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Letters to the Editor

Arm women
The horrors of domestic violence are very real, but the so-called "solutions" offered in your article are not ("Ending Domestic Violence," May 18). The basic problem is this: Violence--in all its manifestations, domestic and otherwise--is hard-wired into us for reasons of survival and competition. To suggest that there is some "vaccine" that will eliminate this element of the human condition would be laughable if it was not so misdirected. Does anyone think that they can make men something other than what they are within, say, the next 10,000 years or so? Get real!

Want a real solution for women under the threat of domestic violence? First, stop believing that more of the same will work; it has not and cannot.

Second, replace this with a simple concept: Empower women. A practical way to view it: Help women help themselves. Help them get out, get away, lift their self-esteem, and ensure that they are prepared to defend themselves should the worst become possible.

Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC) has taken a step in this direction by supporting HB-1311. HB-1311 as originally introduced would mandate that a judge tell a woman who gets a domestic violence restraining order about her option to get an emergency concealed handgun permit. If she wishes, the county sheriff would have to issue the permit immediately. She can then do two things: (1) carry a handgun for self-protection and (2) purchase a handgun if she needs one. We recognize that not all women thrust into such a situation may know how to use a handgun properly, so GRNC is also committed to identifying low-cost providers of handgun training so that her confidence and skills can be quickly addressed.

HB1311 addresses the life or death aspect of the worst of domestic violence by giving a woman an opportunity to save her life.
John B. Posthill
Chapel Hill

Taking flight
Godfrey Cheshire loses control of his dialectic of "myth" and "reality" aptly set up in his review of Ghobadi's Turtles Can Fly ("Forbidden Games," May 25) in order to elucidate the film's tensions. Myth gets the upper hand in this otherwise decent review. Fortunately, the filmmaker does not fall into the same trap. The haunting, vacuous eyes and "Ophelia-like" silence of the only female character in the film belong to Argin, a young girl barely into adolescence, who has been brutally raped by what I assume is one of Saddams's soldiers on a killing and raping spree against the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan. The scene--the most unbearable scene in a movie of many unbearable scenes--comes to us as Argin's lucid, unforgettable memory. Thus, Riga, the cross-eyed toddler, is not, as Cheshire puts it, "mysterious" at all but rather a living reminder of Argin's violation and shame. Strange that Cheshire should not mention the scene that, appearing at the beginning, in the middle and toward the end, frames the film as the haunting motif/fact of war: Ardin, one of the camp's living dead, poised on the mountain cliff, looking down toward death. At the end only her sandals remain.
Audrey Berlowitz
Durham

Republicans' new rules
As constitutional law guru Daniel Pollitt explained last week, the "nuclear option" in the showdown over filibusters and judicial nominations has, for the time being, been averted ("The Senate filibuster, a history," May 25). However, one important detail of his account points to a more fundamental issue.

Amending Senate Rule 22, the filibuster rule, requires a two-thirds vote, but the "nuclear option" would have side-stepped the filibuster of a nomination by a simple majority vote on a point of order. The Republicans in the Senate would, in Pollitt's words, "simply ignore the two-thirds vote requirement to amend the rule."

This may seem arcane, but it reveals a crucial but easily overlooked fact about the Republican leadership in Congress: They just don't care about following the rules. In the case of rules that are necessary to the democratic process, there is a word for that lack of concern: corruption.

Secure in their assumption that demands to follow established congressional process will play in the media as mere pedantry, these Republicans are slowly stripping away the rule of law. We saw the same disregard when they impeached a president for something that was clearly not a constitutional crisis. All of this should alarm the nation, however technical the issues may appear to be.
James Coley
Chapel Hill

Correction
In a May 18 article on the Carrboro Poetry Festival, participant Tony Tost was inaccurately quoted. The quote should have read:

"What people may not realize," says festival participant Tony Tost when asked about the level of local talent, "is that North Carolina has a long history as a home for innovative poetry: Black Mountain College and affiliated poets like Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov and Charles Olson; and the Jargon Society Press."

talk back.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to backtalk@indyweek.com; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.

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