many of them outside the United States, take advantage of consumers through the use of Internet fraud. In an effort to keep you safe we offer for your consideration the following guidelines suggested by the FBI to help you avoid becoming a victim:

• Only purchase merchandise from reputable dealers or establishments.

• Try to obtain a physical address rather than merely a post office box and a phone number; call the seller to see if the number is correct and working.

• Send them an e-mail to see if they have an active e-mail address and be wary of those that utilize free e-mail services where a credit card wasn’t required to open the account.

• Consider not purchasing from sellers who won’t provide you with this type of information.

• Purchase merchandise directly from the individual/company that holds the trademark, copyright, or patent.

• Beware when responding to e-mail that may not have been sent by a reputable company.

• Guard your account information carefully. Don’t give out your credit card number(s) online unless the site is a secure and reputable site. Sometimes a tiny icon of a padlock appears to symbolize a higher level of security to transmit data. This icon is not a guarantee of a secure site, but might provide you some assurance.

We at the Towns County Sheriff’s Office are thankful for the opportunity to serve our citizens. As we all pause to give thanks this year, consider helping a child less fortunate by becoming a partner in the Sheriff’s Empty Stocking Fund. This annual project provides Christmas toys for Towns County children who otherwise would not receive gifts due to financial hardships.

Each year we hold the Sheriff’s Christmas Parade to benefit the Sheriff’s Empty Stocking Fund. Participants are asked to bring a new unwrapped toy for a boy or girl. The parade this year will be held Nov. 25, 2017, and will start at 5:30 p.m. The parade will travel from the Georgia Mountain Fair to McConnell Memorial Baptist Church in Hiawassee. Participants are encouraged to be at the fairgrounds at 4 p.m. for parade line up.

If you would like to help a child in need by donating toys or making a financial contribution, you may do so at either the Towns County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center and Administrative Offices, located at 4070 State Hwy 339, Young Harris, GA or at the Towns County Sheriff’s Office located in the Towns County Courthouse, at 48 River Street, Hiawassee, GA.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

Sheriff Clinton Explains Child Passenger Safety Laws

Sheriff's Desk
Sheriff Chris Clinton Towns County GA

From the Desk of Sheriff Chris Clinton:

Child passenger safety is an important topic. No one wants their child to be injured in a motor vehicle accident. Not only will improper precautions place a child in harm, but drivers can receive a citation for failing to follow state laws regarding child passenger safety. The following information is a paraphrase of the requirements of the law in Georgia.

Children under age eight are required to be in a child safety seat or booster seat. The seat or booster must be appropriate for the child’s height and weight and must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, children under eight must ride in a back seat, but there are a few exceptions to that requirement.

If a vehicle has no rear seating or all the rear seats are already occupied by other children, a child under eight may ride in the front seat. Still, any child riding in a front seat must be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate for their height and weight. Drivers should be aware of the potential of the child receiving serious injury should an airbag deployment occur while a child is riding in the front seat.

When using a booster seat, a lap/shoulder belt is required, but again, there is an exception. A child over 40 pounds may use only a lap belt if the vehicle does not have shoulder belts or if positions that have lap/shoulder belts are being used to restrain other children. If there are only lap belts in the rear seat, a child may ride in the front seat. Again, any child riding in the front seat must be restrained in a safety seat that is appropriate for their height and weight. The seat must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. There remains the potential for serious injury from an airbag deployment that should be understood and considered.

A child over 4’9″ in height may be restrained in a safety belt instead of a booster seat. A child under eight can be exempt for physical or medical reasons only if the parent or guardian has a written statement from a physician that a physical or medical condition prevents using a child safety seat or safety restraint system.

As always, it is our desire to help you and your loved ones remain safe. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call on your Sheriff’s Office at 706-896-4444. We are always honored to assist you in keeping yourself and your family safe.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. – FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. – For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

Author

Robin H. Webb

Robin@FetchYourNews.com

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