Letters to the Editor

10/20 Your letters: Joe Moran, Elliot M. Cramer, L.L. Nelson, Wanda Boone, Sindy Barker

Courts must step up

The courts must assume the life-saving role of ruling on the legal scope of existing gun laws and of indicating where there is a lack of adequate laws when it comes to the constitutional obligation to ensure “domestic tranquility” and to provide for “the common defense.” Pray they act with Solomon-like wisdom.

Decisions should be based on the primacy of citizens’ “right to life” versus the states’ right to bear arms, which is a secondary right or civil “liberty.” The “right to life” becomes even more sacred when weighed against an individual’s right to own a cache of assault weapons and ammunition, which in most cases is the exercise of a tertiary right, that of “property,” or the “pursuit of happiness.”

This philosophical hierarchy of rights is explicit in our Declaration of Independence. Judges at every level need to rule robustly on this, even if it requires reversing or modifying some past rulings. And they need to do so quickly and expeditiously.

The sad truth is that legislative bodies, divided as never before along partisan lines and hopelessly dependent on campaign backing from involved financial interests, have been unable to craft common-sense laws to stem the rising tide of public massacres.

Joe Moran

Durham

NCAA statement shocks

Like many others I was shocked by the NCAA statement on the UNC athletic scandal. I fully expected sanctioning of both the football and women’s basketball programs. During Jan Boxill's tenure as adviser to the women’s basketball team 114 players were enrolled in paper classes.

She told the NCAA panel that “that she used hands-on teaching methods with all of her students, providing them with references, outlines.” She certainly went far beyond this with her basketball players. One of her letters says she edited the grammar, advised about formatting, and said to “add the reference info.” Evidently this was standard practice with basketball players.

Boxill came to UNC in 1988 to work in the Student Athlete Development Center when her husband was recruited for a professorship in the Philosophy department. She was academic adviser to the women’s basketball team until she was forced to resign. She claims that she has behaved ethically. A charitable interpretation would be that her closeness to her athletes clouded her judgment.

Elliot M. Cramer

Chapel Hill

Sweet spot

Nicholas Pyle's letter (Oct. 14) revealing what seems to be a remote government program that controls sugar costs, he makes it real by what those costs are to families and businesses every year. Rep. Butterfield seems to have a sweet spot for the sugar program.

Here is a simple suggestion, have all politicians dress like NASCAR drivers so we know who their corporate sponsors are.

L.L. Nelson

Durham

Assessing suicide risk

According to the 2015 Durham County Youth Risk Behavior Survey approximately 18 percent of Durham County middle school and 14 percent of high school students reported making a plan to attempt suicide. One reason might be Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

ACEs describe a household environment with recurrent physical abuse, recurrent emotional abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect, an alcohol or drug abuser, an incarcerated household member someone who is chronically depressed, suicidal, institutionalized or mentally ill, mother being treated violently or divorced, one or no parents. Suicide attempt is one of the many adverse outcomes of an ACE score 4-plus.

The dimpled smile and sparkling eyes hid the suicide attempt at age 14. How could she have described the numbness caused by an ACE score of 9? She felt nothing – blank as she held the razor blade to her wrist. She was “invisible” anyway.

ACEs may leave a child feeling that they don’t “belong,” have a “place in life” itself or that someone, anyone, cares.

But resilience zeroes out ACES!

Personal Resilience: Identify one person in your life that you can turn to in the time of need. Develop social connections. Take care of yourself. Communicate your feelings. Make healthy choices. Celebrate being you.

Caregivers: Know what your teen is doing. Know who your teen is with (double check). Know the parents of your teen’s friends (show up). Help your teen plan safe social events. Lock up guns, alcohol and prescription drugs.

I am thankful for my little brother. He walked in just in time.

Learn more from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at ReCity 112 Broadway St. in Durham. Get information to share. All are welcome: 14-plus, parents, grandparents, caregivers, school staff, faith and community members.

RSVP: wanda.durhamtry.org

Wanda Boone

Together for Resilient Youth (TRY)

Disability payments

I read about the plight of Carla Shuford and 60 other recipients of state disability payments. I understand why they need to pay it back because it is an obligation on the books.

What I don’t understand is why they essentially have not gotten a cost-of-living increase in 10 years. It appears that when they are notified of a cost-of-living increase in their federal disability payment, the state reduces their payment by the same amount. It seems to me that both state and federal disability payments should be providing cost-of-living increases, not keeping these people at a flat rate.

Possibly a change in this practice should be addressed in the next long session of the General Assembly.

Sindy Barker

Chapel Hill

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