Regarding “Lawmakers urge Gov. Cooper to consider deploying NationalGuard at NC prisons” (Feb. 20): There is a far better solution to our state prison labor shortage than to bring in the North Carolina National Guard. The state can dramatically reduce the number of people behind bars by simply releasing – with community-based support – anyone imprisoned for nonviolent crimes. This group includes thousands of mentally-ill inmates who need treatment, not incarceration. The same can be said for those convicted of drug use crimes.
Again, treatment programs would be the better choice. It is also time for lawmakers to take a more serious look at alternatives to incarceration, options that would be far more humane, reduce recidivism and save money and lives. When Ben Franklin first floated the idea of penitentiaries, he envisioned them as places where those who committed crimes could be rehabilitated – A “house of repentance” Franklin called his vision, “...an enlightened alternative ... to inhumane ‘public punishments’ like the gallows, the pillory, the stocks, the whipping post, and the wheelbarrow.”
Yes, there are some violent people who need to be segregated from general society. but they represent only a small segment of those we incarcerate. We can make our nation – and our prisons – safer by adopting a just policy toward those who commit crimes.
Ban assault weapons
Regarding “17 dead in school shooting in Florida; suspect, 19, arrested” (Feb. 15): I agree with the Second Amendment to the extent that it relates to common sense, but when it allows for the existence of assault weapons in the hands of the general public, I have a big problem with that.
I challenge any NRA member to give me one valid reason why any citizen should be allowed to own an assault weapon. When will common sense finally prevail at the NRA that these weapons should not be in the hands of the general public?
Maybe the NRA will open their ears and listen to the survivors of the latest Florida school massacre? We can only hope and pray that this will happen.
Regarding “NC Republican apologizes for ‘clumsy’ comment about ‘communist Democrats’” (Feb. 19): The really shameful thing about his incident is not that State Rep. Larry Pittman demonizes his political opponents, or cannot distinguish fake news from real news, or perversely suggests the suspected shooter in last week’s massacre in Florida acted as he did in order “to push for gun control.”
The real shame is that while frothing at the mouth about communists ‘conquering’ America by undermining the traditional family, the church or the market economy, Pittman says not a word about the Russian meddling in recent U.S. elections, for which our own Justice Department has just handed down 13 indictments.
When reading “Russians targeted Charlotte and NC, indictment says” (Feb. 17) about indictments of Russians for attempted interference in the 2016 U.S. elections, one should recall CIA operations for the purpose of destabilizing governments the U.S. doesn’t like.
Notable examples have been aiding and abetting the 1953 coup d’etat that replaced Muhammad Mossadegh with Shah Reza Pahlavi in Iran and the 1973 coup d’etat that ousted Salvador Allende and began General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal military dictatorship in Chile.
Regarding “17 dead in school shooting in Florida; suspect, 19, arrested” (Feb. 15): I teach students the responsibilities that come with having rights. In class we learn that your rights extend to the rights of others. You do have the right to listen to music as loud as you would like, but others also have the right to not hear music. So music can be turned up, but cannot disturb others.
Students understand this balance, but we, as a country, do not. Yes, there is the right to bear arms, but there is the right to safety and security, a basic human right. The right to own guns does not trump my right, or the right of my students to have safety and security. Until we can have a safe environment, where guns are regulated and not used to terrorize citizens, guns need to be banned.
The ways things are now isn’t working. More guns is not the answer.