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Published: 1/22/2013

State school board leader defends post

She denies Hitler comparison

BY CATHERINE CANDISKY
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

COLUMBUS — Debe Terhar, Ohio Board of Education president, said she was not comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler when she posted a photograph of the Nazi leader on her Facebook page with a message critical of the administration’s new gun-control efforts.

But she does say we “need to step back and think about it and look at history” to see that tyrants have disarmed their citizens.

Ms. Terhar, a Cincinnati Republican elected last week by the 19-member school board to a second term as its president, recently posted the photo with this commentary: “Never forget what this tyrant said: ‘To conquer a nation, first disarm its citizens. Adolf Hitler.’ ”

The photo apparently originated with the Facebook page of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children, which features anti-Obama, pro-gun posts and photos, such as scantily clad women hoisting large guns, a polar bear with the words ‘Holy f*** I’m glad I’m white,” and another saying “Where’s Lee Harvey Oswalt [sic]when you need him?”

A few have made the Obama-to-Hitler comparison since the President proposed restricting gun rights in the wake of last month’s shooting in a Connecticut school that left 20 children and six adults dead. The shooter’s mother was killed as well. Similar comparisons were made during the 2009 health-care debate.

Ms. Terhar, whose posts are visible only to her Facebook friends, said those who know her would understand that she is encouraging people to look examine history as the country debates restricting gun rights. But “someone who doesn’t know me could possibly misunderstand what my intent was.”

“I’m not comparing the President to Adolf Hitler,” she said. “It’s the thought of disarming citizens, and this has happened throughout history. What’s the true intention of the Second Amendment? It was to protect us from a tyrannical government, God forbid.”

She said she believes schools should have armed guards to protect students in case of violence, but that decision should be left to local school boards. The state board has not taken a position on guns and student safety in the wake of the Connecticut massacre.

“Schools are gun-free zones. If you have someone who is bent on causing harm, where are they going to go? To a place where there is little chance of resistance,”she said. “It comes down to protecting ourselves and protecting our kids.”

Still, she said, “there are a number of people who don’t want armed guards, so it should be a local decision.”

In March, the state board plans to hold a public hearing on school safety. Ms. Terhar said the panel will hear from school officials about their safety plans and consider the options districts have for protecting students.



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