Letters to the Editor

06/10 What You’re Saying: Larry Bumgardner, Jane S. Gabin, Michael Pace, Thomas Navarre, and Alan Culton

Being racist

It is time for us to admit that we are a racist nation. The election of Donald Trump shows proof that cannot be ignored.

Our Constitution says we offer equal treatment but we only imprison the poor and do not provide them meaningful legal support. For example, drug use exists in all areas of our society but you seldom see the well-to-do prosecuted. Marijuana once offered a 20-year sentence but now is being sold by government agencies to raise tax money. How can this be possible?

The most dangerous use of drugs is with opioids. They can be deadly, but you seldom see people being put in jail for using them since it happens mostly in white rural communities. How could this possibly be fair?

We promise a speedy trial but hold people who cannot afford bail for up to two years to try to get them to plead to a lesser offence to get out of jail. We have 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. We must love wasting tax money.

Note: You don’t have to think you are a racist to be a racist.

Larry Bumgardner

Durham

Not every school is Harvard

In her letter (“Remaining Solvent,” June 6) written in response to my op-ed on employment abuse in higher education, Rebecca Ovall states that many private colleges, without large endowments, are forced to increase the number of their adjuncts in order to stay in business. That, of course, is true. But I never said that employment abuse was committed ONLY by private colleges, or that ALL private colleges do this.

I looked at a sampling of only 200 schools – and there are over 3,000 in the US. It costs a lot to run a college or university. Harvard is private, and their huge endowment means they will have no difficulty staying solvent. But we all know that not every school is Harvard. Small schools that struggle to stay in business are at the opposite end of the spectrum. These schools, to which Ms. Ovall alludes, are not the problem. The problem is with the many larger schools – private and public – that have been hiring legions of contingent faculty for decades while simultaneously paying their administrators huge salaries.

If higher education as a whole is to survive with integrity, it will have to be revamped totally.

Jane S. Gabin

Chapel Hill

City Council listened

I am writing because I would like to applaud the Durham City Council for their action to move forward with the Old West Durham neighborhood protection overlay.

Protecting communities and neighborhoods is the right move to protect and uplift the residents of Durham. Low affordable-housing, density, ease of access to business and transit is what many people are looking for these days. I believe that the council’s decision makes economic sense for us residents of Durham.

By moving forward, the City Council is protecting affordable housing that keeps a political promise.

A lot has changed in Durham. The sweet smell of tobacco has been replaced by the sweet smell of baked goods and the “CCB” building no longer dominates the skyline. Some of that change happened too fast for me. I applaud the council’s vote showing that some change may happen too fast and that some things are worth protecting, such as homes, history, renters, the character of neighborhoods and our town.

I am happy the City Council listened when its citizens spoke of needing protection from change. Change is constant and can include reasonable and sensible protection.

Michael Pace

Durham

Innocent until proiven guilty

The Durham County Fraternal Order of Police is currently supporting Trooper Michael Blake in light of recent criminal allegations that have been brought against him. All citizens, including law enforcement officers, are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

In light of the multiple videos being released from the incident, various community and activist groups are pushing their narrative as fact in an attempt to influence public opinion prior to trial. The videos are only one part of the evidence in this case. While every person and group has the right to voice their opinions, most people do not have all of the facts of the incident when they formulate their opinions. We ask only that citizens and community groups wait until all facts of this case are known prior to condemning Trooper Blake’s actions.

The Supreme Court in Graham v. Connor stated that “the reasonableness" of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” The Court further stated that “The calculus of reasonableness must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving - about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

As Trooper Blake goes through the judicial process, the Durham County Fraternal Order of Police will be by his side to make sure that he receives a fair and impartial trial and that he receives all of the due process rights that any citizen would receive in the same circumstance. We are confident that when all of the evidence is presented and the facts of the case are revealed, including the totality of the circumstances, that the court will find that Trooper Blake did not violate the law or his oath of office.

Thomas Navarre

President

Hating the Russians

If Rip Van Winkle fell asleep in 1978 and woke up in 2018 he would notice that its OK now for liberals to hate the Russians. Or maybe just distrust them. This is an improvement. It took them 50 years, but who's counting? Joe McCarthy sends his warm regards to the left and says "told you so.”

But I wouldn't want anybody to get ahead of me in this crazy new fashion of hating the Russians. If you are a liberal who just joined the team, hold that thought for the next 500 years because 500 years from now the Russians will still be brutish thugs with pinched faces swollen with vodka looking like the soulless imbeciles they have always been and will forever be.

There, had to get out in front of the new fashion.

Alan Culton

Chapel Hill

Ludicrous accusations

Roseanne Barr’s recent tweet about Valerie Jarrett angered many people, and rightly so. But let’s not ignore Barr’s equally objectionable tweet about George Soros. Barr wrote that Soros, a Holocaust survivor, was a Nazi and had helped to murder his fellow Hungarian Jews. (Barr’s demented comment was then retweeted, unbelievably, by the son of the president of the United States.)

Americans need to denounce ludicrous accusations like Barr’s and to combat the dangerous legends and conspiracy theories that fuel them. False claims that spread and multiply unchecked are putting our country at risk. George Soros is not a Nazi, nor was Barack Obama born in Africa, nor did 3 million people vote illegally in the 2016 presidential election. It is our duty to speak out against such preposterous and malevolent assertions.

We are privileged to live in a country that gives us the right to speak the truth. We also have the responsibility to do so.

Beth Jackson Berman

Durham

Speak up

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