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The threat of development

The Journal, in its May 13 editorial (“We are destroying our future”), stated that humans are destroying the natural environment. We threaten many plant and animal species with extinction. You called for drastic action to prevent this, though not specifying what action that should be. One reason you gave for this loss of biodiversity is the destruction of natural habitats through human activities such as farming and logging. But there’s another activity that deserves mention, and it hits very close to home: development.

Consider one local charismatic species: the wood thrush. It has a glorious, ringing song. As its name implies, the wood thrush lives in the woods. But as we fell our trees to make way for housing developments and other things, we eliminate the places the wood thrush needs to survive. What wood patches remain are often too small to support succcessful nesting.

Not surprisingly, there aren’t as many wood thrushes around as there used to be. Wood thrush numbers have declined by at least half in the last few decades.

Climate change gets all the press, but we can’t neglect old-fashioned development. Perhaps the Journal can suggest specific action to limit such habitat loss.

Whatever action you recommend won’t be easy. Developers need profits. Government needs property taxes. Everyone needs a place to live and a place to work. So the wood thrush, like so many other species, gets the short end.

David Shuford

Winston-Salem

Above the law?

Only one question is important right now: Is the president above the law?

If Trump is above the law, then so is the next president, whether it be Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or anyone else. If President Trump is above the law, then we no longer have a democracy; we have a dictatorship.

If the president is not above the law, then Trump must hand over the required documents and stop instructing members of his administration to ignore legal subpoenas. It doesn’t matter if he thinks House members’ motives are political — it doesn’t matter if their motives are political — they are duly elected and they have the authority to investigate the concerns expressed in the Mueller report.

I can’t believe that Rep. Justin Amash is the only Republican who is concerned with the rule of law. Surely there are others who, even if they don’t like it, will acknowledge Congress’ authority and the fact that Trump has to play by the rules, just like everyone else.

Siri Bruccilleri

Winston-Salem

An incomplete list

The writer of the May 16 letter “Reminders” listed various words and names that remind “us” of slavery. He needs to become aware of the names of actual slaves and of nameless slaves who lived in Surry County. Slavery should not be a subject of wordplay.

An incomplete list, obviously, the following precious human beings were slaves who were bought and sold in Surry County. Their names, including unnamed infant property, can be found in the county’s deed records at the courthouse in Dobson. Their names and the records of the nameless should never be purged from our language or our public records: Charlotte, boy, Levina, Armsted, Unnamed, Preston, Quin, Samuel, Zilpha, Unnamed, Ansel, girl, Barbary, Unnamed, John, Lucindy, Moriah, Quin, Solomon, Unnamed, Stokes, gal, Winston, Enoch, Isaac, Lissy, Moses, Unnamed, Pleasant, infant, Ursula, Violet, Wash, child, Henderson, Jim, Miles, Ransom, Sally, Tennessee, Unnamed, Caroline, Columbus, Martha, Parrot, Pompy, Unnamed, Unnamed, Unnamed …

Ken Badgett

Dobson

Please submit letters online, with full name, address and telephone number, to Letters@wsjournal.com or mail letters to: The Readers’ Forum, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101. Letters are subject to editing and are limited to 250 words. For more guidelines and advice on writing letters, go to journalnow.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

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