Letters to the Editor

10/23 Letters: Solitary confinement is abuse, even if you call it ‘restrictive housing’

Solitary confinement

“Inmates sue NC to reduce use of solitary confinement” (Oct. 17) includes this extraordinary statement: “...prison officials have previously said that they’re working to reduce the number of inmates in what they call ‘restrictive housing,’ “

This is a clear example of how language can be used to cover abuse. Solitary confinement, a practice virtually guaranteed to inflict serious pain and create or exacerbate mental illness, is not “restrictive housing.”

The inhumanity of this practice should not be covered up by humane language. I hope this lawsuit leads to making it illegal to do this to another human being.

Sister Mary Margaret Weber, Raleigh

NRA influence

The Oct. 10 article about NRA influence was eye-opening. The NRA used to be about safety, but now is about buying Republican legislators.

Gun ownership is not threatened. Liberals own guns the same as conservatives.

The terrifying sector is the conspiracy theorists who’ve become horrific bullies intimidating whoever their leaders target. You can identify them by the venom in the rhetoric and their emphasis on differences between liberals and conservatives when we’re mostly alike in wanting to live in peace.

I am grateful to the legislators who support guns for protection in the hands of reasonable people and to the N&O for this informative article.

Jean Weaver, Durham

Worker shortage

The Oct. 17 article about the shortage of workers neglected one cause: anti-immigration pressure.

For years, immigrants from Mexico and Guatemala have been a large source of construction workers, some legal, others undocumented.

With the president’s rhetoric and raids at worksites across the country, the Hispanic workforce has been drastically reduced. Agriculture has felt the same strains.

It is time to address this shortage in a legal and humanitarian way - and time for the construction and agricultural industries to speak up for a solution.

Eleanor Kinnaird, Chapel Hill

Silent senators

Recent events in Washington have stimulated several prominent Republican senators finally to disagree publicly with President Trump.

Perhaps as Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Sen. Richard Burr is better off remaining silent until his committee finishes investigating foreign interference in our elections. But Sen. Thom Tillis has limited excuses for his silence. I assume he’s still more concerned about not being facing a primary than with protecting our democracy.

But a more general concern is why Republicans are only now speaking out. Why haven’t they spoken out on children separated from parents at the border, reallocation of funds for the border wall, reduced safeguards for air and water, withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, etc.?

I hope voters will remember where the focus of Republican senators seems to be.

Larry Wolf, Garner

Clear-cutting trees

Two letters to the editor on Sunday pointed out the importance of trees in the urban environment. We should also recognize that when developers clear-cut forests for developments, they are also killing an entire underground root system that holds the soil in place and mitigates runoff. It will be decades before new trees can replace that system.

Fred P. Hain, Raleigh

Professor Emeritus, NCSU Department of Entomology

Lead exposure

Many people think lead is a problem of the past. Even though the installation of lead pipes was banned in 1986, much of our drinking water infrastructure is contaminated by lead plumbing, fixtures and solder.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin that impairs how children learn, grow and behave. Yet all too often, lead is found flowing from faucets and fountains where children drink.

There is no safe level of lead in drinking water — for children and adults. I urge the N.C. legislature to pass HB 386 to require lead testing in our schools.

Lead contamination is a serious public health crisis. It’s exciting that the current administration is taking the initiative by proposing new rules, but these rules do not go far enough. Lead contamination deserves stringent regulations.

Emma Berry, Cary

Housing bond

There are several uses for the $95 million Durham housing bond that will make Durham a more livable place for everyone.

This money will be used to expand services for people experiencing homelessness, support low-income home buyers, rebuild existing and affordable housing units.

Everyone will benefit from the $60 million that will go towards retail and office space, more parking space, and investment in infrastructure.

If you live in Durham, it is in your best interest to vote “yes” for this bond.

Hiba Fatima, Chapel Hill