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Letters: Support Durham police in city’s fight against violence

Demilitarize! Durham2Palestine rally at Durham’s City Hall

Manal Sidawi speaks against police training with Israel during a rally outside Durham City Hall on Monday, April 16, 2018.
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Manal Sidawi speaks against police training with Israel during a rally outside Durham City Hall on Monday, April 16, 2018.

Our policing challenge

Seven persons injured from gunshots during a weekend this month.

Twenty-five persons injured in 23 incidents involving guns from Nov. 1 through Dec. 8.

One hundred eighty people hurt by gunshots in one hundred sixty incidents.

Twenty-four homicides in from July through September this year compared to 16 for the same period in 2017.

These are statistics that Durham City Council and Durham County Board of Commissioners members should be highly concerned about. Apparently the majority of “progressive” voters who elected them aren’t concerned.

It would be refreshing if Mayor Steve Schewel and the council paid attention to the frequency of shootings involving serious injuries and deaths instead of issuing statements on police policy like the one approved April 16 about participation in training that may be sponsored by organizations based abroad.

It’s obvious to me from the statistics above Durham needs its police and that Chief Cerelyn Davis and her officers deserve full community support, especially because Chief Davis says the cause of the recent incidents is gang violence.

I challenge Mayor Schewel and our council members to issue public statements and take significant actions to support Chief Davis and her department in the aftermath of the recent violence seen in a city where they emphasize openness and equal opportunity.

Mark G. Rodin

Durham

For the birds

After reading the front-page story Wednesday about high-end, expensive townhouses being built in Forest Hills and all the conversation about the lack of affordable houses in Durham and what developers are having to do in Durham concerning this issue, I noticed the story said that “Unlike other new developments, this project did not donate any money to the city’s affordable housing fund or the Durham Public Schools system.”

I guess what is good for the goose really isn’t good for the gander.

Mark. S. Corr

Durham

Tunnel vision

Even while they were building the just-completed roundabout at Old Chapel Hill Road and Pope Road, we saw the plans for light rail took the tracks right through it. Directly through it!

Why would we spend any money to alleviate traffic concerns at that intersection and then, in a total reversal, have it stopped every 10 minutes for the train to go through? Maybe we can have a tunnel too.

Joan Caccavelli

Durham

Second that suggestion

Is anyone else sick and tired of the “Silent Sam” controversy? It would be really nice just to get rid of the darn thing altogether, but that’s unlikely to happen. The next best suggestion I’ve heard is to put it at Bennett Place (letter by Vic Moore, Dec. 18).

At that same location, near it, there should be an equally well-sculpted and impressive statue of a Union soldier. Each should be accompanied by descriptions of their respective historical roles. Bennett Place is, after all, a memorial to the end of the bloody, disastrous Civil War, a war that never would been fought but for the evil of slavery.

War memorials of any kind have no place at our universities. Universities are places where young adults learn how to live fully rather than be encouraged to die young, and learn how to contribute to our society – and other societies – rather than be encouraged to destroy those seen as “different,” or somehow threatening.

Next to slavery and the near-extermination of the native population, the greatest wrong turn our country has taken has been to become economically dependent on arms and warfare. Let’s stop venerating symbols of war and put our energies into peacemaking.

Joan F. Walsh

Durham

Butterfield disappoints

I’ve always been impressed by the policies U.S. Rep G.K. Butterfield (D-1st District) has supported, but on the matter of net neutrality, I’m highly disappointed.

Net neutrality is crucial to a free and open internet. Without it, ISPs can and will throttle sites that fail to pay premiums, making it difficult for new entrants to gain a foothold. Worse, ISPs may create plans that make it impossible to access most of the internet. This has already been seen in Portugal, where basic internet plans only allow access to Facebook, Amazon, and a few other social media sites.

The promise of the internet has already been dealt a severe blow in recent years by the dominance of a few major players. Rep. Butterfield, do not help them cement this dominance.

Chris Dragga

Durham

Protect right to boycott

From boycotts of British goods during the struggle for U.S. independence to Gandhi’s boycotts against colonial institutions in India to the boycotts during the Civil Rights Movement, boycotts have been a powerful political tool for centuries.

Now Congress is about to criminalize Americans’ constitutional right to boycott. Bipartisan leaders are seeking to sneak HR 1697 and S 720.. into the Omnibus Spending Bill. These anti-boycott bills call for fines up to $1 million and possible jail time for American companies that participate in political boycotts of Israel, Illegal Israeli settlements and “any country friendly to the U.S.”

Hmm ... Would a travel agency that boycotts Saudi airlines be heavily fined for objecting to horrendous civilian deaths in Yemen or the murder of Jamal Khashoggi? Would a U.S. grocery chain be heavily fined for refusing to sell Sabra hummus supplied to the IDF’s Golani Brigade so brutal in Hebron and Gaza or Medjoul dates from Israeli agricultural settlements in Palestine’s Jordan valley where Palestinian labor is exploited (see Human Rights Watch).

Elected officials co -sponsoring these bills give federal officials a weapon to criminalize and suppress our constitutional right to free speech (boycott). Elected representatives have sworn to uphold the Constitution.. Bills that suppress free speech are unconstitutional. Representatives Butterfield and Price have upheld our constitutional rights of free speech. By co-sponsoring the anti boycott bills, Senators Burr and Tillis and Representative Holding suppress and trample our first amendment right of free speech.

Peggy Rafferty

Cedar Grove

Sanction China

Since 2017 hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang province of China have been unjustly arrested and imprisoned in what the Chinese government calls “political re-education camps.”

Thousands have reportedly disappeared. Many are tortured and killed for the sole reason of being an Uighur. The lucky ones are forced to learn Communist ideology under barrels of guns.

Religious and cultural freedoms of the largest minority in China are being suppressed and systematic ethnic cleansing is perpetrated by the government of Xi Jinping.

Ambassador Kelley Currie at the United Nations has already called on the Chinese government to end its repressive policies in Xinjiang. But it’s not enough. Washington must impose sanctions on senior Chinese officials for human rights abuses under the Global Magnitsky Act.

Michael Sean Devin Highland

Chapel Hill

Leverage

In order to get the state law on moving monuments rescinded or amended, all it would take is having a few scholarship athletes at UNC to decide to de-commit from the football or basketball program until the statue of Silent Sam is removed from campus. This would take about as much time as it takes to call a special legislative session to consider other important work that they do, such as suppression of voter rights.

Andrew Kligerman

Hillsborough

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