Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:
The Savannah Morning News says Hurricane Florence is a reminder to be prepared:
For those of us in the Savannah area, Hurricane Florence, or Flo for short, promises to be much like the advertising pitchwoman of the same name: Annoying but not menacing.
Florence is nearing the East Coast. And while the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry will likely escape the wrath of a yet another major hurricane, we should heed the reminder offered by the anxiety-ridden past few days.
Florence, like Irma a year ago, is the storm we all dread: a Category 4 that can put coastal areas underwater, topple trees like dominoes, rip roofs from buildings and roofs — essentially tear our tranquil area asunder.
Florence is forecast to make landfall Friday morning near North Carolina's Outer Banks. The storm is currently a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of more than 130 mph, and is expected to strengthen before coming ashore.
The damage promises to be catastrophic, and only atmospheric conditions pushed the storm north away from us.
For all the talk each summer about the start of hurricane season, Florence's approach demands our attention. The height of storm season has arrived.
Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys a year ago this past Monday. Hermine, a tropical storm that blew down trees in 2016, hit on Sept. 2, a little more than a month ahead of Hurricane Matthew, which passed 20-some miles offshore.
The winds from Matthew, a Category 1 storm, left coastal roads impassable while the surge flooded dozens of homes. Some areas went more than a week without power.
Also of note is the presence of two more storms currently crossing the Atlantic. While neither Hurricane Isaac nor Hurricane Helene is forecast to threaten the East Coast, the frequency of storms forming off the coast of Africa and making their way west this year is sobering.
Florence's approach is reason to refresh memories about your storm plan. The season stretches through November, and odds are Helene won't be the last Atlantic storm to menace the western hemisphere. There is no excuse to be caught unaware.
For those residents who may need transportation or medical assistance in the face of a threatening storm, the Chatham County Health Department maintains a Hurricane Registry. This list is for those with limited or no resources, such as family members, neighbors or friends, to help them evacuate ahead of a storm or manage the aftermath.
If you or someone you know fits this description, sign up for the registry by calling 1-833-CHD REGISTER.
Thoughts and prayers
Beyond our own preparedness, we must also keep in mind those in the path of the storm.
We have witnessed the destructive force of hurricanes many times in recent years, from Katrina to Sandy and Harvey to Irma. Florence has the potential to wreak similar havoc for residents from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Virginia Beach, Virginia — and beyond.
For those with family and friends in those areas, do all you can to support them.
As terrifying and life-changing as these recent storms have been, we Americans have shown our resolve and generosity again and again. Relief efforts are already underway in some quarters.
While we hope the storm unexpectedly weakens or makes an abrupt turn away from the coast, we know we will be there for each other should the worst come to pass. Disasters such as hurricanes bring out the best in people, as the aftermaths of Matthew and Irma taught us here locally.
Whether it's helping your neighbors clean up debris and patch roofs or coming together for a communal dinner and social hour when the day's work is done, our sense of community is never stronger than in the face of adversity.
Stay up to date on Hurricane Florence's movement and watch for more storm threats in the months ahead.
Storm season calls for patience and vigilance. And for our neighbors in the Carolinas and Virginia, let's send our thoughts and prayers.
The Valdosta Daily Times on sexual assaults on college campuses:
Sexual assault is a real problem everywhere and is among the most under-reported crimes, for several reasons, but when you look at the problem nationally, the numbers are staggering.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, and more than 90 percent of victims do not report the assault.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey revealed that one in four surveyed women said they were violently attacked by a husband or boyfriend.
One in five of all women surveyed by the CDC claimed they had experienced rape or attempted rape, with half of those cases involving intimate partners.
There should be no question about the frequency of sexual assaults on college campuses. We feel certain it does not get reported nearly as often as it occurs. Victims should know there is no shame in reporting and they might help prevent the same thing happening to another person.
Perpetrators need to know that not only are they violating another person, they could be ruining their life and could face lengthy incarceration and being placed on a sexual offender registry for life.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network offers guidelines to help prevent sexual assault in various situations, including:
— Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you find a way to get out of a bad situation.
— Try to avoid isolated areas. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
— Walk with purpose. Even if you don't know where you are going, act like you do.
— Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn't the best place to be.
"Sexual assault is a crime of motive and opportunity and the majority of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim," according to RAINN. "Ultimately, there is no surefire way to prevent an attack. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence, it's not your fault. You are not alone."
For more information about sexual assault or to find additional resources, call National Sexual Assault Hotline, (800) 656-HOPE, or visit online.rainn.org.
This is all good advice, but the most important thing we can say is that no always means no.
The Augusta Chronicle on the anniversary of 9/11:
Editorial writers, like most adults living today, were agog, alarmed and astonished 17 years ago.
We just had to try to make sense of it more quickly than most others, in order to have something meaningful to say about it all — even as the smoke continued to billow and the ashes continued to descend like sullied snow.
With a series of seismic shocks from the sudden and coordinated Sept. 11 attacks, the world's tectonic plates lurched and the planet forever changed.
The world exposed itself as the dangerous place it always really was. New alliances and old antagonisms arose. America was thrust into its longest war, still smoldering beneath the headlines. Henceforth, all air travelers, however innocent — the young, the elderly, the abled and disabled alike — were to be looked upon as potential mass murderers.
Like many Americans, editorial writers choked up and looked up in prayer. For weeks we shared that pandemic sick feeling in our gut about what had happened and what might yet.
But, speaking only for this page, never once in all those hours, days, weeks and months following the Sept. 11 attacks — not once — did it ever occur to us that this country could end.
Can that be said 17 years later? Are we so smug as to think our disunity, our excess, our complacency and heedlessness can't do infinitely more damage to the republic than so many hijacked airliners? Can we legitimately claim to be agog, alarmed and astonished at something we're doing to ourselves over time and in front of our own eyes and ears, not to mention in front of our children?
What would our Sept. 12 selves say about us now?
Look at the warfare in Washington and our own clashes in antisocial media. The pitchforks for our president, and his own barehanded bouts with opponents. The way our Supreme Court nominees are savaged. The naked intolerance for dissimilar views in restaurants and on college campuses. The ignorance, apathy and even antipathy toward our system of government, our free-market freedom and prosperity, our flag and our anthem.
Who needs terrorists and planes and bombs when we've got ahold of each other's throats? We pulled together after Sept. 11. Now we're pulling ourselves apart. We're flying planes into our own civic infrastructure.
A "Tower of Voices" with 40 distinctive-sounding wind chimes was dedicated Sunday at the memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, crashed during the 40 passengers' and crew members' heroic struggle for its control. How can we let those melodic chimes go in one ear and out the other as we keep building a competing Tower of Babble that drowns out all reason, civility and unity?
How did we get here from there? What good are memorials if they don't help us remember what's truly important?
As those chimes forever echo the memory of Sept. 11, let us renew the spirit of Sept. 12.
Let us once again, in the words of our founders, "mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
Make the memorials count. It's the least we owe the dead, not to mention ourselves and our posterity.