We owe debt to those who help in emergencies

Published 8:44am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Last week, our nation again was reminded of threats ordinary citizens face in a free society when evil chooses to strike the innocent. The senseless attacks on the Boston Marathon that left three dead and more than 170 injured have shaken the country and evoked images of past acts of terror including the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

In some ways, the Boston tragedy is more reminiscent of the July 1996 bombing at Atlanta’s Centennial Olym-pic Park. During that attack, three pipe bombs containing nails were detonated in close proximity to crowds gathered for a concert, killing two and injuring 111. While the Atlanta bombing was the result of a lone domestic terrorist, the alleged Boston bombers are foreign-born and avowed Islamists. One of the suspects has died and another captured. Sadly, a law enforcement officer lost his life in the effort to capture the suspects.

All acts of terror are different. However, in each case Americans have responded with incredible bravery. Newspapers, radio and the television have offered moving stories about everyday people who ran to help the bombing victims rather than fleeing for their own personal safety. Who can forget  images of Carlos Arredondo, wearing a cowboy hat, who leapt to the side of an injured man, helping to stop his bleeding and comforting him before paramedics arrived?

The most compelling images from the attack in Boston are those of law enforcement and other first responders who immediately turned toward the blasts, dashing straight into danger in order to save lives and protect the public. And of course, the bravery and skill of law enforcement in pursuing the suspects was without question. It simply cannot be emphasized enough how vital our local first responders are to our safety and security. Whether receiving treatment after a horrific tragedy like last week’s bombings or being rescued from a house fire or medical emergency, we all owe a tremendous debt to the heroes in our communities – our first responders.

Oil Spill Anniversary

Last Saturday, April 20, was the third anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill. Over the three years since the largest environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, attention has steadily shifted from cleaning beaches and wetlands, to paying damage claims, and now to the federal trial of BP and other responsible parties. Already, BP has pleaded guilty to man-slaughter in the deaths of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon and has agreed to pay $4 billion as part of a federal criminal settlement. The Gulf Coast is closely watching developments in the civil trial since a majority of fines paid by BP under the Clean Water Act could be directed to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas for economic and environmental restoration mandated by the RESTORE Act which passed Congress last summer.
Town meetings

Next week (April 29-May 2), I will hold 14 town hall meetings across Southwest Alabama.
I invite you to come out and share your views.

Monday, April 29
9 to 10 a.m. – Wilmer Volunteer Fire Department
11 a.m. to noon – Bayou La Batre City Hall
2:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Prichard City   Hall
4 to 5 p.m. – Satsuma City Hall

Tuesday, April 30
9 to 10 a.m. – Chatom Town Hall
11 a.m. to noon – Fruitdale Volunteer Fire Department
2:30-3:30 p.m. – Jackson Senior Center

Wednesday, May 1
9 to 10 a.m. – Bay Minette City Hall
11 a.m. to noon – Brewton City Hall
2:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Perdue Hill Masonic Lodge

Thursday, May 2
8:30-9:30 a.m. – Spanish Fort Westminster Village, Pete Allen Room
10:00-11:00 a.m. – Loxley Town Hall
12:30-1:30 p.m. – Magnolia Springs Community Hall
2:30-3:30 p.m. – Gulf Shores/Fort Morgan St. Andrew by the Sea Community Church

My staff and I work for you.  If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov.

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