The rifle rules
I suppose the lesson of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is that a man with an AR-15 (or something like it) is king in the United States. He can travel to an El Paso Walmart to expressly kill Mexicans. He can engage in mass slaughter in Las Vegas. He can mow down Jewish congregants in their Pittsburgh synagogue.
Does anybody really doubt why Baby Face Kyle strapped on a semi-automatic weapon when he decided he was needed at what was primarily a Black protest?
Now we learn that the boy with the rifle will pay no price for the killings. The judge even dismissed the gun-possession charge.
It is insane what “we the people” tolerate in our sadly broken land.
M. Craig Fuller
Why now on masks?
As a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) who lives in Guilford County, I am surprised to hear that the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted to repeal the countywide mask mandate on Nov. 15. Rescinding the mask mandate is a bold decision as we are entering the holiday season. The U.S. has followed Europe’s trend in the past, and Europe is currently experiencing a COVID-19 surge.
Our local front-line health care workers have sacrificed and worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic to care for the public. I would urge the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to be proactive and reconsider a countywide mask mandate until we can get through the holiday season and have a higher percentage of the population vaccinated. According to covid.cdc.gov, community transmission in Guilford County is still reported as high, and only 64.1% of those aged 12 and over are fully vaccinated.
As a nurse who has seen how this pandemic has overwhelmed our health care workers, I urge the public to get vaccinated, get the booster if they are already vaccinated and continue wearing masks through the holiday season. Let’s unite as a community and continue to fight COVID-19.
Sandra Pena, MSN, CRNA
A strong budget
This year’s state budget is perhaps the most transformative in North Carolina’s history. It is balanced, responsible and provides funding for the core services of government.
Funding for public education increases by $1.5 billion. State employees, including teachers, receive an average 5% pay increase, along with bonus pay. UNC tuition is kept below the national average and record funding is provided for our community college system. State retirees receive a 5% cost-of-living bonus.
There is an increase in funding for health care services, including an expansion of Medicaid coverage for people with disabilities. Postpartum care for mothers is extended to one year.
We also enacted tax cuts, including a reduction in personal income taxes, increased standard deductions (which primarily benefits lower-income families) and a gradual elimination of the corporate tax (which is passed to consumers). This will allow hardworking families to keep more of the money they earn.
In addition, this budget invests over $6 billion in infrastructure projects for transportation, state parks, education facilities, broadband and National Guard facilities — all without incurring any debt.
This budget will continue our efforts to make North Carolina the best place to live, work and raise a family.
Rep. Jon Hardister
The writer, a Guilford County Republican, is N.C. House majority whip.
What will we do?
What did decent Germans do in the 1930s as they saw their country descend into madness?
Did they wring their hands and talk to one another — until they realized that they had to watch just whom they talked to?
Did they call their elected representatives — until they realized that their representatives had no concern for their constituents, only for aligning themselves with whom they thought could give them even more power?
Did they write letters to the editor? And what difference does that make, anyway?
What are decent Americans doing as they watch, day by day, decision by decision, our country become, or continue to be, a country that commits its own kind of atrocities on its citizens?
What do we do when our Republican officials consider only what they can do to consolidate and strengthen their power and the power of their financial backers?
Whither goest thou, America?
Cynthia Strauff Schaub