Last year, there were 233 people shot in Durham as of Dec. 12 (“When violence ‘hits home,” Dec. 27).
I don’t know about my fellow citizens of Durham, but I want to feel safe here. I love this city with all my heart, but sadly the fact is that we need to take initiative if Congress won’t. Everyone has a voice, everyone can contact their congressmen.
If you feel passionate about bringing peace to a city that has a reputation of violence like I do, you will email your representatives and tell them your opinion. The only way to make the change you want, is to contact the people who represent you. They are there to be the voice of the people, so give them something to say.
A community problem
Regarding managing editor Mark Schultz’s column “Until we talk about race, we’re all dead in the water” (Jan. 18)
I confess that when I saw let’s “talk about race” my reaction was: but we talk about little else!
The column contained a nice fish metaphor, but surely the real issues are pretty straightforward.
Evidently black schoolkids are suspended more than white. Is it because they are black, or because they misbehave more than other kids? If the former, such discrimination should be corrected. But if, as I suspect, the latter is true, then the next question is: why do they misbehave more than others? The answer to this question probably lies more in their upbringing, more in their environment outside the school than in their treatment at school. In other words, it is not really the school’s problem, but a problem for the community, black as well as white.
Until we can answer those questions, more conversation is pointless.
There is another question, of course: namely how best to discipline misbehaving kids. I suspect that suspension, which takes needy kids out of school, is just about the worst choice. Some discussion of this issue would be nice.
The writer is the James B. Duke Professor Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Professor, Department of Biology, Emeritus at Duke University
Remember Deepwater Horizon
The announcement that the Atlantic Coast would be open to energy extraction and that the Department of the Interior planned to roll back safety regulations for offshore drilling provoked opposition from many quarters. State and local officials from both parties objected and asked for an exemption. Their concerns were backed by businesses representing the many jobs that depend on clean, safe beaches and coastal waters.
Opponents have not been satisfied by claims that drilling can be done safely. They remember the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010 that killed 11 oil rig workers and released 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. This calamity was a reminder of the many dangers inherent in the drilling process and all the things that can go wrong. A report by British Petroleum listed several causes of the accident including: inferior quality cement that didn’t make a seal, valves that failed twice,an alarm that didn’t go off, and a blowout preventer, designed to seal off wells in an emergency, that didn’t close.
Now the Department of the Interior plans to weaken rules governing the operation of blowout preventers and end the requirement that inspectors affirm that the amount of pressure generated in a new well is safe, among other changes.
Benjamin Franklin declared, “Experience keeps a dear school, yet fools will learn in no other.” What would he call those who won’t lean from experience?
Lynn Mitchell Kohn
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