Cherokee Scout, Murphy, North Carolina - News for Subscribers
Point Counter Point: Should the United States build a “wall” across our Southern border?

“No” – By Kevin Puskar       

       

            Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s rallying cry of “Who’s gonna build the wall?” was always followed with a thunderous, “Mexico,” by his supporters. He remarked that his skills as the best negotiator would propel Mexico to pay whether they knew it or not.

            One of his former most ardent supporters, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, said in an interview with cable television host Bill Maher on Jan. 26 that Trump “lied to all of us for 18 months.” She wanted the wall.

            Trump lied and because he claimed not one penny from American taxpayers would be used for his wall. Mr. President, Mexico was never going to pay for a wall. Neither should American taxpayers. Period.

            The complete wall is estimated to be 1954 miles long with a calculated cost of $21.6 billion, as reported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Congressional Democrats estimate the wall to cost $70 billion, with annual maintenance costs of $150 million. Border security experts advise that utilizing an array of methods less dependent upon a physical barrier would be much more effective.

            The U.S. House and the Senate agree on effective border security, but not a 1954-mile wall. A CBS Poll in mid-November 2018 found that 59 percent of Americans oppose the wall.

            Trump has characterized those seeking asylum as murderers, rapists, diseased and embedded Muslim fighters. Following that thinking, we might consider erecting walls across America to restrict the movement of killers, violent criminals and homegrown terrorists ready to commit unspeakable evils against their fellow citizens.

            It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of the land needed to build the wall is either state or privately owned, or Native American tribal land. The Trump administration has said it will seize the land through eminent domain, with Trump threatening to use the “military version” of the law to proceed. Protracted court battles to keep land that for many people has been in their family for generations is inevitable.

            Congress should be appropriating massive amounts of money to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and protect our cyberspace community, the vulnerable electric grid and our banking system, potentially creating thousands of meaningful jobs and a more secure America. A $5.7 billion down payment on a physical barrier 1954 miles long is akin to a bridge to nowhere.

 

            *Kevin Puskar of Murphy is a native of Florida. He earned a degree in computer engineering and technology before spending most of his working life in the computer and technology industry, then 12 years as a licensed financial advisor. He also is the self-published author of the book A Path Runs Through It. He and his wife of 32 years fell in love with Cherokee County while visiting friends in 2010.

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“Yes” – By Hugh Williamson

 

        There are two different issues to be addressed in answering this question. First, is it ethical or moral for us to do this? Second, is it practical – will it be of significant value? I answer “yes” to both questions.

            As far back as we can know from recorded history, different groups of people have built barriers of one kind or another to separate themselves from other people. These people have had language, religion, culture and other characteristics in common. These groups were first extended families, then tribes, then countries.

            We can trace their written existence as least as far back as 3,200 B.C., about 5,200 years ago, and non-written evidence indicates they were in existence long before that. If time can legitimize anything, it legitimizes the drawing of national boundaries and defending of those boundaries in whatever ways are necessary. It is the history of mankind.

            This doesn’t mean one nation may not voluntarily give aid to another, as the United States does to an unparalleled degree. However, it does mean that no nation has any obligation to allow itself to be invaded by large masses of people from other countries. We have every ethical and moral right to protect our boundaries.

            Is it practically possible, is it feasible to partially protect our national boundaries with a physical barrier system? Yes, it is. However, President Donald Trump’s “one long strip of steel” is not practical.

            We cannot literally build a “wall.” We must build an “access retarding barrier system.” The barrier system will have to cross many different kinds of terrain features, like marshes, creeks, soft dirt and solid rock.

            Much of the barrier cannot be a tall steel wall. The weight of the steel cannot be supported by much of the terrain the barrier must cross.

            I’m a U.S. Army Engisneer School graduate and have worked to design such barrier systems. Much of the barrier will have to be double and triple walls of concertina wire. It will have to have tear-gas land mines and buried motion detectors between the walls. It will have to have manned watchtowers at sight-line intervals along the walls.

            The barrier will always require maintenance and armed personnel. Any undefended barrier can be climbed over, tunneled under or cut through. But it will very much reduce the total number of personnel needed, and it will be valuable. We should build it.

 

            *Hugh Williamson of Bellview is a native of Missouri. He holds masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri. He spent most of his professional life as a teacher and administrator at the University of Idaho and University of Wisconsin-Stout. He also is an Army major who worked on a design team to build a barrier across the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Vietnam.

 

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Community helps Greene family with ramp
  • Shawn Clark, Steven Greene and James Wyble (from left) dig out footings for a ramp to help Kassandra Greene safely enter her house in Andrews. Photo by Samantha Sinclair
    Shawn Clark, Steven Greene and James Wyble (from left) dig out footings for a ramp to help Kassandra Greene safely enter her house in Andrews. Photo by Samantha Sinclair

    Andrews – After she was injured in a car accident last month, Kassandra Greene and her husband, Steven, thought they could make things work on their own. It wasn’t long before the community showed them they didn’t have to.
    “Everything they’ve done for us has been above and beyond,” Ms. Greene said. “It’s really been amazing.”
    Ms. Greene said their lives were changed instantly when she and her son were out driving on Jan. 24, and their car suddenly crashed into a tree. Her son walked away from the accident with soreness from his body and face hitting the airbag, but her knee hit the dashboard, causing her to break her right hip and fracture her pelvis. She also ended up with a boxer’s sprain on her right hand.
    After four hours of surgery and a week in Mission Hospital in Asheville, Ms. Greene was sent to Care Partners, an inpatient therapy facility in Asheville, to recover. As she waited to be released to go home, her community went into action to support her and her family.
    Her co-workers at Four Seasons started looking for equipment she would need. Friends and neighbors set up a meal train, providing food for her husband and four children every night. And on Friday, Shawn Clark and James Wyble of Snowbird Outfitters built a ramp so Ms. Greene could easily get into her house when she finally returned home that night.
    “We didn’t ask for any of it,” she said, adding that those who helped thought of things she and her husband would have never thought of needing.
    Clark said they offered to build the ramp because he knew Ms. Greene needed help. He knew the family as a basketball coach for one of their sons.
    Ms. Greene is unable to put any weight on her right leg for the next 12 weeks, and she will be using a wheelchair or platform walker. The Greenes originally thought they’d “make it work” by driving on the grass and placing a sheet of plywood between the car and the patio.
    “The ramp is really the safest way possible to enter,” she said.
    Greene helped Clark and Wyble set up the ramp Friday before his wife returned home for the first time since the accident.
    “This here is definitely helping a bunch,” he said.
    The husband and father is grateful for all the help his family has received.
    “It’s pretty great,” he said.
    Ms. Greene has volunteered with and is a former executive director of One Dozen Who Care Inc. A fundraising account has been set up to help the family at gofundme.com/help-kassandra-greene-and-gamiky.

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