Chapel Hill: Opinion

The Conversation, Dec. 31: Arthur and Debbie Finn, Geoff Gilson, Reginald Hildreband and Ariana Mangum

Eloquent and upsetting

Stephanie Perry’s guest column is eloquent and upsetting at the same time (“Poor and black in a rich, white town,” CHN,

It is a call to action, although what action we do not know. Somehow we thought that the Chapel Hill police and the Carrboro police do not engage in such unjust and brutal behavior. There are more Fergusons in this country than we thought.

Ms. Perry points out that racism is “woven into the institutional fabric of our country.” When and how will we recognize this truth and change it?

Arthur and Deborah Finn

Chapel Hill

Police board needed

I read with concern the column by Stephanie Perry detailing her frustrations with racial inequality in the policing of Carrboro.

Whatever may be the merits of her frustrations and their expression, it cannot be right that a member of our community feels uncomfortable with the manner in which our community is policed.

This is why, quite separately, I have been advocating for Carrboro to consider adopting the concept of its citizens directly designing the nature of the policing approach in Carrboro.

As a first step, I am meeting with several Carrboro aldermen early in the New Year to discuss the possibility of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, who are the funding agency for the Carrboro Police Department, establishing a Citizen’s Policing Task Force, composed of citizens, elected officials and police, with a remit thoroughly to review all aspects of policing in Carrboro, and to make recommendations.

Geoff Gilson


Not so funny

This year, the American people will be able to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace by laughing hilariously at a motion picture depiction of a tank shell slamming into the face of the current leader of North Korea.

As a I understand it, the major laughs come when the audience gets to watch the leader’s head explode on screen. This is not witty, insightful political satire. It is stupid, sophomoric, violence that has wrapped itself up in the First Amendment and now claims to be defending our rights.

Can the assassination of ANYBODY be funny? Has our culture become that coarse? How would we respond to the worldwide release of a zany comedy about the Kennedy assassination, with a cartoon-like enhancement of the key moments of the Zapruder film? Far worse, suppose such a film was made about the current president of the United States?

I wish that the government’s response had been to decisively defend the right of free expression, but also lament Sony’s decision to make a joke out of the assassination of a living leader, however odious and peculiar he may be.

Reginald F. Hildebrand

Chapel Hill

Without Bill

I stood in front of a Christmas tree with red balls on it and winking lights. I remembered the dance at the Jefferson hotel when I first met Bill. It was at a Christmas dance. I stood remembering our almost61 years of marriage before he left us last Dec. 30. This is the first Christmas without him. The ornaments are still in the attic, the tree is unbought and there is a sadness invading our home.

A friend of mine recently lost his wife, but he is braver than I and has put greenery on his front steps and his door. Only a lone wreath hangs on my door with no red ribbon on it.

My friend who takes me to church as come to pick me up. He's singing in the choir and has gone back to work. Yet I hesitate. I find the Christmas decorations look old and tired and the spirit of Christmas is missing. The turkey must be ordered and the gifts bought. Yet I hesitate. It’s not the same. Bill’s gone. His quick wit, his last-minute shopping habits, his getting the children to wrap his gifts won't happen this year. I miss him. He's not here to join us. Christmas is all topsy turvy.

I stand and look out into the woods, a squirrel runs down the pine tree looking for nuts. The birds are gone and don’t sing. Yet away to the east is the moon as it rises over the trees. It's come back and do I hear the sound of camel hooves. Are the Kings coming to bring the gifts again this year?

Ariana Mangum

Chapel Hill