<blog photo>

The Opinion Shop

Welcome to The Opinion Shop, where members of The N&O’s editorial board offer an eclectic array of their individual opinion products and give you an opportunity to offer your own.

Choose a blog

This and that letters

Bookmark and Share

We get more than 1,400 letters a month and have room to print fewer
than 280. Sometimes we move letters into the publishing pipeline only
to have them overrun by other things. Here are some of those letters.


Having worked with youthful criminal offenders for decades, it has been my observation that it is rare indeed that the nexus of such behavior is not rooted in dysfunctional family dynamics. Youth gangs are ostensibly surrogate families, providing membership, identity and support that families of origin most likely didn’t offer. It’s my contention that the prevention of this activity lies in a relatively healthy family environment and that focusing on interdiction of gangs, albeit helpful, is essentially closing the barn door long after the horse is gone.

As Margaret Mead stated, “The solution to adult problems tomorrow depends on large measure upon how our children grow up today.”

Adam S. Adams Jr.


I ponder the direction my life would have taken if I had been born into the Third World. Would I find the means to emigrate into a distant land of plenty? Would I dream for more, but slowly accept what little I had?

There are few options available to the children of the Third World. Poverty, political instability and environmental degradation have reached out with the bitter hands of despair and seized the dreams of youth.

The complex problems have not recently germinated but have been growing for many years. The people of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, have faced enslavement by the French, steep debt, rule by draconian regimes and natural disaster.

There was no simple path to where they now are and no simple solution. Harsh events entwined and stole independence from the people and the dreams of the youth. To be born into this world has no comparison to our affluent first world lives.

As children, we are told by our country and our parents that we can do anything, and they put forth so much to see us succeed. We have the autonomy to decide our path. Our dreams have no bounds. It is difficult to imagine a world where life is mere survival. We as a species must ensure our basic needs before we ever look for anything more and some never see a world beyond mere necessities.

I cannot imagine the country that never dreams. The essence of youth simply does not exist in these dark corners of the globe. If I were born a child of these lands, I would watch the sunlight of each evening fade away, birds flying over my head. I would look into the distant sky and try to find a way to dream.

Jason Brown


I must respond to your Jan. 19 article “Miller: GOP hypocritical to fight banks fee.” It is true that Republicans had a similar bill (not the exact same idea) a few years ago, but there was a major difference. The GOP plan included Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the duo that backed more sub-prime loans than all of the banks put together. Unfortunately this tax-the-big-banks proposal by President Barack Obama neglected to include Fannie and Freddie, the two institutions most responsible for our nation’s financial collapse.

Funny how U.S. Rep. Brad Miller gives us only half of the story. The GOP would have loved to have gotten on board had the proposal included Fannie and Freddie. Of course, though, there is no chance of that ever happening while Rep. Barney Frank and the Democrats are running things. It was, after all, Frank who belittled Republican efforts to rein in Fannie and Freddie years ago, while it may still have been possible to prevent the housing bubble from bursting.

Paul Kretzschmar


Jim Jenkins’ advice for N.C. State is well taken (column, Jan 14). As executive director for the Council of UNC Alumni Association Presidents since the early ’90s, I have seen many UNC System chancellors come and go. Jenkins, however, nailed truth about future N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson and has given good advice to “go from here.”

Jenkins’ four steps were simple: Don’t dwell on the recent past, promote the good things already in place, be transparent on any hiccups and listen to the common sense of wise graduates.

Several comments are in order: (1) It’s good to hear support from a Chapel Hill grad and The N&O; (2) N.C. State is directly touching hundreds of thousands of people every day; (3) The problems of the past year arose from broader political issues, unfortunately snaring good people like Chancellor James Oblinger and Provost Larry Nielson; (4) Having met Woodson, I think he is potentially an extraordinary hire who will fit well.

Thanks go to Search Committee Chair Bob Jordan and wise leaders (and my heroes) like Bill Friday, Jim Hunt and Erskine Bowles.

N.C. State will indeed “go well from here.”

Robert P. Kennel
Holly Springs


Why is Renee Ellmers qualified to be a member of Congress? That’s the question she should be answering. Instead she has chosen the low road right out of the gate.

Ellmers states that Rep. Bob Etheridge “talks like he is one of us. Then he goes back to Washington and votes with the far-left liberals” (“Candidates set sights on Etheridge,” Jan. 18 news article). This implies that he will lie to his constituents. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over the last year, I have met Etheridge several times, including two town hall meetings in August. What I saw was a man who spoke truthfully and with a great deal of respect, even when those he was speaking to did not.

If you want to show up Bob Etheridge, you need to do a lot better than this.

Scott Taylor

Cars View All
Find a Car
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Homes View All
Find a Home

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of newsobserver.com. Click here to register or to log in.

About the blogger

Burgetta Eplin Wheeler is the associate editor of the Editorial pages, responsible for the Other Opinion page. She occasionally writes editorials. She can be reached at bwheeler@newsobserver.com or 829-4825.