ABSWLA-PKG

<

We are grateful the tragedies in Boston and West, Texas are over, but we mourn those who were killed or injured.

As those places struggle to return to normal, we ask what lessons might be learned for Southwest Louisiana.

From West, we learn that those of us who live in the shadow of potentially dangerous heavy industries must never become complacent as to our community's safety. The chemical plant in West was deemed to be safe, with a worst case scenario far milder than what actually occurred. Plant personnel here have historically done a great job, but industry officials are reminded to never put public relations ahead of the safety of those who work and live in their vicinity.

Boston taught us several lessons. First, it's critical to always maintain vigilence when crowds gather. Had a random knapsack been left alone in Europe, somebody would have noticed.

Second, as offensive as public surveillance cameras might be to some, they allowed law enforcement to catch the bad guys. Now Boston police are examining ways to better network all surveillance video cameras as is done in New York, Dallas and other cities. With our heavy industries, casinos and public areas, Southwest Louisiana is not too small to consider doing the same.

And finally, whatever your stance on the issue of private ownership of guns, having a dangerous suspect on the loose in Boston reminds us of the importance of the Second Amendment. Citizens must preserve their right to bear arms to protect life, limb and property when it is necessary.

We hope tragedies such as those in Boston and Texas don't happen here, but it's better to prepare now rather than scramble for answers later.

>