Letters to the editor

Nov. 21, 2013 @ 08:27 PM

Responding to ‘hurtful words’

What a strange combination of Bible-thumping and hurtful words from readers Allan Lang, Gary Ward and Curtis Gatewood was incited by my letter on Leonard Pitts' "12 Years a Slave" column.

For those who would argue whites are to blame for historical and contemporary slavery, the good news is The Herald-Sun (Nov. 11) carried the AP story: "Spanish police break up sex slave ring, arrest 25 gang members."  The bad news is that the gang is Nigerian.

But here's another aspect.  Most Americans are descended from folks who didn't even show up until well after the Emancipation Proclamation!  Here's a typical family history.  In the 1905-1910 timeframe, four young adult (legal) immigrants emerge from the lowest decks of four steamships and plunk down in Jersey City.  Two are Irish and two German.  The former soon deal with "No Irish Need Apply" signs, and the latter with the Wilson administration's hatefully anti-German propaganda campaign.  Yet, the four decide that, rather than b**** for the next 150 years, they and their descendants will show 'em.  Those circa 1900 arrivals quickly became committed patriots. 

Here is one legitimate beef against whites that Lang, Ward, and Gatewood might air.  Starting in the middle of the 20th century, one political party installed a series of welfare programs that incentivized the siring and abandonment of babies, effectively ruining the black family model.  Today, black churches alternate between Bible-thumping and serving as precinct headquarters for that same party, the one that enslaved them -- twice.

Frank Hurley

Chapel Hill

Measures urged to curb flu

Considering that Durham has been named by Southern Living as “The South's Tastiest Town” and has a longstanding association with renowned dining, restaurants in Durham ought to take greater sanitary measures in anticipation of the winter flu season.

I have been particularly pleased to observe that an expanding number of eating establishments have placed trashcans near the door to the restroom. The winter months are habitually marked by greater instances of cases of communicable diseases such as the Norovirus, which results in unpleasant upheaval to one’s digestive system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Norovirus causes 19-21 million cases and 570-800 deaths annually in the United States.

The most effective preventive technique is diligent hand washing, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been observed to be a less efficient substitute. Because the Norovirus is most readily transmitted in spaces where infected people relieve themselves, door handles, which must be touched in order to leave a restroom, are particularly susceptible to becoming contaminated with the virus. We cannot be certain that all patrons will properly wash their hands and, thus, ensure the cleanliness of these door handles.

Therefore, all establishments ought to place a trashcan beside the restroom door so that visitors may use a paper towel to touch the door handle and then discard the paper towel in the adjacent receptacle. Measures such as these will reduce the ease of transmission of viruses this winter and contribute to greater well-being among the citizens of Durham.

Erich Prince

Durham

Curb Emissions

Industrial carbon pollution was just measured at the highest levels in human history. The costs of inaction are already apparent: more destructive and deadly extreme weather, rising global temperatures, life-threatening diseases and skyrocketing costs for disaster recovery.

I was glad to read the EPA's announcement regarding its first steps to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants under President Obama's Climate Action Plan. Until now, there have been no federal limits on the carbon pollution that fuels climate change, despite current safeguards against mercury, arsenic, soot and other dangerous pollution.

Climate change is of significant concern for North Carolina because of the potential for sea level rise, which could dramatically change our famous coastline. But North Carolina and the United States government have the ability to take meaningful action. I urge them to support the EPA's proposed rule on curbing carbon pollution from new power plants.

Kenneth Crews

Durham