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Article was biased
I was dismayed by the biased tone of the article "Durham, Heal Thyself" (June 1) and its characterization of community people as violent and overly vocal. The school board is elected by the taxpayers to support quality education in our community. They are not doing their job if they are not listening to concerned parents and community members. People shout when they are not listened to and when they feel disenfranchised. It is the responsibility of the school superintendent and the school board to meet the needs of their constituents by providing for fair treatment and education of their children. If this is not happening, then please don't blame the victim.

I rely on the Independent newspaper each week to hear a progressive voice that I feel I can trust. We have enough skewed news in the mainstream media. Please maintain your focus on serving the needs of the people of Durham and advocating for peace and justice in our society.
Kathleen Murray
Durham

Burnings underline problems
The problem generated from the "can't we all just get along" politic rests in the bosom of capitulation. To divide this hate crime across the traditional lines of the racial binary restricts a broader discourse. To make it plain, three crosses burning is not about black and white but moreso a public display of exclusion, frankly speaking, an attention getter.

In the grand scheme, this presents an opportunity for overdue dialogue. However, due to its sensitive nature, strict rules of engagement must be firmly rooted. The cross burnings represent an insecurity of sorts, a desperate need for power. Attention needs to shift to the invisible crosses which whimsically torch our intuitions daily--commercial media, legal systems, educational structures, employment, health care, local, state and national government just to name a few. Making the already marginalized the problem equals negligence. The underclass, the people who society's private and public institutions frequently forget, signify the end product within the matrix of power and domination from which they are neither active participants nor willing accomplices. This is not singularly about the KKK, gang violence, Latinos, African Americans vs. everything white or homophobia. This is about the power elite and its devaluation of those labeled as subaltern or simply the "other." This is about their legitimizing structures which breed these horrific acts. Further, discussions of the power elite necessitate discussions about legalized white supremacy. Do I excuse the cross burnings? Not by a damn sight! But also, we shouldn't exclude our power elite from our list of usual suspects. The cross burnings hopefully were an isolated event. However, we're left with a bigger inferno. If we continue to address this brushfire with the gasoline of empty rhetoric, the results could be a combustive spiritual, psychic and civil cremation.
W. Russell Robinson
Durham

Guns not the answer
I could not believe what I was reading in last weeks letter from John Posthill ("Backtalk," June 1) of what appears to be a liberal organization called Grass Roots North Carolina through which he is sponsoring legislation to arm women victims of domestic violence. Essentially this is giving legal justification for murder. There are already too many guns in households, and to sanction them in an already volatile environment will not solve the problem. Most gun accidents occur in the home. Can you picture a jury convicting an abused spouse who was authorized to arm herself? In addition, is this legislation to extend to abused men? Last year, (a typical one) 865,000 male spouses were victims. That is just the number reported by the Dept. of Justice in their annual crime statistics. The DOJ admits that most male victims do not report the incidents.

The problem of abuse between any two people will not be ameliorated by indiscriminate issuance of hand guns.
Alejandro Crespi
Raleigh

Citizen Geary wrong
One minute, Bob Geary is "just a citizen" who's "not on the court," so he doesn't feel obligated to take sides about the question of whether 11,000 duly-registered North Carolinians who cast provisional ballots on election day should have their votes counted. The next minute, he's quite certain that Bill Fletcher has a point, and he's proud he voted for him.

He can't have it both ways. If he doesn't know enough to disagree with the Supreme Court then he doesn't know enough to agree, either. More to the point, if he doesn't know enough to disagree with the Supreme Court, then he can't read. It is in his duty as a citizen, not an analyst of constitutional law, that Geary is failing here.

He characterizes the legislature's attempt to apply a new law as playing politics by changing the rules after the fact, but he's got that one exactly backwards: Everybody, especially the people who cast them, thought that provisional ballots would count. We did and do count them for federal elections, so how would anybody think that Council of State elections would be any different? It is the Supreme Court ruling itself that has changed the standard.

Geary errs factually in claiming that the court "reads" the old statute differently from the legislature's intent.

What the Supreme Court actually held was that the old statute was unconstitutional. They read it just fine. They just didn't like what it said. So they invented some perverted misinterpretation as a pretext for invalidating it, just as their federal counterparts did in Bush v. Gore.

Worse, both Geary and the Democratic senators who passed the new law miss the absolutely core point that if the old law was unconstitutional and the new law simply restates the same thing in plainer language, then it is even more plainly unconstitutional, so there is little reason to suspect that the partisan Supreme Court will not simply reassert its error.

For the lead political columnist of a newspaper with the historical role of the Independent to be apologizing for this bullshit is unconscionable.
George Greene
Raleigh

Proactive vs. Reactive
I have always asked the question: Why do the police, legislature, courts--everyone, it appears--wait until a person dies from domestic violence to then do something about it? From reading "Can We Stop Domestic Violence?" (May 25) by Barbara Solow, it seems funding and mindsets are the major things standing in the way of saving people's lives.

Making domestic abuse a public health issue indeed will give the fight more power and make agencies and government notice. Hopefully, funding will come once domestic abuse becomes a bigger issue, but the funding is not what families and grassroots agencies want in the end.

It was shocking to read that there are just 43 beds for four Triangle counties for domestic violence cases, and 17 of North Carolina's 100 counties have no shelter beds. No shelter beds? Where and what do these particular counties expect their battered to do? Have no sympathy? I applaud the N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Interact-Wake County, the CDC and the many other organizations willing to be proactive and speak for those people who cannot. Being proactive means stopping a potential problem early on--before lives are destroyed. Of course, to all the legislators and politicians out there, being proactive saves everyone money.
Dana Stanley
Raleigh

Corrections

  • In last week's poetry issue the name of one of the winners--Laura Jent--was misspelled.

  • A quotation from Anita Keith-Foust in the June 1 issue ("Durham, Heal Thyself," indyweek.com/durham/2005-06-01/news.html ) was incorrect. She said: "I think these parents need to be commended for not going into their pocket books and getting their box cutters out and going to work on [Durham School Supt.] Ann Denlinger."

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