Publisher’s Note: The following letters were submitted by readers. The Pilot welcomes letters from readers on its Opinion pages, which serve as a public forum. The Pilot is not in the business of suppressing public opinion. We are a forum for community debate, and publish almost every letter we receive. For information on how to submit a letter to the editor, click here.
Reserve Tests for VIPs
I’m as excited as anyone to have professional sports back. But shouldn’t we be providing these quick result tests to those on the front lines, nurses, EMTs, police?
If it’s too expensive, then send my stimulus check to them. But regardless, they should get them first.
— Rich Tompkins, Carthage
Another Look at the Numbers
The president claims that we have more COVID-19 infections because we are testing more. He implies, but does not state, that there are more deaths because we are testing more. Testing does not cause deaths.
Let’s ignore testing numbers and look only at COVID-19 deaths. The CDC expresses deaths per 100,000 population, but I want to bring that down to a more intimate level. If you divide the U.S. population by the total number of COVID-19 deaths, you have a rate of one death per population group.
I have tracked the death rate for the U.S., Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia since May. Norway: 1 death per 22,314; Finland: 1 death per 16,871; Denmark: 1 death per 9,715; Sweden: 1 death per 2,501; U.S.: 1 death per 3,296. While the rest of Scandinavia went into mandated lockdown, Sweden did not. We were similar to Sweden.
As of Aug. 4, the rest of Scandinavia remains close to the rates in May. Italy, which was an epicenter in May, has retained a near-flat death rate of 1 per 1,720 during July. We are steadily approaching Sweden’s and Italy’s death rates.
To put that in a local perspective, if you live in Pinehurst, eight of your neighbors would have died of COVID-19. If the CDC is correct in estimating 250,000 deaths, that would be a rate of 1 per 1316, or 13 of your neighbors. Please consider that before you decide to socialize without a mask.
— Matt Farina, Southern Pines
Save the Bugs
Please, homeowners: Stop pesticide companies from destroying our environment. They want to sell us insect-spraying packages to rid our yards of supposedly bad bugs. There are bad and good bugs.
Companies make us believe our yards are infested with insects, which is far from the truth. By wholesale spraying of industrial-strength insecticides, they kill off the honeybees, which are already in serious decline due to colony collapse; damel- and dragonflies, which eat mosquitos; ladybugs, which eat aphids and rose rust; and the thousands of insects our beautiful Carolina birds and the geckos eat daily.
We’ve been eating from our vegetable garden since April, and have no insects. I plant flowers that attract honeybees and dill for Monarch butterflies to mature in. I also compost and prepare my soil well. The success of my garden this year proves its value.
I think we can all do our part in keeping these pesticide companies, which seem to be mostly owned by the corporate lawn care companies, from destroying our bees, driving our birds away, and polluting our local watercourses with toxic runoff. Apparently our birds are struggling to find sufficient food so we have started feeding them again. Wouldn’t it be sad if we don’t see our cardinals, a brilliant red flash against the dark green of our pines?
— Fern Sinnott, Pinehurst
No to Murals
One person’s art is another person’s eye sore. I was born and raised in Southern Pines. I love the quaint feel of the town’s architecture.
The natural look of brick or stone or wood is so much prettier than some type of painting on a building, even if it’s ivy-covered.
— Elsie Dutton, Akerson
Rename Fort Bragg
There are 3,525 Medal of Honor winners. Pick one and move on.
Consider an enlisted soldier such as Mary Edwards Walker or Robert Augustus Sweeney, who won two Medals of Honor.
— Tom Wetsel, West End
Mail-In Voting OK
Beth Hill in a recent editorial said mail-in ballots will not work in the upcoming election? Oregon is doing that and we have time to get our ducks in a row until the November timeframe, don’t we.
Or is the system riddled with fraud or other inside difficulties? Do we not have proper election officials to mandate the rules on how to carry this out if we do go to mail in voting?
I heard on the radio that the state was going to spend a massive amount of money on masks for the election judges, money we do not have. Most people by now, if they are out in public, should possess a face covering. Why do I have to pay for something that a person is going to wear on the job?
Let us dwell on this but not too long, and who knows how long this virus will last, so we have to prepare for the worst.
— Jonathan Paris, Whispering Pines
Wear a Mask
It seems there cannot be enough repeated mail concerning the subject of masks to make a difference, but I remain hopeful because it is so important.
I have chosen to repeat the words of Jason Gay, from a Wall Street Journal article on this subject, beginning with: “Please wear a face mask so I can shut up about wearing face masks.”
He goes on to say just what I have wanted to write in a letter to the editor for a long while.
— Bonnie Becker-Jones, Pinehurst
What Was Learned?
History repeats itself in patterns that are like stencils. The riots over George Floyd replicate the riots in 1992 in Los Angeles over the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers for the Rodney King beating.
The looting of over 2,300 Korean American stores resulted in empowerment by that group in succeeding years. Both riots involved looting of Asian, Latino and African American stores as well as national chain stores. What did both riots accomplish? An increase in political empowerment by those affected by the looting. Though police violence is the sound-bite hot point on television broadcasts, police violence is only one component of a dangerous economic issue among emerging cultural and ethnic groups in a diversified America.
Occasional Pilot columnist Marvin Covault was appointed by President George Bush in 1992 to lead the Joint Task Force Los Angeles to end the riots by military and allied force. He was appointed because he was in command of Fort Ord in Northern California.
I would prefer that Gen. Covault writes about what he learned from that tragic Los Angeles riot and how it resonates with the riots today.
— Kevin Lewis, Carthage
Michael Smith’s column “Tearing Down Statues Defies Rule Of Law and Logic” begins by asking “whether this nation has gone completely off the rails.”
I immediately wondered if he was referring to the millions Trump has “received” from the U.S. taxpayers for his own personal gain, or why he tries to ignore the Constitution by not counting everyone for the census.
Imagine my surprise when Mr. Smith’s column referred to Confederate statues. He begins by excusing Gens. Bragg and Lee while attacking Gen. Sherman. He does not mention Sherman received approval from President Lincoln and Gen. Grant.
I’m assuming he considers the bombing of Dresden and the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki similarly. After all, collectively their purpose was to end the war.
Mr. Smith mentions Lee’s oath of allegiance. In it, Lee says, “I will henceforth faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the States.” Of course, that was after he lost the war.
If the criteria is someone who once did good things for our country, I eagerly await Mr. Smith’s next column, “Why Benedict Arnold Deserves a Statue.”
— Bob Curtis, Pinehurst