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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Wednesday, Oct. 25

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Legal quandary

To the editor:

The idea of “personhood” for embryos and fetuses has been in the news in recent months, but lost in the discussion has been an explicit accounting of the legal implications of such legislation.

The 2012 Republican Party platform states, “We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”  This statement is very general for a reason: when you get specific, things get legally complicated and unpopular with voters. 

“Unborn children” brings to mind a third trimester fetus that is viable outside the womb.  But the generality of this phrase means that all stages of gestational development are included, starting at conception. 

This concept has implications that are obvious and others that aren’t: clearly, all abortions would be illegal.  Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest would have to be carried to term, as well as pregnancies that threaten the woman’s life.  Violating this prohibition would presumably result in a murder charge.

Then there’s oral contraception, “the pill.”  Birth control pills work mainly by preventing ovulation from occurring.  However, there is also evidence that the pill may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg to the uterine wall.  This means “personhood” would likely be the end of the pill.  The exact legalities are unclear, but unlike other illegal drugs, taking birth control pills could carry a charge of attempted murder. 

In-vitro fertilization involves the loss or “death” of some fertilized eggs, so its legality would be seriously threatened.  Frozen fertilized eggs would instantly become American citizens, a legal quandary I can’t even imagine.  Stem cell research would be yet another casualty of “personhood.” 

This is the official position of the Republican Party.  


Aylor Talbott



Vote John Douglass 

To the editor:

We can determine our own destiny when we go to the polls on Nov. 6 to vote for our next congressman.  

This election should be all about uranium mining and our present congressman, Robert Hurt, has done nothing to protect us from that monster for the past four years.  Nor is he likely to, for you see, Robert’s father, Henry Hurt, is heavily invested in Virginia Uranium, Inc., and he has been a mining proponent from the very beginning.  

Congressman Robert Hurt has tried to distance himself from the uranium mining issue, but he cannot because of his family’s involvement.  

Uranium mining which will potentially enrich the Hurt family, could destroy our land and heritage and the health of future generations — forever.  

Congressman Hurt has a conflict of interest here, and the honorable thing to do would be to step aside so that someone else could represent “The People” of the Fifth District.

Uranium mining is the greatest threat our state has ever faced; far greater than the Civil War.

Robert Hurt is a very nice young man, but we do not need a nice young man with family ties to uranium mining representing us in Washington.

We need someone who will fight this monster head-on, and we have such a person in General John Douglass.  

I urge everyone to go to the polls and vote for Gen. Douglass who is adamantly opposed to uranium mining and has pledged to introduce legislation to ban uranium mining in Virginia.

Our future is at stake.  Send a message to Washington and Richmond and Pittsylvania County that we do not want, and will not tolerate uranium mining in Virginia — Vote for Gen. John Douglass.

Yours truly,

Jack Dunavant



My vote 

To the editor:

I’m a 47 percenter, if that’s what you want to call me for wanting to help those who cannot help themselves, or the ones who need assistance in the time of need.

There’s a saying, the way you feel about someone in the inside will soon come out. I don’t need someone like Mitt Romney for my president to hide behind closed doors with people like him and talk about me.   

Ironically, when you are in the public’s view, you want my vote. Well my answer to you in public, is no, you will not have my vote in November.

This brings me to George Allen. When you say something hurtful to someone concerning their race, religion, sex, or etc., why do you expect people to forgive you but not to forget?   

Again, like I mentioned about Mitt, what’s in the inside will come out sooner or later. My answer to you from the inside of me to you is no; I will not be supporting you with my vote.

Last but not least, as I ride throughout this county, I see signs up in support of Robert Hurt beside other signs saying “No Uranium Mining.” 

Isn’t that odd?

I believe in protecting our clean air, health and our children, and that’s why I strongly support not lifting the ban on uranium mining.   This is such an important issue. How can a politician stand on the sideline with his arms folded and do nothing to protect our clean air, environment, children, drinking water and our health? 

If Hurt is going to stand on the side lines and refuse to take a stand on uranium mining, I will stand in line all day and vote ‘no’ to Hurt.

By the way, where are those jobs you promised two years ago when you were running against Tom Perriello? 

Standing up for what is right, 

Freddie M. Edmunds Sr.



Issuing a dare

To the editor:

I’m usually not one to argue for the sake of arguing. In fact, I consider myself much more of a peacemaker.  

However, the most recent newsletter sent out by Virginia Uranium needs to be addressed.  The headline read, and I am paraphrasing, that “According to a Nuclear Expert, stigma fears regarding uranium mining are not viable.”  


You mean to tell me that Virginia Uranium has found an expert who says that my opinion and the opinion of the majority of citizens of Southside Virginia are wrong. That would be like saying that they found an expert who says that blue is prettier than green.  Come on.  

They can argue a lot of things but telling me that they have a “nuclear expert” that says that people really don’t feel the way they do is not one of them. 

It reminds me of the teenager, and I’ve got one, who will argue with everything the parent says.  How nice it would be to at least once hear, “You know, I never thought about that .... Perhaps you’ve got something there.”  

As I’ve said before, “never trust anyone who is never wrong.”

To me, it simply illustrates how Virginia Uranium simply does not care to hear any opinions contrary to theirs. Would you go into business with someone like that?  Would you trust the air you breathe or the water you drink to someone like that?  

Put simply, Virginia Uranium knows one thing:  The only things they can hang their hat on right now are the jobs that may or may not be created with the mine and the fact that energy independence is a “good vote.” 

The fact is, none of the other aspects of energy independence (wind, wood, solar and offshore drilling) are only isolated to one small area of Virginia. 

For the record, I support all of them.  

VUI also knows that we are desperate for jobs, and we are, and that maybe, just maybe, they can offer enough buffer to those fence-riding legislators to vote to try it down here in Southside. After all, there aren’t many of us here anyway....  

Well, I can tell you that there might not be many of us left on the Southside, but I, for one, am darn sure not ready to give up the quality of life we have for anyone looking to put an “energy independence vote feather” in their cap.  

I do not plan to quit fighting, and I believe Virginia Uranium will realize they have “awakened a giant” that are the people of Southside Virginia. The people here don’t need to read this in an expensive glossy newsletter.  

We love our people and our land, and we don’t want uranium mining. That’s my opinion, and I dare Virginia Uranium to find an expert to refute it.


James Edmunds II



Keep the ban

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was written to all members of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors and is reprinted with permission upon request.)

Dear Chairman (Tim) Barber:

My name is Allen Purser, I am the president of the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce located downstream from you on the Roanoke River in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.  Our business community here is very concerned about your proposed mining and milling of radioactive uranium in our watershed, which has the potential of threatening our water supply, our health and our way of life in this region.

Just one month ago, our community experienced one of those PMP downpour events cited in the Virginia Beach-Baker Study concerning the risk of mining radioactive material in a tropical region frequented by hurricanes.  

We had over 11 inches of rain fall in less than 90 minutes, and our town was flooded, the drainage systems completely over-run.  

According to the U.S. Geologic survey, we get more of these types of storms than anywhere else in the country.  Furthermore, Hurricane Floyd put the entire eastern third of North Carolina underwater, and we have had three hurricanes hit land in the last 15 years here.  These cannot be called “rare” events in my book.

As business people, we understand risk.  We have been briefed on the risk of your uranium mining proposal from several site-specific studies, and we have reviewed the pointed concerns expressed by the independent NAS research.   

We also understand that the U.S. has centuries of supply of high grade uranium available for our needs from Canada and Australia and our U.S. sources in arid regions where people and water supply are less affected by human error and acts of God that always come with these types of endeavors.  

Uranium mining in a hurricane zone with our precipitation patterns is more than risky, it’s foolish!

Our water supply comes from this river.  Our economy is driven by the reputation of our clean water; our tax revenue base is a byproduct of the Roanoke River.  We have a paper mill here that employs 400 people who would be at risk if your Canadian mining operation contaminates our river.  The home value and business depreciation that might occur in our region if the water was fouled by uranium would make the most recent economic downturn look like “the good old days.”

The stewards of our river, selected by each governor from Virginia and North Carolina, five Republicans and five Democrats serving on the Bi-State Commission for the Roanoke River, voted unanimously to keep the uranium mining ban in place.  Imagine that, Republicans and Democrats voting together on this issue of mutual interest and concern. In fact, all the communities and counties along the river in North Carolina have passed resolutions urging you to keep the ban in place, for all our sakes.  No one here thinks otherwise. 

I am aware that a strong majority of citizens in your county are against this mining operation, and many businesses, homeowners and your Hargrave Military Academy leaders with such a long tradition there are threatening to relocate if this mine is approved.  What will that do to your economy when all the educated people leave the area?  What will the region look like when the mine closes and you are left with a giant radioactive dump?   Is this really a vision for the future?

You have the power to vote to keep the ban in place for your county, and through that vote, advise your governor and general assembly of your opposition.  I urge you to do so.  If you don’t, you invite litigation forever waged against your county, and your state by those of us who are united downstream to protect our interests, our water and our way of life.   We pray you do the right thing for all concerned.


Allen W. Purser

President/ CEO

Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce

Roanoke Rapids, N.C.