Letters for September 3, 2020


The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of  opinions. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected on the basis of the opinions expressed. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. Letters are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of the publisher, editor or staff of The Macon County News. 

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: For the months of September and October and through November 3, 2020, it will be the policy of The Macon County News to restrict Letters not to include references to upcoming elections or mention of candidates. If you wish to run a paid political advertisement we will be happy to run one for you but as for September and October and through November 3, no more references will be accepted.

– Betsey Gooder, Publisher

Macon needs ‘after-hours’ Covid-19 testing

  As a concerned Franklin resident and a registered nurse (over 50 years), I contacted the [Macon County] Public Health department (two times) to express the need for drive-thru Covid-19 testing in our community. A spokesman for the MCPH explained saying they did not have the man power.

I contacted Dr. Mandy Cohen, DHHS of NC sharing my concern for any help possible.

Some days later when I received The Franklin Press (Aug. 12, 2020) and on the front page was “Free Covid Test on Aug. 13,” conducted by Macon County Emergency Management and Macon County Public Health at Macon Middle School as a drive-thru on Thursday, Aug. 13, from 8-11 a.m. I was elated. Thank you MCPH and EMS.

Now we need to work on more drive-thru for Covid-19 testing in the late afternoon and weekends, Saturday or Sunday for the Hispanic, Asian, people of color, migrant workers and others who work early morning to dark. They deserve the free testing, and what about testing for children. As I remember in March/April Macon County received over $500,000 for testing of Covid-19 and other related Covid-19 needs. NC government is still stating more testing be done so we can manage this virus. We have the funds. With the outbreaks in the schools, Franklin needs to be very vigilant.

There is another area that Macon residents in Franklin should be very vigilant about. The wearing of mask (covering nose). By not wearing the mask it can spread virus and possible harm your friend, mom, dad, brother, sister, grandparents and may cause death. It’s not about your constitutional rights. It’s about love and caring about your fellow man.

There are so many fine, caring people living here. Let’s do what we can as following rules – mask worn properly, distancing and washing our hands. We can do it.

 Sarah T. Wilks – Franklin, N.C.

Aerial spraying must permanently cease 

  Recent articles in regional newspapers have addressed complaints that have surfaced during Duke Energy’s aerial spraying of herbicides over their transmission lines in Macon, Jackson and Swain counties. According to Duke, they have temporarily paused the program while they determine the best way to notify customers who could be affected by the chemicals descending from their contractor’s helicopter.

Duke has said that since the chemical mix of the spray is 90% water, it is relatively safe. Not true. Trycera, Method, Escort & Imazapyr – chemicals used by Duke in the mix – can have devastating effects, even in low concentrations. A neighbor on the Macon-Jackson line had the spray drift into a portion of her fruit orchard. The photos she sent showed trees completely dead and blackened the following day. This is not a mix that you want in the soil of your garden or in your drinking water. Warnings on the safety sheets for these chemicals say, “Do not allow to get into surface water, drains and ground water. Avoid contact with skin, eyes and clothing.”

Duke also maintains that the same chemicals have been rigorously tested and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. This is quite questionable, since according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the EPA has essentially rubber-stamped more than 10,000 pesticides and herbicides for industrial use during the past three years, the majority being hazardous to public health.

Duke would have you believe that this method of spraying is applied with precision within their 100 foot right-of-way. It is far less accurate than they would have you believe when the helicopter is spraying from 400 feet altitude and winds up to 10 mph are allowed. Drift occurs under these conditions.

As an engineer familiar with wire and cable manufacture and installation, I appreciate the need for efficiency in the field. However, there comes a point when public safety becomes paramount. Duke states that the safety of their employees is their primary concern.  Should not the safety of their customers be at least as important?

If you have been adversely affected by Duke’s aerial herbicide program, or simply feel that it is a hazardous operation which should not continue, please get in touch with the agency which oversees Duke’s program:  Dwight Seal, Western District Manager, NC Dept of Agriculture & Consumer Services, (336) 401-7154  or email Dwight.Seal@ncagr.gov.

 Doug Woodward – Franklin, N.C.

Giants fall when the cause is just

Sometime around 1000 AD, the Philistines threatened the armies of Israel by sending out Goliath, a monster of a man standing 9 feet 9 inches tall. The man wore a coat of armor weighing 125 pounds. His spearhead weighed 15 pounds. Every day, morning and evening, he came out and defied the armies of Israel, and their God, saying, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.  If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”

All of the men of Israel are cowering in fear of Goliath. Even Saul, who stood head and shoulders taller than the rest of the men, and who had his own suit of armor, apparently lacks the temerity to face this giant. He is dismayed and greatly afraid like the rest.

David, a young shepherd, probably about 17, comes to visit his older brothers. Three of them are a part of the army of Israel. They, like Goliath, show no respect for their youngest sibling. They scold him and accuse him of just wanting to see the battle, even though he has been bringing them food from home. While he is resupplying and talking with his brothers, Goliath comes out and gives his spiel. David hears him. And while the other men are fleeing for their lives, David listens while some of them tell him that the king has offered great riches and his own daughter’s hand in marriage to the man who fights and kills him. David’s response is quite different from the others. He says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

When David’s oldest brother hears this, he is angry and once again chides him.

But Saul hears about it, and summons David. He tries to talk him out of it, warning him that he is not able to go up against this giant, who has been a man of war from his youth. David shares his experience with killing both lion and bear when they tried to steal his sheep, and then threatened him. He told Saul that this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he is defying the armies of the living God. David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” When Saul realizes that David will not be dissuaded, he offers him his own armor. David tries it on, but finds it too cumbersome. Then David goes down to the brook and picks up five smooth stones. The giant scoffs at him, and says he will feed him to the birds and the beasts. But David says, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.  This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,  and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.” Sling in hand, he runs toward Goliath, puts a stone in his sling, and flings it at the giant, striking him in the forehead. It sinks in and drops him. David runs up, grabs Goliath’s sword and cuts off his head.

Another giant, the State of California and the County of Los Angeles have been threatening Grace Community Church and its pastor, Dr. John MacArthur with $1000/day fines for meeting indoors in person, without masks or “social distancing” to worship God as they have done for 51 years, until forced to close due to the threat of Covid-19. They remained closed, until gradually the people began to realize that the threat was not nearly as great as it had been portrayed. They started coming back, of their own free will, and in defiance of the governor’s edicts, and the county’s threats, until they were once again packed with worshipers, some 3,000 of them by the end of July. Interestingly, there has not been a single case of Covid reported among these people. The church is now suing the State and the County for attempting three times to violate their 1st Amendment rights. On Aug. 20, Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff correctly found that there is no court order prohibiting the church from meeting indoors. The county will try again, but the church is holding firmly, because church is essential.  

  Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

Science surrounding Covid-19 has evolved

In the August 20 Macon County News, Stephen Crosby of Franklin wrote a letter asking people to do their own research, which in a general sense I applaud. However he goes on to specifically discuss doing one’s own research on the issue of wearing masks. He starts with a quote from an article by Klompas et al in the New England Journal of Medicine from May 21, 2020, which stated, “We know that wearing a mask outside of healthcare facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection … The chance of catching Covid-19 from  a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal.” He then goes on to make a variety of political statements, castigating bureaucrats, the national media, and criminal elites, among others. Perhaps this is his real agenda. Nevertheless it’s important that people be clear about what the science says. 

The quotes in his letter, while taken out of context (the article was about universal masking in hospitals, not in the public), are still correct but miss the point. Science evolves, and the science around Covid-19 has evolved rapidly. At one time (including when the Klompas article was published) we thought this virus was spread from person to person mainly by exhaled droplets. We have since learned that it can be airborne, and within enclosed public spaces, e.g., restaurants and bars, it can remain airborne and spread to people not in close contact with an infected person. In addition, the main purpose of wearing a mask is to prevent the mask wearer from infecting others, not to protect the mask wearer him or herself. So even though these quotes are true, they don’t counter the overwhelming prevailing scientific evidence that wearing masks when in public (indoors always, and outdoors if you cannot remain 6 feet from others) offers substantial benefit to all of us, by limiting the amount of virus spread by infected people. Tens or hundreds of thousands of deaths could be prevented if 95+% of us wear masks in public. One of those deaths could be me or Mr. Crosby. Isn’t that reason enough?  

Richard Ellin MD – Highlands, N.C.

N.C. may become known as ‘The Reparations State’

Tennessee is called the Volunteer State because of the prominent role played by its volunteer soldiers during the War of 1812.

North Carolina may one day be called the Reparations State the way things are headed. On July 14, Asheville became the first American municipality to back the idea of reparations for its black residents.  Providence, R.I., followed on July 15, but Durham, Burlington and other N.C. cities soon jumped in line.  Part of the reason for our state’s activism in this area may be the powerful presence and influence of William A. Darrity Jr., an African-American economics professor at Duke University.

Sandy Darrity, as he is known, quickly expressed his skepticism for the “piecemeal actions” of various towns.  To be effective, he wrote, reparations demands an expenditure by the federal government of between $10 and $12 trillion.

How did Darrity come up with this price tag?  Even if you hate statistics, pay close attention. This is really important. Darrity explained it all for inthesetimes.com in June 2019:  “Data from the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances indicates that the mean black net worth per household was $138,000, while mean white household net worth was $934,000, a difference of close to $800,000.”  The $10 trillion-plus is needed for direct payments to “erase the $800,000 wealth gap.”

Wait a minute, you say, most of my friends are white and I don’t know one with a household worth of $934,000.

Well, friend, you don’t know your statistics!  Darrity wrote “mean net worth,” which means that whites are being averaged in with Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and most of the other 60-plus billionaires in the U.S.

The median net worth of American households – meaning half are higher and half are lower – is a different story:  about $170,000 for white families and about $17,000 for black families.  Note that the racial gap ratio actually just went up from less than 7-to-1 to 10-to-1, but here’s the point:  Darrity and his many powerful followers are not advocating any payout for poor whites, but $800,000 per household for black Americans descended from one or more slaves.

Where will this leave the descendants of Mrs. Betsy Walker, one of the major slavers of early American history and a woman of unmixed African ancestry?  A fascinating article by Amanda Lee Brooks in National Review (May 14, 1990, pp. 36-40) explored how a respectable chunk of the trans-Atlantic slave trade was “firmly in the hands of” – drum roll – black women.

Sandy Darrity has just produced a 424-page tome published by UNC Press which lays out the case for $10 trillion-plus reparations and which is already being touted as a “landmark” by the establishment media.

Let us be crystal clear.  Sandy Darrity explicitly rejects any universal programs such as “baby bonds” for all children of low-earning parents. Why? Because helping poor white children will not “erase the $800,000 wealth gap,” a statistical phantom which tyrannizes his mind.  The gap which exists between Mr. Bill Black and Mr. Joe White plus Mr. Jeff Bezos.

It was Mark Twain who popularized the line about “liars, damned liars and statisticians.”

A closing note. Sports Illustrated has estimated that 78% of NFL and 60% of NBA players are broke or close to it within a few years of leaving their sports.  Average NFL salary:  $2.1 million.  Average NBA salary:  $7.7 million.  (Guess that’s why fewer of the latter go broke.)

Median household annual incomes for 2018:  Whites $65,900.  Blacks $41,500.  Asians $87,200.   


Patrick Wallace – Franklin, N.C.

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