Letters to the Editor

Silent Sam is part of history ‘and cannot be erased’

In the letter to the editor “Stop Silent Sam” (May 6), the writer raised concerns and questions that could be addressed by any former student or anyone who has spent time on the campus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sam did not seem a figure of any significant controversy when I was in school there in the mid-60s. He was known more for why he has never fired his rifle.

The “pain and ugliness” being felt by those who have chosen to try to alter rather than deal with history has recently played out on many college campuses and in other Southern towns and cities where monuments like Sam were erected.

Perhaps the writer and her colleagues would better serve their cause if they established a fund to improve the monument to the black laborers who helped build some of the original campus buildings, rather than tear down other monuments that have historical significance.

Not being a historian, I look at this whole issue about changing the existing structures commemorating Civil War figures and leaders as more of a political movement than an historical one. If, in fact, Sam causes this much “pain and ugliness” to those who choose to continue to protest and defile him, maybe they should consider that to others Sam symbolizes is part of real history and cannot be erased.

Robert A. Haywood


Teacher stories

My biggest takeaway from Wednesday’s teacher march? The stories it evoked of unmet classroom needs and the selflessness of teachers who go many extra miles to fill them: The band teacher who brought items from her own home to a school yard sale to raise enough money to buy a new instrument. The special education teacher whose classroom contains no school-provided books. Another special ed teacher who this year alone has lost a co-teacher to another state, two assistants to other jobs and a couple of certified veteran substitutes.

Those are just three stories from Wake and Orange counties, where local supplements help ease the pain of statewide cuts to education funding by legislators who think cutting taxes for rich people is more important than educating our children, our future. It’s telling that I heard two of these three stories not from the teachers themselves but from family members. The teachers are too busy working miracles and second jobs to complain.

Silence is dangerous because it masks the egregious needs in schools across our state. This situation is awful, but it’s not hopeless. Voters have the power to change it in November. Go to the polls and vote for candidates who realize that public education is the economic engine that drives NC.

Anne Bullard


Climate change effects

Regarding “Parasite transmitted by ticks found in Canada Lynx” (Apr. 16): This unsettling scenario could unfold for humans as well. It may sound like science fiction, but researchers have taken cores of ice containing various microbes and were able to essentially bring them back to life in laboratory cultures.

In 2016, anthrax spores released from the corpse of a reindeer dead for decades that became exposed when permafrost melted and collapsed away led to the death of a 12 year old child in a Siberian village, along with dozens of other villagers being hospitalized, and the deaths of 2,300 reindeer. Eventually Russia planned to kill a quarter-million reindeer. Imagine if ranchers in the U.S. had to kill a quarter-million cattle?

A nationwide lobby of concerned citizens has developed a plan to enact a policy – this policy is called carbon fee and dividend. It may be the fastest and most assured way to get things turned around before it is too late. This needs to be a bipartisan effort, with all hands on deck in Congress.

Jen Almond