Re: A state of surveillance
It's noteworthy to include another substantive benefactor of the PATRIOT Act's vast scope of influence ("A state of surveillance," Sept. 14): the hundreds of local and state law enforcement agencies that have received federal money to fight "domestic terror." This includes combating such social evils as child pornography (however it is defined, and that varies from state to state), the Internet predation of children (however a child is defined, and that varies from state to state) and the purported war against human trafficking (a euphemism for corralling "illegal" immigrants).
These areas of increased government action, particularly at the local level, was largely financed by PATRIOT Act funds. State and local governments have been wildly successful at using these areas of increased police power to lull voters into knee-jerk affirmations about the need to combat social "evils" that are generally unsupported by statistical data or serious academic study.
Countless lives have been destroyed in the process, and, saddest of all, the media will rarely investigate the scourge for fear of public outrage. There is a story here, if anyone has the courage to report it.
Robin W. Vanderwall
Re: Defense of Marriage Act
The people who are decimating education and human services—who have given us the right to carry concealed handguns into parks and bars—have taken aim against same-sex marriage ("General Assembly underhandedly passes DOMA," Sept. 14).
What heartens me is the anger this decision has generated among straight allies. Twice since the bill passed, two colleagues have come to me to express rage and ask what they can do.
The answer is simple: Channel outrage, sway people opposed to civil rights and vote for fairness. If anger motivates action, this is the time to stoke the fire.
For the LGBT community, the silver lining is twofold. Today's young people support gay equality; they are tomorrow's leaders. On civil rights, the U.S. Constitution trumps state law. If people speak out, the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately override anti-gay marriage legislation like it erased homo- and heterosexual anti-sodomy laws in 2003.
The situation is more bleak for the uninsured, for students and teachers whose dreams are evaporating and more than 2 million North Carolinians without enough food to eat. Their hope rests in our anger too.