Letters to the Editor

‘Disbelief’ at NC maps staying for November elections

About 100 protesters opposed to the Republican-drawn redistricting maps march in silence to the Legislative Building in Raleigh to voice their opposition on Oct. 4, 2017.
About 100 protesters opposed to the Republican-drawn redistricting maps march in silence to the Legislative Building in Raleigh to voice their opposition on Oct. 4, 2017. cseward@newsobserver.com

Regarding “Gerrymandered districts stay for 2018 election” (Sept. 5): I am a recent transplant from Pennsylvania; I was subject to gerrymandering for several voting cycles. I am now a registered voter in North Carolina and find myself in total disbelief regarding this November’s election.

We, the citizens of North Carolina, are being forced to participate in an unconstitutional process. Is this really how the government of North Carolina works? The N.C. legislature is willing to ignore a legitimate court order to redraw districts and sit on their collective hands, proceeding as if it is business as usual?

Pennsylvania managed to redraw their maps, not to everyone’s liking, but it happened prior to this election and in the same general timeframe as North Carolina, following the court order. I am aghast and will vote, but cannot understand how this upholds the laws (never mind the Constitution) of this land.

Allowing this election to proceed is a pox on the state that will have far-ranging consequences for years to come. Who is a legitimate winner? How will this be this rectified? Barnum and Bailey had nothing on this.

Gordon C.H. Drake

Chapel Hill

‘Southern roots’

Often, I would walk the three blocks from my home in Chapel Hill to be on the Carolina campus and to sit with Silent Sam, the statue of a Confederate soldier.

I felt awed by the beauty of this part of campus, and my thoughts would sometimes dwell on the fact that my grandmother was scooped up at age six by General Robert E. Lee, and with her on his knee, he described growing up in his early years. General Lee grew up at Bremo Plantation in Virginia, which was owned by my great-great grandfather.

Of course, I am ashamed and embarrassed by the evils of slavery. But our wrongs, as Southerners many years ago, is no reason to now completely turn my back on my Southern roots. I certainly do not embrace the evils the South stood for back then, yet I am proud to be a Southerner.

Charles W. Browning

Chapel Hill

‘Poor fellows’

In the letter to the editor “Remove with dignity” (Aug. 26), a reader described his Civil War ancestors’ letters complaining about being conscripted into the Confederate army. I also have Civil War letters from my ancestor, but who served in the Union Army. By coincidence, he wrote about the North Carolina soldiers.

In a letter dated 31 May 1862, Gustine writes, “Rebels fought ... hyding behind treese, they did not come out of the wood once during the Fight. Our Fire worked most terribly upon them [their] dead laid in masses ... in the Fight the Rebels cried out Bull Run ... we killed 2 or 3 hundred + took 3000 Prisoners, they were North Carolinians. I saw they were poor fellows, they had been pressed into the service + wanted to take the oath + go home.”

How sad, the tragedy wreaked on those, perhaps on both sides, who were conscripted into a war not of their choosing or responsibility, “poor fellows who just wanted to go home.”

Eleanor Kinnaird

Chapel Hill

More research

Regarding “Wake weighs extra revenue from cell towers at schools” (Sept. 4): I was alarmed to learn that cell towers might be placed on the campuses of 20 Wake County schools. Concerns about the special vulnerability of children to radio frequency (RF) fields from cell phones and towers have been raised because children have developing brains with greater RF absorption than adults.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has stated that for children exposed to mobile phone RF, the average radiation energy deposition is twice as high in the brain than that of adults. The FCC safety standards for RF exposure are based on compliance testing on a 6’2 adult model weighing 220 pounds. Unlike cell phones and baby monitors, cell towers at school would never be turned off and the constant exposure would be involuntary.

In light of the National Toxicology Program study linking wireless exposure to heart and brain tumors in rats, I find little comfort in telcom’s assurances that exposing our children daily at school is safe. Let’s await longitudinal human studies before subjecting kids to cell tower exposure at unprecedented proximity and duration.

Elizabeth Foley Walsh