Letters to the Editor

5/7 Letters: Thoughts and prayers are exactly what we need right now.

Family and friends of Riley Howell sign “I love you” as his casket is loaded into the hearse Sunday.
At least 1,000 mourners attended a memorial service for Riley Howell who was killed trying to disarm Trystan Andrew Terrell as he fired a hand gun in a UNC Charlotte classroom. Howell, a cadet in UNC Charlotte’s ROTC program, was given full military honors at his funeral. He is seen as a hero who saved the lives of other students after he tackled Terrell on Tuesday. The service was held at Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska near Waynesville, N.C. on Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Family and friends of Riley Howell sign “I love you” as his casket is loaded into the hearse Sunday. At least 1,000 mourners attended a memorial service for Riley Howell who was killed trying to disarm Trystan Andrew Terrell as he fired a hand gun in a UNC Charlotte classroom. Howell, a cadet in UNC Charlotte’s ROTC program, was given full military honors at his funeral. He is seen as a hero who saved the lives of other students after he tackled Terrell on Tuesday. The service was held at Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska near Waynesville, N.C. on Sunday, May 5, 2019. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Thoughts and prayers

I checked my phone last week and saw that another school shooting had taken place. It seems that every day there’s another story about a far off shooting in a far off place. They’re senseless and tragic, but distanced from my reality.

As I opened Twitter, however, I realized that this shooting was different. The logos, the colors and the hashtags associated with this shooting were all too familiar. UNC Charlotte may be two hours away, but it’s deeply ingrained in the fabric of the Cary High community. This wasn’t just another school shooting, this was our state, friends and community. This was real. Two students were pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting. Were they two students that I knew?

My Twitter page was filled with condolences from activists, chancellors, governors and even presidential candidates. Among those tweets, however was a sentiment that stuck with me — “stop sending thoughts and prayers when they are not enough.”

This tweet, a sentiment I’ve seen and agreed with many times in the wake of other mass shooting tragedies, infuriated me.

I’m all for smart, comprehensive gun legislation. But Charlotte is a real community with real people. They don’t need legislation or politicization right now- they need sympathy and support. Giving thoughts, prayers and condolences in the wake of a tragedy doesn’t make you weak on gun control or apathetic; it makes you human. Tomorrow we will have change. But today is for grief, community and humanity. Today is for thoughts and prayers, and that’s OK.

Claire Perry

Cary

Health care availability

As a hardworking North Carolinian who falls in the Medicaid coverage gap, I was struck by the recent News & Observer opinion piece, “How to expand Medicaid without higher taxes,” by Chris Malone. Due to a crack in our health care system, many of our fellow citizens are without necessary care.

I consistently hear stories from the families at my church regarding their hardships in affording the proper health care for themselves and their children. I myself have dealt with the struggles that come with the high cost of health insurance.

If there is a solution to close the coverage gap without raising taxes, lawmakers should pursue it. House Bill 655, NC Health Care for Working Families, will ensure that the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians trapped in the coverage gap will receive accessible and affordable health care.

I encourage everyone to consider how this approach would help them, a relative, a friend or a fellow parishioner. And I urge lawmakers to enact HB 655. We can do better, and we must.

Rev. Gilbert Parker

Fuquay-Varina

New life lessons

It seems the Wake County school board comes up with a new life lesson each week for its students. Last week it was that it’s OK to walk off your job as long as it’s for an organized protest, and it’s OK to fudge on photos of the crowd. Before that, with the rules tightened for suspensions, students learned that it is not such a bad thing to disrespect teachers or engage in fights.

Now, cheating is OK, as long as you repent and do make up work. These board members are the same ones who say they are concerned about the “school-to-prison pipeline.” When you teach people there are no consequences for bad behavior in school what do you expect when they go out into real life?

Mike Cobb

Wake Forest

Time for a raise

After seeing some of the smart, witty, creative comments from the signage at the May 1 teachers’ rally, I’m ready to give the authors — our NC teachers — a raise. So, get on board NC lawmakers. You’ve seen how clever these folks are, they deserve a raise.

Deborah Brogden

Raleigh

Good luck, Canes!

I so enjoyed Jonas Pope’s feature on riding the ice resurfacing machine during the Hurricanes playoff run. Like Jonas, I grew up in the South with no knowledge of these machines or the game of ice hockey. When our son was born, we lived in Minnesota. I was determined to have him embrace winter sports, so he began skating lessons at three. He loved watching the “Zamboni machines” so much so that that became our secret word. He decided early on to become a Zamboni machine operator. When we moved to Boston, he decided to focus on math and science, but he and his buddies get on the ice from time to time. I wish the Hurricanes much luck, except if they end up facing the Boston Bruins. Then all bets are off!

MJ Pearle

Durham

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