Letters to the Editor

2/19 Letters: Silent Sam must be moved, or it will be destroyed

Regarding “Officials discuss protecting Silent Sam after video of attack surfaces” (Feb. 10): Release of a video depicting Silent Sam being assaulted with a hammer – in broad daylight, no less – underscores the urgency of the argument that something must be done. UNC officials say their hands are tied. Responding to Gov. Cooper’s argument that the statue could be removed under a provision of the monument-protection law allowing removal in the interest of public safety, they claim that provision does not apply.

But there’s another provision of the statute that may well apply, as Mayor Pam Hemminger suggested in a letter to the Chancellor of Aug 17: a monument may be removed “when appropriate measures are required by the State or a political subdivision of the State to preserve the object.”

No matter how one feels about Silent Sam’s presence on McCorkle Place, the sentiment is widely shared that the statue should not be destroyed. Recalling the events of last August, it’s not hard to imagine that some future act of intended destruction could result in harm to real people. There’s one way to know whether the the “preservation” provision of the law applies: test it. If the university were to remove Silent Sam to a place of safety, the courts if necessary could settle the question.

Sally Greene

Chapel Hill

No political gain?

Regarding “A Trump military parade would be worth the cost, Duke professor says” (Feb. 9): On Donald Trump’s desire for staging a multi-million dollar military parade, retired Maj. Gen. Charles Dunlap Jr. opines that Trump “needs to restrain himself and not try to exploit this event for his own political gain.”

In what remote cave has Dunlap been living the past several years? Why else would Trump waste such an exorbitant sum of taxpayer money if not to play directly to his base and continue to attempt to shift the focus from his usual buffoonery? Dunlap appears to be in need of a reality check.

Jon Gibson


Prevent shootings

In the news yesterday, the number 17 came up twice: “17 dead in school shooting in Florida; suspect, 19, arrested” (Feb. 15) and “1 7 flu deaths in NC last week” (Feb. 16). But that is where the similarities end, because the way we face these two epidemics differs greatly.

The campaign against the flu epidemic is an annual nationwide effort to save lives through prevention, detection, and treatment. But efforts to address the epidemic of school shootings are primarily reactive; more lock-down drills, arming resource officers, allowing concealed carry permits in schools are aimed at minimizing deaths after a shooter is in the school.

We must prevent these killings before they occur, to save lives, not just prevent deaths. To do so needs work through every avenue available, including enforcement of existing laws to keep weapons away from children, mental health treatment, research and, yes, limits on gun availability.

In January a student brought a sawed-off shotgun to my child’s school. That a tragedy like that in Parkland, FL could happen here is not hypothetical. We need to do something before another child dies.

Anna Wetterberg


Solutions now

Overheated claims on temperature records” (Feb. 10) reminded me that we are all trying to come to terms with climate change – it affects everyone, it’s increasing ... and it’s not going away. An overwhelming majority of climate scientists say it’s real and it’s human-caused. Even Scott Pruitt, in a Feb. 6 interview with KSNV-TV in Las Vegas, acknowledged that human activity contributes to global warming: “No one disputes the climate changes,” Pruitt said. “We obviously contribute to it ... our activity contributes to it.”

What many also need to hear is that there are solutions. We could put a rising fee on carbon-based fuels at their source (easy to do), then distribute that fee back to citizens as a dividend (we’ve done this before) to help all income levels navigate the energy market changes. And we could create an incentive for China and India to reduce emissions by charging them the equivalent carbon fee on their imports, until they implement something similar in their own country. Simple, transparent, predictable, market-based and cheap to implement.

Congressman Mark Walker, Senator Thom Tillis and Senator Richard Burr: Why are we waiting?

Jean Ritok

Member, Citizens Climate Lobby