Letters to the Editor

Letters: Gassing reporters threatens community safety

A Confederate demonstration, a dance party, and pepper spray on McCorkle Place

Pro-Silent Sam demonstrators were escorted by UNC police on Thursday to a barricaded area near the base of where Silent Sam stood for a vigil. Protesters held a dance party and the two groups taunted each other. Police used pepper spray throughout.
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Pro-Silent Sam demonstrators were escorted by UNC police on Thursday to a barricaded area near the base of where Silent Sam stood for a vigil. Protesters held a dance party and the two groups taunted each other. Police used pepper spray throughout.

The day after Greensboro police pepper sprayed me and other non-violent antiracist protestors at UNC, I awoke in coughing fits to the agony of chemical burns and dull aches from being shoved around by men twice my size in body armor with military-grade weaponry.

Then my day got worse.

I hadn’t realized the extent of the damage Greensboro police had done to our community. Soon I learned that just a few steps behind me reporters had been hit by the spray as well.

I’ll take pepper spray every day of the week if it keeps the hate groups that have levied death threats against workers and students at our community off campus, but in no small part our community is kept safe not by the police officers that supposedly protect us but rather by cameras upon the police and the hate groups that ensure the whole world is watching what they do.

On paper, the police were protecting the First Amendment right to free speech of the various hate groups on display. But the First Amendment also protects freedom of the press, and it’s hard to reconcile that with gassing reporters. While I have my differences with the way the local press has handled far-right extremists these past days, I know they are a critical part of keeping our community safe and I hope that we see this acknowledged in consequences for the officers involved and continued involvement of reporters in our community.

Calvin Deutschbein

Chapel Hill

Revisionism

Historians at Duke University have asked the Board of Trustees to rename the Carr Building. Are they unaware that the very ground on which the building stands was donated by Julian S. Carr?

Are they unaware that Duke’s “seed college” in Randolph County was on the brink of bankruptcy after the Civil War, and it was only the support of Mr. Carr which enabled the school to remain solvent? Otherwise there would have been no Trinity College to relocate in Durham.

Are the historians aware that Washington Duke moved the school here with the help of his good friend, Julian Carr? Having led the effort to make it happen, where is the gratitude for Carr’s donation of land on which the East Campus was built, plus his endowment of money which helped the institution to succeed?

How would the historians feel about some impertinent revisionist recommending that the name of Duke University be changed? After all, its major funding came from the Duke family’s sale of tobacco products, use of which has killed or contributed to the deaths of millions of people. Where does this revisionist madness end?

Philip Scott

Durham

Political indecency

Senate Majority Leader McConnell blocked President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill Supreme Court Judge Scalia’s seat who died Feb. 12, 2016. His reason: Obama, with 10 months left to serve, was a lame-duck president.

To me, 90 years of age, it was one of the worst acts of political indecency I’ve ever known. But now I want McConnell to also label Trump a lame-duck president and block his nomination of highly controversial Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill the seat created by Justice Kennedy’s July 31 retirement.

Yes, Trump’s presidency has about 24 remaining months compared to Obama’s 10 months. But, there is a more applicable comparison to make. Trump is a subject of the Mueller investigation which has already resulted in many indictments and guilty pleas for federal crimes. Obama wasn’t the subject of such an investigation.

Also, Trump’s desire to shut down Mueller’s investigation — and his refusal to appear before Mueller for an interview because his attorneys know he will incriminate himself – indicate he and his attorneys know he will soon face indictment(s) and/or impeachment.

Also, the mid-term elections are only two months away with the polls showing Democrats having a good chance of gaining control of the House and Senate. That will prevent Trump from interfering with the Mueller investigation — and, if Mueller’s eventual report justifies, Trump will surely be impeached.

Forget political indecency for now; political necessity and consistency requires that lame-duck Trump’s Kavanough nomination be blocked.

Richard (Dick) Huopana

Durham

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