Letters for November 9, 2017



Recent arrest a cause for concern

I’ve gotten to know Chris Morrow over what seems like years but I’m sure is much less time than that.  He is a very good-natured, friendly, and considerate person.  I do not believe that Chris would go out of his way to be disrespectful to any person or city official.  He is, in fact, a quite friendly, outgoing, and cheerful person (even in spite of the treatment he has received).

I am rather perplexed by his treatment by the Mayor, town of Franklin, City Police Depart and Sheriff’s office.  His recent arrest on felony charges is more reason for concern.  His initial arrest (although he was only issued a citation and required to show up to court) was apparently for trespassing when using the public restrooms at the town hall.  (There is a blue sign outside with an arrow pointing inside saying “public restrooms”).  Chris had an infection that necessitated using the restroom frequently for a short period of time.

He is also famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) for his signs that he places on the back of his van and parks downtown.  This may be the basis for what appears to be harassment and denial of his civil rights by the town.

His phone and laptop were seized as evidence by the police upon his arrest and have not been returned.  He has taken pictures of the town hall to document that this is indeed a public place (signs, lobby entrance, etc).

Chris showed up at his hearing as requested to defend himself, however, the town didn’t show.  Apparently, he was pressured to agree to mediation, which he refused, since no charges had been presented in court or an opportunity for him to plead his case.  Chris contends that he is innocent and that his rights have been violated and this amounts to harassment.

He has also been served with a letter from the Town Attorney and now arrested on what seems to be questionable felony charges, all tied to the original infraction.  His second hearing will be this Tuesday at 9 am.  I believe this is on the original charge of trespassing when he used the restroom at the town hall.

I’m sure there is much that I don’t know or understand about this case, except that it seems to center on the signs he places on his van to the ire of the Mayor and perhaps others.

Is this a miscarriage of justice?  Have his civil rights been denied?  I can’t say, but I feel that this should be investigated and reported on so that others can make a judgement for themselves.  And if true, that this doesn’t happen to others.

Chris is unable to hire a lawyer to help defend his case against the town.

Due to the nature of the original infraction (which does not carry any penalty), he cannot get a court appointed lawyer.  Also, the town may try to bundle all the charges against him, rather than deal with each issue one at a time based on the merit of the charges.

I hope the Macon County News will look into this and report accordingly so the public can be informed.


Paul Chew — Franklin, N.C.

Purpose of Civil War well documented history

John Kelly is a liar; the Civil War was fought over white supremacy, and nothing else. How do I know this? Because the Confederates themselves explicitly said so. When the Confederate States instigated the Civil War, several of their state legislatures issued documents modeled after the U.S. Declaration of Independence, called “Declarations of Causes,” enumerating their casus belli.

Georgia’s mentioned slavery 34 times.

South Carolina’s mentioned slavery 17 times.

Texas’ mentioned slavery 22 times.

Mississippi’s, a study in brevity, mentioned slavery 7 times.

This is the “conscience” of the “honorable” people of “good faith” Kelly was referring to;

“We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations…” The Confederate State of Texas, 2 February 1861.

The founding fathers of the Confederacy were absolutely unequivocal; the sole reason for the Civil War was White supremacy, period. This is not “fake news,” but well-documented historical fact. To claim otherwise cannot be ascribed to anything other than willful ignorance or an idiotic preference for fantasy over reality.

Kelly’s no idiot; after OCS he received an MA in National Security Affairs from Georgetown and an MS in Strategic Studies from the National Defense University in Washington, DC. He knows military history, therefore he knows he’s lying, leaving the only plausible explanation being that he’s just as much of a liar and white supremacist as his demonstrably racist mendacious overlord. Despite Kelly’s moral ambiguity, some things are unequivocal in any century. If he truly believes that it’s grossly unfair to criticize Christopher Columbus based upon 21st Century mores for giving his lieutenants 10-year-old Taíno girls to rape, he should never be allowed to command troops in the field, and the Capitol Police need to make absolutely certain that he’s never left alone with children. He’s a disgrace to the Marine Corps and to the United States.


Emmet Bondurant — Franklin, N.C.

Hillary Clinton rhetoric quoted out of context

I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton or her brand of Democratic politics. However, I am very tired of hearing her quoted out of context.  Her comment about “deplorables” was  a “grossly generaltistic” characterzation meant to describe the ugly contingent of Trump supporters. We all know who I mean by this. They chanted “blood and soil” at Charlottesville. They cheered when Flynn led the chant “lock her up.” They laughed when Trump mocked a physically disabled person. They sniggered when Trump bragged about grabbing women by their genitilia. The people guilty of these transgressions are not representative of either political party. Below is an excerpt of Clinton’s speech; of course, it is not remarkable rhetoric, but you should read these paragraphs. These comments were not intended to besmirch all of Trump’s supporters. Rather, she was attemping to reach out to those Trump supporters who would distant themselves from the morally bankrupt segment of Trump supporters.

“We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people – now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks – they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

“But the other basket –  and I know this because I see friends from all over America here –  I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas –  as well as, you know, New York and California –  but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”


John Barry — Franklin, N.C.

Ravaged Texas deserved a ‘truly grand event’

Many of you will remember my making the movie, “The Thread of Life Is Thin” that helped the Peeks Creek survivors refurnish their homes in 2004. Sadly, some still wallow in their loss even today; mere money does not restore lost limbs or relatives. Even our close-knit community’s outpouring of care and help couldn’t do that. At that time, what we needed was a major uplifting event such as occurred in last night’s World Series. The result there clearly disappointed Californians (the stands cleared after the 9th inning as though a fire alarm had gone off) but the Astros’ victory was manna from heaven for the recent victims of Hurricane Harvey’s floods. The suffering of Texans was on such a widespread scale that it took a truly grand event to lift them from their doldrums, and the semi-finals and finals of the 2017 World Series certainly delivered.

Years ago, I was competing in a Pennsylvania amateur golf championship. My opponent and I were the final round leaders and were accordingly paired together as the last group. She was every bit the solid determined fighter and we fought our way around the course but were still tied on the 18th tee. This was a long dogleg left. I hit my drive right on the midpoint of the turn while my playing partner drove across the fairway into deep rough. I smiled; I had a simple iron from a good lie straight to the hole, while she had a difficult downhill lie in rough grass. At last, I had a clear advantage. She hit a fantastic out that rolled within feet of the pin, while I over-clubbed and sent my ball past the hole and down the far side of the green. She parred and won, while I double-bogeyed and fell to third.

I know competitive pressure and how it can destroy one’s usual competence. Thus, when the first Dodger hit the first pitch in game 4 for a home run, I admired the aplomb of the Astros’ pitcher who recovered and did well for several innings. However, in a subsequent game, a different Astros’ pitcher got two outs in the 9th and was up two strikes when he completely locked up. He threw five straight bad pitches which allowed the batter to walk and scurry home when his teammate got a hit. Tied game, extra innings and now a sudden shift in team fortunes.

With all the back and forths of this year’s series, it was fitting to watch the performance of the Astros’ pitcher in last night’s 9th inning. Baseball players may appear to be simply standing around much of the time, but they must always be set to erupt into some athletic move requiring their body to extend or twist into the most superb response. All this in a split-second and with superhuman balance, timing and coordination.

In the final inning of the final game of the last contest, the Astros’ hurler threw three strikes for the first out but then allowed the next batter to connect. This Dodger sent a sizzling ground ball through the infield with such speed that I was sure the grass would erupt into flames, but the fielder opened his glove, scooped the ball up, and executed a lightning fast midair body twist to rifle the ball to his first baseman. The “thwack” o the ball lodging into the outstretched glove told everyone: two outs! The entire year is now on the line, but the pitcher’s resolve holds firm. The final Dodger dribbled an easy hit to [second baseman José] Altuve who actually smiled as his glove captured the slow-moving ball. He knew he could field it and beat the runner charging down the baseline, but he hesitated for a moment before throwing to first. Was he making certain he had a good grip so he wouldn’t err, or was he clearly enjoying the wondrous sensation of holding victory in his hands after all the long hours of practice and the endless games of the season? Who knows? The commentator ignored the moment, because in an instant the ball was in the first baseman’s hand, the runner was out, and the World Championship belonged to the Astros. Altuve had appeared to almost caress the ball to his teammate rather than throw it.

The wild leaping and embracing of the winning team contrasted markedly with the Los Angeles stands which emptied completely when FOX TV switched to an ad. What a stupid move during a very emotional moment, one that comes only once a year! Some higher up had televised the game on a huge screen for the viewing of houston fans at a stadium in their town, so we television fans shared in their joy for a few seconds. Having experienced such loss and devastation, Texans deserved this chance to celebrate fully.

Each of us needs unfettered happiness now and again – it’s what keeps us going and makes sharing with friends so enjoyable. Thank the good Lord above I live here, where I spend every waking moment giving thanks for caring neighbors, magnificent natural beauty and – so important – good community leaders. Keep on pitching!


Narelle Kirkland — Franklin, N.C.

Congress’ responsibility to remove President Trump

What ever news authority you consider your prime source of ultimate and everlasting truth, one thing is abundantly clear, Donald Trump’s presidency is unraveling at breakneck speed and accelerating faster than we can possibly, or at least logically, follow.

When Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) likened the Trump White House to an “adult day-care center,” he was only parroting what people close to the president have been saying from the beginning, and not always behind closed doors. Despite his aides’ best efforts to curb the president’s worst instincts, insiders describe Trump as “increasingly unfocused” and “consumed by dark moods,” the very same mental picture painted of Nixon as the end of his presidency neared some 40-odd years ago.

Unmistakably, Trump is in way over his head and, in my opinion, he would be wise to remove himself from office or the Republican leadership must take the necessary steps in addressing the common belief that Trump is not psychologically or morally equipped to be president and remove him before he causes grave and irreparable damage to our country (or quite plausibly) the entire global community.

Unfortunately the present Republican leadership (such as it is) seems far more absorbed and committed to dismantling President Obama’s legacy than attending to the business of governing and holding in check the formidable array of involvements and responsibilities here at home and throughout the world.

Doubly regrettable, given that invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a president from office requires a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress (and Republicans enjoy a majority in both Houses), that remedy is presently impractical and therefore ill-advised.

That does not however, negate the fact that President Trump, by his own words and deeds (in my view) prove himself incapable of adequately performing the complex duties of his office nor does it absolve the United States Congress of its responsibility to so declare and remove from office this man who has become (as Michael Cohen in the Boston Globe elegantly phrased it) “an unbearable, infuriating, enraging, and draining presence in our national life.”

Amen to that..


David L. Snell — Franklin, N.C.

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