America is breaking and no one seems to care

To the Editor:

We talk about American exceptionalism, and our “free market” system, and yet we allow monopolies and near monopolies to promote price gouging through market concentration of any commodity in only a few companies. That concentration then creates shortages if any one of those companies can’t respond to our needs, such as gasoline, food or baby formula.

Inflation is not some mysterious illness that affects us every few years for no apparent reason. It’s built into our economic system, unless we decide to say otherwise. At the same time, Jackson County’s turnout in the primary election was 24 percent. How disappointing!

We claim to have such a rich and storied past, and then try to keep all of our past from being taught in schools, and ban books that are “uncomfortable” to read. This is America, and the Americans making the most noise about “free speech” are the ones trying to ban books. WTH? Our turnout in the primary election was 24 percent!?

We claim to be loving and tolerant, and at the same time treat so many Americans like second-class citizens – Black, Hispanic, gay, or anyone else who is “different”. Being inclusive does not mean we are giving up some of our freedoms or rights. It’s not a zero-sum game, but it is disgusting, and has nothing to do with being Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist, etc. and yet, only 24 percent voted in our last election.

We beat our chests and claim to be “pro-life” when talking about the unborn, yet we are unwilling to protect our actual living children in their classrooms. I have talked to my grandchildren about this. They are scared and rightfully so, and they don’t understand why responsible “adults” claim to want to fix the problem, but nothing happens. I know that more than 24 percent of Jackson County has an opinion, but 24 percent is a dog that won’t hunt.

The saddest part about all this is that some of these things have nothing to do with running our country. They are personal, and sometimes religious beliefs being used to stir up emotions (and votes), and have nothing to do with voting rights, economic issues, how we can compete with the rest of the world, how we educate our citizens, care for our elderly, and how every American can get medical treatment. We are our brother’s keeper, and it’s time we started acting like that.

It’s a shame that only 24 percent seem to give a damn.

Mark Ballinger, Sylva

Bravo to Breedlove, TDA

To the Editor:

Thank you for the excellent article on tourism in Jackson County that appeared in the Sylva Herald’s May 26 issue.

I applaud Nick Breedlove and the Tourism Development Authority for reminding us of the importance of protecting the natural beauty of our county. Our lakes, rivers, lush green mountains, and clean air are the reasons visitors are drawn to this area. Those visitors spend dollars that keep many businesses open and thriving. The link between our environment and our economy is obvious. Breedlove states that “tourism is our number one employer,” followed by the university and the hospital. That fact might be educational to many Jackson County residents. The sales tax from those visitor dollars helps lower county taxes for everyone. The point being that it benefits each of us to do what we can to protect Jackson County’s natural resources.

My personal issue with protecting our environment is one that could be fixed. It’s our litter problem. Why is it that people toss out all kinds of trash on the very roads they live on? Why not take your trash home and put it in a receptacle there? We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful areas of our state and country. Why then do residents treat it like a trash dump? But I digress.

Thank you, Mr. Breedlove, and the TDA for your forward-thinking in creating a grant program to sustain tourism development. The Tourism Capital Project Fund offers the opportunity for new projects that attract and enhance a visitor’s experience here. Perhaps one of those projects will address reducing litter.

Marilyn Davis, Sylva

Let’s care for one another before it’s too late

To the Editor:

What does it matter is we live in a country that is supposedly rich monetarily, and in which we are surrounded by numerous distinguished individuals, if we have not learned to prevent the constant killing of each other. Why is it that we have not learned to care for one another instead of hating one another?

Apparently, we have failed to simply live with each other peacefully. Many have sought their own happiness without considering the happiness of others.

Having grown up in a community similar to Uvalde, Texas, I was surrounded by people who spoke both Spanish and English. On a daily basis, people in the community supported one another physically and emotionally. We never locked our doors. We were concerned for one another and shared what we had in a loving manner.

It does not cost a thing to be kind and understanding to one another. I doubt that any of us has experienced the level of violence that now dominates the daily news. Any kind of gun is now available for people who are not able to articulate their thoughts and feelings. A gun is a way of acting out anger, frustration, futility, revenge, and feelings of rejection and abandonment. This can’t go on. Please reach out with caring to those who are isolated, lonely, disenfranchised and depressed. Call out bullying. An act of kindness could prevent a massacre. Let’s care for one another before it is too late.

The great faithful poet, St. John of the Cross, said “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”

Michael Gonzalez, Sylva

Yes, something can be done about school shootings

To the Editor:

Our country is the “United” States of America, not 50 separate countries. Americans are free to travel from state to state, no passport required. Yet there has been no national law addressing the ease in obtaining weapons of mass destruction.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution was written over 200 years ago, at a time when Americans needed guns to hunt and protect themselves. They had muskets, not assault weapons. Time have changed over 200 years, and it is way past time for gun control. AR-15s and such should be restricted to the military. Background checks and waiting periods should be in place for any kind of gun.

The horror that happened in Texas can happen anywhere. All of you that do no not want gun control, and that includes those in Congress, I want you to picture a child related to you seated in a classroom and having a murderer with a military-style weapon opening fire on that classroom. Also picture yourself entering that classroom right after the slaughter of innocent children. Certain members of Congress do not want to do the right thing because they do not want to bite the hand that feeds them, and I do not mean voters.

States and local governments need to step up and do what is right to make schools across the country safe. At a minimum all doors should be locked from outside during school hours. Metal detectors are in airports and in courthouses, why not schools?

Mass shootings in this country are as much a pandemic as COVID-19. Some states such as Texas are making vigilantes of citizens with their anti-abortion laws. Are we reverting to the old wild west days?

For those who say that “I can not do anything about it,” oh yes you can at the voting booth, plus you can flood your representatives and senators in Congress with letters and emails about how you feel about this slaughter of innocent children and adults.

Louise Williams, Sylva