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Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, February 26, 2019
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Letters to the Editor for Tuesday, February 26, 2019

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Cline tone-deaf on gun policies

Rep. Ben Cline is to be commended for holding a “town hall” meeting in Lynchburg last week, thus breaking with the tradition of his predecessor. But, similar to former Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Cline seems determined to disregard the wishes of those he is supposed to represent.

He was asked why, since a vast majority of U.S. citizens want strong background checks for gun ownership, he would oppose them. His response was that universal background checks would be “too burdensome for law-abiding citizens.”

Several people in that room, listening to him, have themselves lost loved ones to gun violence. That is why they were there. How do you think they felt? How do we weigh “burdensome” against the loss of even one life? Their congressman stood there and said that it would be a nuisance to try to protect the lives of innocent people.

If we wish to drive a car, we are required to know the laws and pass a test. Does Cline regard this as “too burdensome” a requirement? Can he explain the urgency of gun ownership that would preclude waiting a few days for a permit?

The congressman repeated that he “did not want to place additional hurdles in the way of legal, law-abiding citizens.” Does he not realize that 90 percent of us legal, law-abiding citizens have been asking for background checks for years?

SOLVEIG KJESETH

Lynchburg

The death of due process

Actor Jussie Smollett is the latest example the ruinous pairing of politics and victimhood. Woke social warriors and opportunistic politicians trip over themselves to exploit the latest “victim” to advance a narrative of pervasive racism, sexism and homophobia in America. These silence all who dare reserve judgment, think critically or demand due process of law. The result has been catastrophic for real victims and those falsely accused of crimes.

Few false allegations are unequivocally disproved in a week by an army of investigators with surveillance video, as in the Smollett case. Victims and those who falsely identify as such are often indistinguishable. Even after lengthy investigations and subsequent trials, the outcome of an alleged sexual assault or hate crime may rest with the testimony of the victim alone. It is unsurprising that many accused are found “not guilty.” Proving someone guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” is an intentionally difficult burden, designed to minimize the frightening possibility of incarcerating and shaming someone for a crime he did not commit. How many innocents may rightly be sacrificed in the pursuit of justice for a victim? The answer guaranteed in the Constitution is “none.”

This principle to some, rather than the foundation of the world’s fairest justice system, is another prejudiced aspect of a corrupt and racist government. Evidence is an obstacle not a path to justice for victims and every real or fake allegation should be believed without question. The result is increased skepticism of real victims among the rational majority, shamed to silence, and the public ruin of those falsely accused.

AARON PIKE

Lynchburg

Nuclear’s not there yet

In response to the Feb. 22 letter to the editor, “Fairness for nuclear power,” I applaud writer Steven Selby for pointing out “Electricity produced by burning fossil fuels ... does not include the costs of its climate impacts in its pricing.” Shouldn’t that same standard apply to nuclear power?

If the true price of generating nuclear power included disposal of the spent fuel and tending it for 1,000 years or more, decommissioning old power plants and cleaning up after inevitable accidents, the cost would be prohibitive. Because nuclear energy does not put greenhouse gases into the atmosphere doesn’t mean that it is safe for human and environmental health, either now or for countless generations to come.

Nuclear needs to be developed to a point where its waste and contamination can be taken care of within the time frame of the human generation during which it is produced. Until then, let’s promote safe, efficient, economical and climate-friendly solar and wind power.

MARY GRAF

Concord

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