Black lives matter to all of us

To the Editor:

The Black Lives Matter movement sprung out of the widespread sharing of videos of police brutality and murder of Black people. To counter that “all lives matter” ignores this fact. Maybe it would be more definitive if the slogan said Black Lives Matter Too.

However, I think it’s possible the history of policing is rarely looked at by those eager to proclaim that all lives matter.

The first publicly funded policing began in Boston in 1838 and New York in 1845. In the South the official history is preceded by Slave Patrols first formed in 1704 in South Carolina, which lasted more than 150 years before reorganizing into the Ku Klux Klan. Besides returning slaves, terror was used to deter slave revolts by means of physical and psychological violence.

The National Law Enforcement Museum website can shed light on the subject and history of law enforcement. It grew out of a sense of fear among whites and used terror to monitor and control Blacks.

There obviously have been advances in law enforcement since the 1700s. However, white supremacy still exists, and I feel in fact is supported by our current president. It is understandable that Blacks fear the police. Killing them has been sanctioned as a part of history. Whites who understand this history are taking to the streets to demand its end. Not just a change in law enforcement policy, training and recruitment but action regarding poverty, housing, education and health.

These areas of inequity began in slavery and continue today. Just as relevant as an officer calmly kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, squeezing the life out of him, many have come to see the same injustice in low wages, slumlord housing, school to prison pipeline and inadequate health care – squeezing opportunity and a fair shot out of Black communities and into the backs of those caught in the cycle of fear.

Our country needs a leader who can help us deal with our racial past and forge a more peaceful and equitable future. Trump is seeking to bring back law enforcement of our past and increase racial disparity.

Please vote Biden/Harris and stop the rise of white supremacy.

Dottie Hoche,

Sylva

Keep your eyes on the prize

To the Editor:

There is much attention being applied to the presidential race for 2020, and rightly so. But we do not need to be forgetful of the influence of the candidates for other positions: N.C. governor/legislators, U.S. Congress and judicial races. These offices could have just as much, if not more, impact on our future than the presidential race.

Why? Because the ability to have meaningful legislation passed by Congress and the N.C. Legislature will depend on the majority party in the respective chambers. Critically, the ability to override a presidential/gubernatorial veto will depend on having sufficient votes in those assemblies, assuming that scenario materializes. The “interpretation” of the laws (current and future) by the judicial system will affect all of us.

So equal attention needs to be placed on understanding the position of congressional, gubernatorial, legislature and judicial candidates with regard to the major issues.

The “prize” in November, therefore, could well be the outcome of these “other” races.

Each of us needs to make a well-informed decision regarding our one and only vote.

Tom Rodgers,

Cullowhee

Help bring prosperity to Jackson

To the Editor:

The census deadline is coming up and Jackson County is 98th out of 100 North Carolina counties in the response rate to the census.

If everyone in the county filled out the census it could change lives. Information from the census impacts state representation in government as well as funding for schools, roads and other public services.

Each missing count is worth approximately $1,823, or 18,230 dollars over the 10-year census period.

Sylva proper has a 46.8 percent return rate, which makes it 365th out of 551 municipalities.

Jackson County has only a 33.7 percent completion rate.

North Carolina is now 37th in the nation out of 50 states.

This is real money that could help our county and our neighbors. Please fill out the census, and we will all prosper.

God bless Jackson County.

Christine Taber,

Sylva

Decries local internet options

To the Editor:

I am appalled by the lack of reliable internet in this area and the allowance of internet providers as monopolies. Too often there is absolutely no choice; you accept whatever is available or have nothing.

Unfortunately, Frontier internet is not much better than nothing. The various departments of the company completely fail to communicate with each other. Before moving into my current housing I was promised a great deal on high-speed internet, or I would not have moved in. Once I moved in and unpacked, I learned that there was no such thing as high-speed Internet at my location. I spent the first 10 months fighting to get any working internet while paying every month despite it seldom working.

Eventually, a technician replaced the wire between the pole and the building and it worked. It not only worked, but it worked well enough for my phone to finally work with Wi-Fi. That lasted a couple of months, just long enough for me to take it for granted. Then it started breaking down, again, the last time for a full week.

I was given an appointment for a Tuesday but no one came. They came on Thursday. It’s working now, but not strong enough for Wi-Fi calling. Plus, the technician knocked down part of a fence. They deny any responsibility. My landlord is upset about it. So, I have to find a way to have it fixed. If they were not a monopoly, they would not get away with their poor service and customer care.

Connie Conklin,

Whittier

More free speech, less hostility

To the Editor:

As we go forward into an election cycle, many are openly engaged in political activity. Most feel safe engaging. I do not. Why?

I find myself often scared of my fellow citizens of Jackson County. I have lost the feeling of trust and safety that a citizen should feel in their own community. Some neighbors that were once a source of trust and comfort, may now be just the opposite, to be feared.

This is a free country, where we are proud to have some basic freedoms protected by the foundation of our laws. So, we are free to say what we think, and within the bounds of our laws, act as we think? Really? Are we free when we feel scared and fearful of our neighbors? Are we free when we fear anyone either wearing or not wearing a mask during a pandemic may erupt into a fist fight or worse? Do we really have freedoms when we fear for our individual safety when we express our opinions or even more so, when we are law abiding activists?

I just read an opinion piece, in a local paper, by someone that I do not know, addressing their opinion on the Confederate flag. There were social media responses on both sides of the issue. Some seemed beyond harsh, actually scary. My opinion on the flag is not the issue here. What is the issue is the distinction between freedoms and decency and fear. We are free to agree or disagree in our speech or our writing. We can say what we think.

Social media has certainly given us a shield to hide behind, kind of like the curtain the wizard hid behind in the Wizard of Oz. But where do our freedoms turn into indecency or even fear? Is it when you do not agree? Is it when you say some terrible things to your neighbor or make a remark on social media that criticizes your birth family or even tells you to leave the community? Or is it when someone literally threatens you as a person when they tote a gun claiming to be protecting the community clearly dividing the community into those that agree and those that should fear.

It is suggested that those of different opinions, different origins, especially if not born and raised in these beautiful mountains, are not supposed to have a say. Is it really freedom if the bounds of our upbringing that teaches us to love thy neighbor, turns into threats and fear? Has freedom turned into a card-carrying right to “domestic hostility” or even worse? Should our “freedom” cause us to fear to express opinions because the repercussions are out of the bounds of decency and safety?

Pam Krauss,

Sylva