Letters to the Editor

2018 Amtrak accident in Cayce received excellent emergency medical response

An Amtrak train crashed into a CSX frieght train on a side track in Cayce in February 2018. Two crew members were killed and 116 were injured.
An Amtrak train crashed into a CSX frieght train on a side track in Cayce in February 2018. Two crew members were killed and 116 were injured. tdominick@thestate.com

Recently the National Transportation Safety Board completed our investigation into the February 4, 2018, rail accident which occurred when an Amtrak passenger train was diverted onto a side track and collided with a standing CSX freight train. Sadly the engineer and conductor of the Amtrak train were killed, and several passengers and crew were injured

In addition to investigating the causes of such transportation tragedies, our investigators also examine the emergency response. Despite good intentions, sometimes we find deficiencies with such lifesaving efforts.

During the NTSB’s board meeting for the Cayce accident, I asked the NTSB’s chief medical officer to describe the emergency response. “This was hands-down the most well-organized emergency response I have ever seen,” she replied. “Not only were the services integrated – meaning law enforcement, multiple law enforcement groups, the county EMS, they called in mutual aid, and the fire department – there really was shared responsibility. And they very quickly were able to get the injured off the scene, and the uninjured also off the scene and taken care of.”

As a Midlands resident, I was quite proud to hear such praise. Job well done!

Robert Sumwalt


Selection of Barton to lead state education reform is disappointing

Gov. McMaster’s appointment of Melanie Barton to lead state education reform efforts clearly indicates that Gov. McMaster’s idea of reform is simply more of the same. Ms. Barton is a long-term state bureaucrat whose most recent job was executive director of the superfluous Education Oversight Committee (EOC).

Ms. Barton’s idea of reform is more standardized bubble tests and school shaming. Under her leadership, the EOC has turned our children into faceless data points, our schools into factories, our teachers into assembly line workers and our administrators into bean counters. Further, she has shown no significant leadership in terms of advocating for teachers, even as the teacher shortage has worsened to a crisis level. Expecting any fresh or innovative ideas from Ms. Barton is probably wishful thinking.

Although I don’t understand why our state needs a superintendent of education, a State Board of Education, the EOC and now this additional layer of intrusive bureaucracy, I would think that Gov. McMaster could have at least found someone who has actually worked in a real school district sometime in the recent past. What we got instead is another political bureaucrat who has little or no credibility in the field.

Frank Morgan


SC politicians need to ensure our safety with hate crime bill

The recent threat at Cardinal Newman High brought back discussion of a state hate crime bill. One side says that we don’t need a state law because there are federal laws, and the other side states that it could help deter crime.

I find it most disturbing that even after Clemson University reported their study that indicates that a foreign government is trying to instigate division among Americans, all our government officials can do is bicker rather than come up with a solution.

We need legislation to let anyone, including a foreign entity, who attempts to interfere with South Carolina or its citizens know that they will be dealt with severely. If our politicians refuse to get together to make sure that we are safe, we need to elect others who are willing and able to do so.

A young man at Cardinal Newman stated that a bullet knows no race, sex, or religion. Our greatest attribute is looking after each other and being honest and truthful with each other.

James Muldrow


The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.