Mariann Main: Can we start 2016 over again?


At certain times in each of our lives, it would be wise to have a “do-over.” Unfortunately second chances in life are rarely granted to any of us.

March has arrived. Most of our New Year’s resolutions long ago were forgotten and subsequently discarded. I would appreciate a rewind back to Jan. 1, to begin the year again and hopefully have a different outcome.

The parents of a 14-year-old shooter at Madison Junior & Senior High School in Butler County on Monday inevitably will request a return to Jan. 1. The opportunity to undo the damage caused by their son in the school’s cafeteria, opening fire upon unsuspecting classmates, would be taken without hesitation.

Why did this young man to bring a firearm to school, and what motivated him to shoot two classmates and injure two others? The rationale might never be known. Despite his age, the shooter’s actions will forever impact his life, by the choice to terrorize his school.

This young man’s parent or parents should be held accountable if they allowed easy access to the gun used in this latest school shooting. So far this year, violence involving guns is increasing at a record pace.

Fourteen police officers have lost their lives in just the first two months of 2016, according to Monday’s CBS Evening News. A rewind — to undo those losses — would be such solace to so many families and friends of the fallen officers. How I wish second chances were possible.

Another Ohioan received national notoriety Monday, but for a very different reason from the young Butler County shooter. SEAL Team Six member Edward Carl Byers received the Medal of Honor from by President Obama in Washington, D.C.

Byers, 36, is a graduate of Otsego High School in Tontogany, Ohio. He is the 78th recipient of this coveted award, and the sixth Navy SEAL bestowed the honor. Byers joined the Navy in 1998. He completed SEAL team training for basic underwater demolition in 2002, and joined the Naval Special Warfare Group (SEAL Team Six) in 2011.

Byers’ act of bravery occurred the night of Dec. 8, 2012, when he and other SEAL members rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph and two Afghans from Taliban captors. The trio had been kidnapped on Dec. 5, 2012, while en route to their base in Kabul. Intelligence sources had determined that if the rescue was not expedited quickly, the Taliban would either kill Dr. Joseph and the other hostages, or move them to a more remote location.

Accompanied by Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Checque, the SEAL team, including Byers, was dropped by helicopter at nightfall, and the unit hiked four hours to the compound where Dr. Joseph and the other hostages were held.

Despite the SEALS’ discovery just 75 yards from the encampment, Checque killed the guard, but was mortally wounded by other Taliban forces upon his entrance to the building. Byers followed Checque and discovered Dr. Joseph. Byers used his body to shield the physician, and simultaneously killed the other captors.

As a paramedic, Byers continued resuscitation efforts on Checque until returning to the SEAL base. His efforts were ultimately unsuccessful in saving Checque. It is without doubt that Checque’s family would wish a different outcome.

Byers was promoted to Senior Chief Petty Officer in January 2016. He is married and has an 11-year-old daughter.

After watching his post-Medal of Honor ceremony interview on CBS Evening News, I think Byers is the persona of what a presidential candidate should be, versus billionaire businessmen or career politicians clamoring for the office. But I digress.

A final requested rewind involves fallen Prince William County Officer Ashley Guindon. After being sworn in to the police force on Friday, Feb. 26, she was gunned down by a Pentagon employee on Saturday. Guindon and two other officers were shot by the active duty Army sergeant, upon responding to a domestic call.

The shooter’s wife was found dead inside the Lashmere Court home in Prince William County, while their 11-year-old son was found unharmed. The husband was taken into custody for the deaths of both Guindon and his wife.

Guindon was a New Hampshire native and U.S. Marine Corps reservist. While on active duty, she was assigned to Bolling Air Force Base to accompany the remains of fallen Marines back to the United States.

I extend sympathy to her family and can only imagine the life challenge now imposed upon an 11-year-old who witnessed a deadly domestic encounter between his parents and the killing of Guindon.

What has our world become? If only we could correct the wrongs and start 2016 again, maybe March would not seem so bleak.

Mariann Main

Local Answers to Life’s Questions

Mariann Main is a Delaware native and journalism undergraduate, and is licensed as a counselor in both Ohio and Georgia. She can be reached directly via [email protected].

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