Letters to the Editor

07/31 What You’re Saying: Dorothy Potter Snyder and Brenda James

Gun rights rhetoric

I read "Gun-rights supporters rally in Orange County" (July 21) with dismay.

I watched the entire rally on WRAL's Facebook simulcast. I was sorry to see that none of the speakers had the integrity to admit that 38,658 of their fellow Americans died in gun-related incidents in 2016, numbers that are steadily rising at a rate of about 3 percent a year. No one acknowledged the victims of Parkland, Columbine, Santa Fe, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas or of the many other massacres too numerous to list here. No one proposed any solutions to this epidemic of violent, sudden death.

Instead, they did their utmost to whip up anger and fear among their constituency with the false narrative that the Second Amendment is in danger of repeal (it isn't). They insulted their neighbors by featuring a keynote from Mark Robinson, the birther who famously claims Michelle Obama is a man, that being gay is the first step to pedophilia and who characterizes the survivors of the Parkland massacre as "media prosti-tots.”

Finally, they later dismissed counter-protestors' chalked messages on the town sidewalks as "vandalism," failing to recognize First Amendment protected speech when they see it, and made vague accusations that "outsiders" are bad for Orange County.

This segment of our community seems to thrive on conflict and dark fantasies; if they have no enemies handy, they invent them. The organizers invited the community to this rally with the promise of offering a day of civil debate and fun, but behind the scenes on their Facebook sites, visitors will find rude language and intolerance toward anyone who dares question their beliefs.

If gun-rights advocates wish to be taken seriously by the community, they will have to stop associating themselves with haters, express concern for the victims of gun violence, and strive for greater intellectual honesty. Otherwise, their message can only be seen, to choose a convenient metaphor, as an empty holster.

Dorothy Potter Snyder


Our most valuable assets

When we think about what we value most in our lives, some say houses, careers, cars and, of course, money. Some think we should care about the lord, family and friends, but to me one of our most valuable assets is our children, and we are losing so many of them to crime and murder as well as other family members and close friends.

Durham is fortunate to have several outstanding organizations that help support families and friends who have lost someone due to murder. The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham and Parents of Murdered Children reach out gently to let the families know they are there to help if they need it.

As a citizen born and raised in Durham, I am amazed by the progress being created here. We have advanced in medicine, technology, education and so much more. But a portion of our citizens are not being serviced or helped, and those are the people living at and below the poverty line. Economic disadvantage affects every part of their lives. There is a large percentage of homelessness, addiction, violence, and murder, and so many of our children are being abused.

In the 1950s and ’60s when I was a child we had what could’ve been called a village. I was raised in the Hayti community; everyone knew my parents, and we were taught to respect all adults. It was expected, in fact, we could be chastised by other adults in the community. I believe we owe children the basics like shelter, clothes and food but that we also help mold them into heathy, confident, intelligent and stable people who see there are more important things in life than having money, nice shoes and fancy clothes, that there are more important things than being out in the streets doing drugs, killing people and being in and out of jail. That’s no way to live. We have to mold these young children into good secure people who contribute to the society from which they came.

Brenda James


Speak up

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