Category Archives: Chester County

Dozens gather to remember Orlando victims in West Chester

By Candice Monhollan, Daily Local News, 6/22/16,

WEST CHESTER >> The tragedy in Orlando on June 12 sent shockwaves across the nation. Those ripples of sorrow, anger and cries for change have even reached West Chester.

On Wednesday night, people of all religious faiths gathered on the steps of the Chester County Historic Courthouse to remember the 49 lives lost in that unfathomable act of terror and violence.

“As a society, we need to come together to end the continuous cycle of violence based on bias and hate,” said state Sen. Andy Dinniman, D-19, of West Whiteland, in a statement for the memorial. “Members of all faith traditions must play a leading role in promoting the understanding, service and responsibility necessary to build strong and safe communities.”

Though it was organized by the Chester County rabbis, the memorial was made to be multi-faith, with several clergy coming from other places of worship from around the county, including the Rev. Joseph Heim, a retired Catholic priest, Abdul Mughes, of the Islamic Society of Chester County, and Alyce Denver, of the West Grove Friends Meeting, among many others.

Also in attendance was Mayor Carolyn Comitta.

“West Chester stands in solidarity with the victims, the families and the friends and all people of Orlando and, indeed, across our country,” she said to the crowd. “We are heartbroken (and) shocked…as we suffer the consequences of yet another mass shooting in America. This should not be a part of our American vocabulary.”…

read more at Daily Local News


Gun deaths and public life

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 4/23/16

In the midst of election turmoil and craziness, it can be discouraging to pay close attention to what goes on in public life. There is so much self-interest, hypocrisy, and meanness. But then, we need to remember that real issues underlie elections and we can take our lead from those candidates and activists who promote a genuine vision of the public interest.

Among the most noteworthy of these, to me, are individuals fighting to prevent gun violence in this country. After years of carnage, our senses are dulled by so much shooting. Where was that shooting? How many dead in that one? What kind of gun? A relative accidentally shot a 4-year-old girl in Philadelphia and someone killed 8 sleeping members of a family in Ohio (Daily Local, April 16 and 23). In a few days, we won’t even remember.

But we all surely remember in 2012 when a deranged 20-year-old killed 20 elementary school students and 6 school staff, after killing his mother (who had enabled his gun habit) and before killing himself. The even worse news is that that one morning of terror accounted for only about one-third of this country’s average of 90 gun deaths a day. (More than half of those are suicides carried out by people who should have treatment, not access to guns.)

Many people in the Sandy Hook community, including parents who had lost children in the massacre, banded together to try to save others from having the same tragic experience. They could have retreated into despair, but some of them formed “Team 26,” the Sandy Hook Bicycle Riders, who every year have bicycled from Connecticut to Washington DC in order to plead for gun violence prevention. Why “Team 26”? To honor the 26 victims in the school.

You can see details and photos in “Team 26 makes stop in West Chester area” in the Daily Local News, 4/12/16. …

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

2 Dead in Shooting in Chester County

Saturday, Oct. 17th, 2015:   Front page story in the Daily Local News states 2 bodies  found in a car shot to death outside of Coatesville.  This is the second shooting death in the Coatesville area in two weeks.  Added to the recent shooting murder of a Henderson High School student in  West Chester, we are reminded that even in bucolic Chester County, there is no safe place from gun violence.

Read “DA: 2 Shot dead in Valley” in Daily Local News, 10/17/15