Resolution should honor Riley

To the editor:

Natalie Howell, mother of Riley Howell who was killed after tackling an attacker at UNC Charlotte, gave a speech at Haywood County Commissioners meeting on Jan. 21.

She stated that the shooter who killed her son was carrying several extended magazines and used a 9 mm. gun to mount his attack. Riley was shot by six bullets. She is convinced that extended magazines have no place in civilian use.

She further stated that the shooter should never have been able to purchase a gun because of his mental state. People who want responsible gun ownership should be for thorough background checks.

Those attending gave her a standing ovation.

Wouldn’t a resolution by the Haywood County Commissioners to support thorough background checks and make extended magazines unlawful be a fitting way to honor Riley Howell for his sacrifice?

Such a resolution should be sent up to the state legislature requesting a similar resolution, which could be forwarded to the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate urging passage of laws to that effect in honor of all who have been victims of gun violence.

Judy Starnes


Letter missed the point

To the editor:

A recent letter-writer missed some important items from the Jan. 16 GOP meet and greet at party headquarters. First, he missed that there are four Republican candidates running for the two seats for county commissioner not three.

Second, he did not list my answers to his objection of the Animal Shelter project. I told the attendees my conservative approach to solving the dilemma of a new shelter. The old shelter was small, old and substandard.

We secured a very low interest USDA loan for the project. It was one of the lowest interest rates ever approved. Our $139,000 yearly debt service payment costs each resident $2.30 per year.

Since we use sales tax revenue for debt service, a citizen who buys about $30 dollars of pet food raises enough revenue to cover their share of our payment for a year. What I didn’t have time to say was that Sarge’s is our partner that handles adoptions and that saves the county money.

The third missed point was that Terry Ramey’s numbers were off a bit. The old shelter was designed for 21 dogs and had 35 cat cages. The new shelter was designed for 48 dogs and has 67 cat cages. What he also missed was Ramey told us that he would have built a bigger shelter. That’s more cost.

The writer also missed my point that our shelter is now a “no kill shelter” which means over 90 percent of the animals are released alive. I am very proud of the work they and their partners do to ensure animals are saved and not euthanized.

A good conservative should also be influenced by his faith and I said we should take care of all God’s creatures and not just kill them for expediency sake. I quoted Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regards the life of his animal.’’

Some people have different ideas on how a conservative should govern. My commitment and goal is to always look for conservative, low cost and efficient solutions to our county’s needs. The animal shelter is an asset to our community’s quality of life and to build it was the right thing to do.

Kevin Ensley


Sanctuary status is not needed

To the editor:

The Second Amendment is an important part of the Bill of Rights. It is protected by over 200 years of judicial precedent and the power of the Supreme Court. The Haywood County Commissioners have no reason nor authority to be involved. To try to be a ‘sanctuary’ for gun rights or for illegal aliens is a step that weakens our belief in the power of our Federal government.

Ms. B. G. Johnson

Maggie Valley

Impeach Pelosi

To the editor:

This is a two-sentence letter.

Yoo hoo, House and Senate, impeach the witch Nancy Pelosi.

JoAnna and Richard Swanson


With liberty and justice for all

To the editor:

Liberty. What does it mean to you? To me, it means that I am afforded all of the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech was meant to restrict speech only for things like shouting fire in a crowded theatre. It does not allow for speech or opinions to be censored for “community standards” as administered by Facebook, the government or even if it offends a single individual.

The classification of hate speech is nothing more than a political construct to pander to individuals and splinter groups.

Justice. To me it means a truthful administration of accountability for one’s actions. My definition hinges on the word truth. Without truth, there can not be justice. Where does the lack of truth or deviation from the truth or misspoken words or lies collide with justice?

In any court proceeding all witnesses and an accused are put under oath to tell the truth. Perjury occurs when they violate that oath. Should they not be held accountable for the “untruth?”

I believe not only should we punish those that commit perjury, we should put everyone that participates in any government proceeding, including sessions of congress under oath and prosecute offenders. How can anyone receive justice if the prosecution and defense representatives are not required to tell the truth?

Then there’s the pledge of allegiance itself.

This should be recited at the start of any and all meetings of elected officials. If their allegiance is not to the United States they should immediately be removed from office.

The First Amendment is the foundation principle of our Republic.

Bruce Gardner


Become an engaged citizen

To the editor:

I would like to commend The Mountaineer for its coverage of the recent county commissioners meeting.

During that meeting there was significant public comment on a proposed Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution. While there were supporting statements from many in attendance, it is important to acknowledge that they do not necessarily speak for the majority of Haywood County.

We all need to practice our citizenship, following the work of the county council and our particular municipality. It takes a small sacrifice of time to attend or watch a video of the meetings or read posted minutes.

We can voice our opinions by email or public testimony. We have much to celebrate in our community — our schools, our public safety services, our hospital, our social safety net, and much to protect, our environment and way of life.

Our county commissioners and elected city officials are good watchdogs. Let’s help them out by engaging as citizens of this community.

Mary Thomas


Climate change revisited

Climate change is due to increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Oil companies have confused Americans about its cause, saying the science is unclear.

That’s untrue; 97 percent of climate scientists agree: humans — by burning coal, oil, gas and forests — are responsible for climate change. Scientific debate is not “is it happening?” but “at what point is it uncorrectable?” The issue is political, not scientific.

Globally, 2016-19 are the four hottest years on record. The 10 hottest years have all occurred since 2005. Why worry about a few degrees? If the ocean surface temperature is below 80 degrees, hurricanes can’t form; at 84 degrees a category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds is possible. Between 2005-19 the frequency of category 5 hurricanes is six times greater than in previous recorded history.

Melting rate of the Greenland icecap has accelerated. It’s now seven times faster than in 1992, roughly doubling every 10 years. If this acceleration rate continues, the Greenland icecap may be gone in 100 years. People now alive may see sea level rise 20 feet. If so, the oceans will cover every coastal beach and seaport on earth; 400 million people will be displaced.

Ice reflects solar radiation. If Greenland’s icecap is gone, temperatures will rise faster; more ice melts, etc. (Google “positive feedback loop.”) If unchecked, the Antarctic icecap will eventually melt; sea level will rise another 200-250 feet. Most of North Carolina east of Raleigh and 90 percent of Florida will be under water.

Back to 2020, the tundra is starting to melt. (Google “drunken forests.”) There is twice as much carbon stored in the first 10 feet of tundra as there is in the atmosphere. Methane (CH4), from rotting vegetation, now trapped in ice, is escaping. Methane is 28 times more powerful of a warming agent than CO2. If only a few percent of this trapped methane is released into the atmosphere, global temperature will increase, which will cause more release, which will increase temperature… etc. (another “positive feedback loop.”)

Weather patterns are changing, consistent with climate change models which predict wild swings in weather. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey dumped 50 inches of rain on Houston — its third “500-year flood” in three years. In “normal times” the odds against that in a 3-year period are 1.25 million:1. The Midwest experienced drought in 2018, epic flooding in early 2019, then drought again in mid-2019.

Many scientists attribute increased wildfire frequency and severity to climate change. California has suffered wildfires forever, but it’s worsening due to hotter weather which dries forests and promotes windier conditions. Fires have tripled in the past 20 years (average 7+ million acres/year.)

Damage during 2017-8 exceeded $25 billion, equal to a category 5 hurricane. Currently, Australia’s fires have burned 20 million acres and counting.

While many in Congress dismiss climate change as a hoax, the Pentagon acknowledges it. (Google “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.”) A high-level panel concluded, “As military leaders, we cannot wait for certainty. Failing to act because a warning isn’t precise enough is unacceptable.” Listening, Congress?

Increasing atmospheric CO2 has caused warming to date. Failing action, warming will continue and may trigger effects of positive feedback loops as mentioned above. Recovery may become impossible. Some say we can’t afford to switch from fossil fuels. I say, we can’t afford not to.

Continued global warming isn’t a matter of comfort; it’s a matter of wrecking the global economy and millions of human lives. Disbelieving in gravity doesn’t exempt us from its effects.

What can you do? To start, vote out those who ignore climate change.

Everett Baucom lives in Cruso.

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