Letters for April 20, 2023


The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of opinions as a right guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected based on content. Letters must be signed and contact information provided. Views expressed are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of publisher, editor or staff. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. 

A well regulated militia?

For those Republicans who have been and will continue to be sickened and saddened by mass shootings please consider doing two things in an effort to spawn change.

Number one – memorize the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the Right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Your power resides in the first clause: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”.

Number two – abandon the Republican Party until they see that Americans mean business. Tell Democratic candidates why you are supporting them, lest they lose sight of your mission. You are not advocating the confiscation of all firearms. You want to control military style guns. You want to do your part to prevent mass murders-save human lives. Remember: the majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws. Also, remember: there are about 25 million AR15 style firearms in America today. Our Constitutional framers did not envision this type of firearms. A note of reference here: there are roughly 1.5 million Armed Service members. Not even every one of them is authorized to possess an assault weapon. 

There is no law that demands that you vote for Republicans who refuse to change. When we effect modern gun laws you will be free to go back to your party.

What is your mission?  Gun rights? A well regulated Militia? Or both as the Second Amendment provides for?

America can change. What will you do to see that it does?  


Dave Waldrop – Webster, N.C.

Proven tenets, accountability have been discarded

So many questions:  Should the town of Franklin designate a downtown Social District?  Why is there a shortage of school nurses?  Should we eliminate kindergarten and Pre-K and return to a time when parents, families and villages raised children until they were ready to go to school at age six?  Should the county commissioners pass land use guidelines to prohibit crypto-mining in Macon County?  I don’t know – what’s a crypto mine?

State Representative Karl Gillespie (in his “Legislative Review”) explained bills HB-10, HB-347, HB-142, HB-248 (and several others) and how he voted on each.  Conspicuously, he didn’t explain SB-41, or why he voted to override that particular bill.

Is it possible Governor Roy Cooper was right to veto SB-41 because eliminating strong background checks really will allow dangerous people to own handguns and reduce law enforcements’ ability to stop them from committing violent crimes?  Let us hope we don’t find out the hard way.  Oh, so many questions.

One question that left my grandparents’ and my parents’ generations mystified was this one:  “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

 I know, you’re reaching for that toy you carry in your hip pocket and stare into 12 hours a day. I found the answer years ago – in a library.

Now the correct answer to that age old question is – probably none.  Woodchucks are not particularly tee-oriented, and while they can climb to find food, they prefer being on the ground.  In fact, they got the name “woodchuck” from British trappers who couldn’t quite wrap their tongues around the Cree Indian name “wuchak.”  More commonly (and accurately) known as groundhogs, these animals are closely related to squirrels, marmots, and prairie dogs which they share an affinity for burrowing.  And actually, a burrowing woodchuck can chuck dirt, in the form of tunnels that can reach five feet deep and as much as 35 feet in length.  So, based on that number, New York State wildlife expert, Richard Thomas, calculated that if a woodchuck could chuck wood, he could chuck as much as 700 pounds of the stuff.

One last question …  Have we learned anything from 21-year-old Airman 1st Class Air National Guardsman, Jack Teixeira, having posted highly classified documents on social media, ostensibly to impress his friends?

Considering the seriousness of the crucial breach of national security, the public may never be entitled to details.  By the same token, can we not at least conclude, this grave violation is the indirect result of what six decades of liberal (a.k.a. “progressive”) thinking has wrought?

 We’ve eclipsed the necessity of expertise and eliminated essential accountability. We’ve discarded proven tenets of behavior, well-established moral doctrines and ethics and reduced time-tested standards to their lowest common denominator.  In that process time-honored parenting concepts and teaching skills have been lost.  In their place, delusions of inclusion, diversity and other flights of fancy have prevailed.

Perhaps we’ll learn from the Teixeira episode, or perhaps we won’t – our allies and our enemies surely have.  


David Snell – Franklin, N.C.

Issues besides the library represent major concerns

Mr. Antoine: Thank you for bravely tackling the issues facing county government. I urge you, however, to slow down, listen carefully, and support policy derived from thorough research.

What describes your concern with the library? Do you believe that a young person will choose their sexual orientation based on the prose and pictures within one book – amid thousands? I disagree.

I was a nurse at Emory University Hospital during the early years of the AIDS crisis and I listened to the stories of dozens of young, gay men.  Not one reported they chose to become “gay” after reading a book. Most knew by age six they were “different.”  For many, that revelation led to an emotionally painful life without support of their family or community. We can do better.

We have a choice in Macon County: Make decisions based on ignorance and absurd fear or establish policy based on the voices of compassion and educated, rational information.

If you want to protect young people, then initiate red flag laws and ban assault weapons. Those issues represent major concerns.

Dismantling the library and the exceptional staff are totally off-limits.  


Beaupre Preston – Franklin, N.C.

Proper procedures followed regarding library materials

Mr. Dan Kowal’s second letter to the editor is a doubling-down on the insults and distortions of his previous letter, and requires a response. I’m glad he spoke with the Macon and Jackson librarians, but their account is only one side of the story. Ms. Hardison has only been the Macon librarian for about two months, and she was not involved in this controversy or personally knowledgeable about the vast majority of what occurred. Most of our dealings have been with the previous Macon head librarian and former FRL Director, Karen Wallace, and the newly-appointed director, Tracy Fitzmaurice.

In regard to the criticism about library forms, this is a new talking point from the FRL director, inaccurate in terms of key details, and a total and utter distraction from the issues. First, several Franklin moms and dads attended a meeting of the Macon County Library Board at the Highlands library last August. At this meeting Karen Wallace provided us with the materials reconsideration forms. She also said point-blank that submitting forms was not the only way to initiate a reconsideration of a book, its placement in a specific section, or other library policies, and that showing up to a FRL board meeting and voicing a specific concern had the same effect. We got this directly from the Fontana Regional Director at the time. So, we did both. We submitted some forms requesting books be moved from the teens section to the adult section and we attended meetings regularly and voiced our concerns. We were actually reluctant to use the forms, because we did not want that to give rise to charges that we wanted to remove or ban books, because that is not our goal. (Did you hear me? We do not want to ban or remove books. Full stop.) Ironically, now Mrs. Fitzmaurice, Mr. Kowal and others want to make this debate about paperwork: “You didn’t submit the forms! You didn’t follow procedure!” If we had submitted more forms, we would have been criticized for that.

As to books being “properly vetted” as Mr. Kowal claims, that is highly debatable. We have spoken to the head librarians about their process of selection, and they’ve admitted that library staff do not read books before they are purchased and shelved, even if they have a lot of sexual content and are placed in the teen’s section. They give a lot of deference to glowing reviews found on various online sites and awards given to books, many of which are given specifically to books that feature sexual topics, such as the Stonewall Award. These things carry more weight with them than the concerns of actual parents in the community, and are cited in answer to our forms as to why they won’t move explicit books to the adult section.

Mr. Kowal goes on to accuse us of demonizing the library staff and “the LGBT community.” This is false, and an example of his demonization of us. We have never demonized LGBT people. That is a lie meant to “escalate fear, division, and disinformation within our community” – the very thing he accuses us of doing. And regarding library staff, we have clearly and consistently pointed out the flaws in their selection criteria for minors and their display policy, and challenged some of their actions and biases, but we have not attacked or vilified them personally.

Mr. Kowal slams concerned citizens for pointing out that the Fontana Regional Library directors and board have implemented policies that sexualize children. Wikipedia defines “sexualize” as “to make something sexual in character or quality or to become aware of sexuality.” When a child picks up a book from a display in the children’s section entitled “Julian Is A Mermaid”and sees illustrations of a little boy around age 5 repeatedly undressing down to his underwear, donning women’s clothes, and joining a pride parade with adult drag queens, that is sexualization. When a teenager (or God-forbid, an even younger child) picks up “Gender Queer” (now shelved in the adult section, but displayed in the teens section this past September), and views illustrations of two girls engaging in oral sex with the assistance of a wearable dildo, that is sexualization. Whether they intended to sexualize children is beside the point. Sexualization is the clear effect.

I’m glad that the FRL board and the Macon County Commissioners are going to sit down and attempt to renegotiate the terms of our agreement. It’s outrageous that after all we have invested in the Fontana library system over the past 79 years, they would confiscate all the library resources in our Franklin and Nantahala libraries (but not the Highlands library, oddly enough) if we voted to leave. That, and the policies that have subjected children to sexually explicit and sexualizing material have got to be seriously revised. We have followed the process, now we entrust this to our Commissioners to resolve in the best manner possible.  


Rebecca Tipton – Franklin, N.C.