Letters to the Editor

3/25 Letters: ‘Thoughts and prayers’ aren’t enough; we need action on guns

As a youth minister, I have spent my career ensuring a safe space for teenagers to engage with the divine. My work has been focused on creating this emotionally safe space within the walls of a church building. Never did I think that I would be faced with such a volatile atmosphere in our schools.

The resounding message from people across the nation is that “thoughts and prayers” are no longer cutting it, we need action. We’ve held a number of vigils at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and a collective grieving is a valuable and necessary part of living in community with others . We’ve prayed for families and victims. We’ve held one another and shed tears. But now we organize and demand action from our governor and state legislators.

If guns are going to continue to exist, we can at least make moves through legislation to make it more difficult for those guns to fall into the hands of the mentally ill, the enraged teen , or any other person who may have ill intentions.

As a young man growing up in rural eastern North Carolina, my access to guns was wide-open. Guns and ammunition were stored together, no trigger locks and no safes. At best, but not often, a flimsy lock on a glass door and a key within reach was all that stood between myself and a loaded gun. At a young age I was taught how to use a gun and the dangers of allowing a bullet to come anywhere close to a human. However, it did not stop me from holding a .357 revolver to my head in a fit of grief one afternoon at home by myself before my parents got home.

I’m not sure of what stopped me that day but, thankfully, I live to fight today for laws that require registering guns, insuring guns to their owners, safes, trigger locks, or any other means that may have kept a loaded revolver out of my hormone-driven hand or an assault rifle out of the hands of a would-be school shooter. It may not be the end result that I would love to see but taking these steps would be going in the right direction.

Bryan Lee

Minister to Youth and Their Families

Pullen Memorial Baptist Church


Regarding “Duke Energy: Utility CEO’s pay hit $21M last year” (Mar. 14): I am outraged at the increase in compensation for Duke Energy’s CEO. After all, Duke did ask for a 16.7 percent increase in rates as it’s forced to line its coal ash pits.

Would not this CEO’s extra pay be put to better use if applied to the cost of lining coal ash pits and lessening the burden for plain Joe and Jane?

Douglas B. Sherrow

Mint Hill

Don’t blame ‘tool’

Regarding “NC Democrats propose gun laws without GOP backers” (Mar. 20): Another atrocity. Another call for more gun control. Another chance to hold the tool responsible for the carnage inflicted by the user. Another chance to call for a feel-good, knee-jerk reaction.

Sorry, but that reaction simply won’t work. Even assuming that those bans are successful, individuals bent on terror will simply find other tools to use to accomplish their goals. Pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails, or even cars would make effective tools, and the casualty counts would be horrific.

So, if banning tools won’t work, what will? Truthfully, nothing will ever totally prevent them, but there are a couple of things we can do to minimize the atrocities. First, 90 percent of the perpetrators want validation, attention, notoriety. They want everyone to remember their names. Let’s stop giving those things to them. We need to demand the media stop creating and feeding the next attention junkie.

Second, we need to spend whatever it takes to identify, counsel, treat and dissuade those individuals who would commit these atrocities before they commit them, so that we don’t have to report them afterward. We need to be proactive in dealing with them, instead of reactive.

We can either continue the fallacy of making the tool responsible for the deeds, or we can hold the users responsible and marshal our efforts to preempt them. After all, do we blame the automobile for the carnage caused by drunk drivers? If so, where is the call to ban cars ?

Dale Johnson

Rocky Mount