Durham News: Opinion

What you’re saying: Dana Mangum, Rodrigo Dorfman, Michael Pollock and Mike Woodard

Our culture of violence

I appreciate the attention that Judge Marcia Morey brings to domestic violence in her opinion piece “The epidemic in Courtroom 5A” (TDN, Sept. 7). As she correctly asserts, “it will take more than court orders to stop this violence.” Members of our criminal justice system, advocates, researchers and other professionals in the state work endlessly to expand intervention and prevention efforts in their communities. These efforts strengthen the message that domestic violence, most prevalent as violence against women, is unacceptable.

Hand in hand with these efforts, we must continually work at an impetus of violence: our culture. A child can’t fully address the bully on the playground with only playground rules and punishment – there must be a commitment at the school and societal level that bullying is not tolerated. There must action when we pledge to treat one another with respect and equity.

Just like on the playground, this means that to get at the heart of domestic violence, we need to address our culture of violence, and continue to shift it toward one of equity and respect for one another. We think, how is this possible with daily reports of shootings, oppression, hate and war? To change anything culturally is complicated, seemingly impossible with its tangles, motivations, its effects and impacts.

We start with holding ourselves to a standard of treating all people with equity and respect, which takes self-awareness, work and willingness. Then we educate and bring accountability to the attention of friends, family, neighbors and the larger community. We can engage with larger peaceful movements and educational programs that target the youth population to bring this sensibility to the masses. We identify the systems and institutions that play a role in the various manifestations of inequity, such as with criminal justice, health care, education and business, and call for the leadership and decision making to create a change. A culture of equity and respect addresses poverty, homelessness, racism, homophobia, sexism, and reduces power and control, thus limiting the perpetuation of violence. These efforts begin to shift the needle – and you will have made a difference toward ending domestic violence.

Dana Mangum

Executive director

North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Deportation no ‘mistake’

Regarding the news story “ICE: Deported Durham teen was allowed to stay in U.S. 2 years” (DN, Oct. 12)

Mistake? When you are an administration that deports more immigrants than any other in the recent past, there are no “mistakes.” There is a continous inhumane shameful policy that destroys working families. The mistake is Obama’s relentless war on immigrant, working-class families. No excuses. No sugar coating it.

Rodrigo Dorfman


via Facebook

Some thoughts on the election

N.C. Sen. Mike Woodard seemed progressive, so I voted for him in the past, and his office seems to help constituents, but in this election I am concerned about his apparently strong support for the 2015 “ag-gag” law HB 405, which punishes whistleblowers who expose animal abuse, etc.

He also voted to override McCrory’s veto. I was wary of HB 405 when reporting the unnecessary killing of wildlife at Falls Lake, but it wasn’t in effect at the time.

The Executive Branch is powerful, but people seem to forget that Congress, the judiciary, and states can resist presidential policies, and Trump faces bipartisan opposition. Trump is unprincipled, but on some issues his proposals are left of Clinton’s. “Lesser evil” Clinton seems to plan an open attack on Syria, repeating the wars in Libya and Iraq, and is likely to start other unnecessary and predatory wars. The establishment acts like it wants a conflict with Russia and/or China, and thinks war is no big deal. I have yet to hear major media mention Clinton’s role in the 2009 coup against Honduran President Zelaya and how continuing repression, such as the assassination of environmentalist Berta Cáceres, and crime has sent refugees north.

Michael Pollock


Sen. Mike Woodard responds: Any characterization of House Bill 405 as an “ag gag” bill is incorrect.

First, the bill’s scope is much broader than just agricultural uses. It protects retail businesses from theft, as well as computer and pharmaceutical firms from data breeches and corporate espionage.

Second, it does not stymie whistleblowers. An employee who encounters something bad or illegal and reports it is clearly protected. Additionally, an outsider posing as a customer or visitor may still use a hidden camera or recording device to record such activity. The bill references anti-retaliation statues and has none of the criminal penalties present in true “ag gag” bills.

It is consistent with the federal court decision that held that journalists who lie on employment applications to investigate on private property aren’t protected by the First Amendment.

Crafting a statute that protects legitimate property rights while protecting First Amendment guarantees and the flow of information in a free society is a complex and difficult proposition. After a number of previous attempts, the General Assembly worked in a bipartisan manner to pass H405 last year and found the best balance of any such bill in the country. It protects the diverse interests, businesses, and residents of Senate District 22.