The scooterists don’t wear helmets. Get over it.

Can someone please tell me why everyone contributing letters or op-eds on the topic of electric scooters is so all-fired concerned about scooter operators wearing helmets? Since when was that anyone’s business but the scooterists’? Is it because, if they all wore helmets, then you could commit vehicular assault and not worry about causing traumatic head injury?

Every year in the United States, around 35,000 people lose their lives in automobile accidents. So why are we not demanding motorists don racing helmets each time they get behind the wheel?

Quit it with the helmet red herring, folks, and be honest: you simply don’t want anyone on the road who’s not exactly like you.

Andrew Sleeth


To the Paper Girl

Bad news, hate crimes, shabby human behavior. Page after page in my morning newspaper. By the time I got to the Opinion section this morning (Nov. 17), I’d grown disheartened by all the reminders of how far we’ve strayed from those “better angels” people love to reference these days. Then I read your entry (“Thank you for your loyalty”).

I’d hurriedly skipped the first couple sentences (where you revealed that you deliver the News & Observer to folks like me). But I slowed down as I read through the description of what this work brings to your life, what registers with you along the way —indicators of family gatherings, seasonal changes and traditions, customer idiosyncrasies, how you notice and hold in regard people whose lives you interface with, unobserved, every day.

I started to guess what was coming, realized what you did and something of your perspective on life, the bent of your heart. Ended up wiping away a couple tears. It was simply gorgeous. Like walking into a Norman Rockwell scene. (Maybe you should be writing for newspapers, not just delivering them!)

I will not open my front door to grab the morning paper now without recalling your words and smiling. Thanks for showing up at my breakfast table today. And, well, thanks for just being here.

Deb Sebring


Slay the gerrymander

The hotly contested election is over and more North Carolinians voted for Democratic candidates than Republicans. However, the will of the voters was negated by the reality of the gerrymander. With less than 50 percent of the vote, Republican candidates won 58 percent of the state Senate and 55 percent of the state House seats.

It has been pointed out that North Carolina is a republic and not a democracy, but for 200 years the trend has been the expansion of democracy, not its diminution. It has also been pointed out that in the past Democrats used the power to draw districts to their advantage. That is true, but two wrongs to not make a right and technology has made what had been an inexact art, into a science.

NC’s gerrymandering is so blatant, that If we don’t fix it, the federal courts might. It is well past time for North Carolina to join a growing number of states that have established non-partisan election redistricting commissions. The party that pushes this issue and slays the gerrymander will be rewarded by a grateful electorate in 2020.

Ken Jones

Chapel Hill

Thanks, Sheriff Harrison

The citizens of Wake County owe a debt of gratitude, with many heartfelt thanks to Sheriff Donnie Harrison. For the past 16 years he and his dedicated staff of professional officers have kept Wake County safe.

His loyalty, leadership and fairness has paved the way for making our county sheriff’s department the outstanding law enforcement agency that it is today. I trust that each resident of this county will always remember who deserves the credit for being the example of law enforcement leadership in Wake County.

It is a sad day when the politics of the our time cost the citizens of Wake County their exemplary law enforcement leader, who has served us with dedication, hard work and integrity. Thanks and farewell Sheriff Harrison.

Ira C. Fuller


Smokey, not Trump

President Trump’s said that deadly wildfires in California are the fault of mismanagement on the part of state officials. The president also suggested that the fires could have been prevented by utilizing forestry management that the country of Finland practices.

Those comments are misinformed. The first comment disregards the fact that much of the fires that raged were on federally managed land and not under the auspices of the state of California. The U.S. Forestry Department has experienced dramatic budget cuts under the current administration, which was not mentioned. The second comment disregards the fact that the terrain, plant species, population patterns, and weather conditions aren’t the same in Finland as they are in California.

Blaming the City of Houston for unprecedented flooding during Hurricane Harvey when total rainfall amounts exceeded 50 inches would have been just as misguided. I am not surprised that criticism, instead of empathy, was a priority on the part of the President.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump boasted that he knew more about ISIS than the generals. In this situation, I’m placing my confidence in Smokey the Bear, not Trump.

Greg Bruhn


Medal of Freedom

Now I know how much it costs to buy the United States of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom. Miriam Adelson bought one for $130 million. Where do I sign up?

Brian Letourneau


N&O panel to preview ACC basketball season

As the 2018-19 ACC men’s basketball season gets underway, a News & Observer panel on Wednesday will assess the prospects for North Carolina’s four ACC schools and offer predictions on which teams are likely to finish where.

The panelists are Luke DeCock, N&O sports columnist; Bridget Condon, ABC11 sports reporter; Chucky Brown, former N.C. State and NBA player; and David Shumate, play-by-play announcer for the Duke Blue Devils. Ned Barnett, N&O associate editor, will moderate.

This Community Voices forum — “ACC men’s basketball, this season and beyond” — will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the N.C. Museum of History. The event is free and open to the public.