Letters to The Editor 06-10-20

Published 7:55 pm Tuesday, June 9, 2020

NAACP: ‘Unite around outrage’


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The killing of George Floyd by police was an indefensible murder. Police brutality against the black community has been an ever-present circumstance since its origin to preserve the system of slavery.

Police brutality remains a pressing issue within our African American communities. A large number have been killed by police. Black men are almost three times more likely to be killed by the use of deadly force than white men. Despite the annual killing of approximately 1,000 people by police, only 28 police officers were convicted of murder or manslaughter.                          

The moment calls for us to unite around the outrage we feel and fight for the justice we demand. The protests we see are urgent responses to the racism that has afflicted and torn apart our communities for centuries, and nothing has been done to improve.

The national NAACP has issued 12 units campaigns for a more just system. We will be reviewing this list with local law enforcement to learn what initiatives our locales have in place. We will also discuss civic engagement strategies to better understand our community needs of the black community.

We must be strategic and measured as we battle this latest grave injustice. The Isle of Wight NAACP will work diligently with law enforcement and other leaders to address any systemic racism and improve race relations in our community.

Our prayers and condolences go out to Mr. Floyd’s family who must endure the heartache that follows such a tragic event. #Wearedonedying


Valerie Cofer Butler


Isle of Wight NAACP



Mask critic’s claim easily dismantled


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


I read with perturbation the pseudoscience propounded by “Dr.” Robert Singleterry (“Mask decree not based in science,” June 3). I congratulate him on whatever field his doctorate is awarded in, but he is apparently making statements out of his area of specialty.

This is called the fallacy of appeal to authority. All of us, no matter how well educated, have a role to play in increasing the public good. Some of us even are specifically so directed by our professional oaths and organizations.

When a four-column diatribe can be dismantled by two observations, you can be assured that the author was not basing his argument on the consilience of science, as he pretends, but on his own prejudices.

One statement caught my eye: “I will never wear one of these masks as they increase my exposure to the virus.” This is the opening sentence of a paragraph. Yet nowhere in that paragraph, or elsewhere in the litany of errors, does he back up this absurd claim.

Doctors and nurses in emergency rooms and wards dedicated to fighting COVID-19 wear masks. The N95 masks they wear would certainly trap more virus inside the mask, if that is what he is asserting. But we can’t know what silly reasoning he used because he didn’t attempt to support the defiant claim. But he does lend his force of “expertise” to those who flaunt their disregard for the health of others.

The second nail in the coffin of his argument can be found by reading the actual CDC guidance on the public wearing masks. It can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover.html . Read this and the associated link to “Learn More,” rather than have someone distort the wisdom of our best experts whose specialty IS in the area of public health.

The Smithfield Times should stop the spread of false information that can negatively affect public health.


Donald Williams PE




Follow CDC’s sound advice


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

In response to Dr. Robert Singleterry’s letter in the June 3rd Smithfield Times (“Mask decree not based in science”), quoting from the CDC website: “CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.” 

So what he states in his letter is WRONG. Masks do not increase his chance of getting the virus, and may protect others if he is one of the many “no symptoms” carriers. By serving as a barrier, masks block the droplets expelled by an infected person and slow the velocity of particles that sneak through.

The website Masks4all.co identifies 34 papers showing the effectiveness of masks and none that show otherwise. The National Institute of Health performed a video experiment that I have viewed online showing how the droplets spread with and without a mask. Everyone should watch it. A team of scientists in the U.S. and Europe built a computer simulation demonstrating that if 80% of the population wore masks, infection rates would plunge by more than 90%.

I applaud Gov. Ralph Northam’s wear-a-mask decree. If people want to get our economy back, they are going to have to feel safe leaving the house. Seeing employees wearing masks makes me feel safer. I know they are not the cure-all, end-all, that they are not perfect, but after seeing the video I will never be in public without one.

Only an idiot would not follow CDC recommendations!


Sandra Schlaudecker




He trusts CDC over Singleterry


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

It took me about 30 seconds to find the CDC’s recommendations regarding the wearing of face coverings during the pandemic. It seems that Dr. Singleterry hasn’t done this and then wrote his letter stating the diametric opposite of the CDC’s recommendations. The CDC strongly recommends the wearing of face coverings! https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

I can find no online trace of a “Doctor” Robert Singleterry in Smithfield or its environs. There is a Robert C. Singleterry living here, formerly in Newport News, who worked for NASA at one time (PhD?).  At any rate, knowing that the wearing of a face mask has become an acrimonious cultural/political issue, I begin to wonder.


Dave Goodridge




Empty rhetoric from Biden


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


In the aftermath of George Floyd’s senseless death, Joe Biden says as president, he will enact “real police reform.”

Unfortunately, Mr. Biden’s words speak louder than his actions.

Here is a list of police killings of African Americans that gained national attention during the Obama/Biden administration:


Eric Garner, July 17, 2014, New York City, New York

Michael Brown, August 9, 2014, Ferguson, Missouri

Akai Gurley, November 20, 2014, New York City, New York

Tamir Rice, November 22, 2014, Cincinnati, Ohio

Anthony Hill, March 9, 2015, Chamblee, Georgia

Walter Scott, April 4, 2015, North Charleston, South Carolina

Freddie Gray, April 12, 2015, Baltimore, Maryland

Samuel DuBose, July 19, 2015, Cincinnati, Ohio

Jeremy McDole, September 23, 2015, Wilmington, Delaware

Jamar Clark, November 15, 2015, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Alton Sterling, July 5, 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Philando Castile, July 6, 2016, St. Anthony, Minnesota

Korryn Gaines, August 1, 2016, Randallstown, Maryland

Terence Crutcher, September 16, 2016, Tulsa, Oklahoma


Both Democrats and Republicans have failed to enact meaningful police reform.

Public condemnations of George Floyd’s death by politicians are more about political expediency than anything else. According to a May 28 article from The Intercept, “The George Floyd Killing in Minneapolis Exposes the Failures of Police Reform,” “I think that is politically convenient for all of them,” said Kandace Montgomery, director of Black Visions Collective, a Minnesota-based racial justice group affiliated with Reclaim the Block and the Movement for Black Lives. “Until they actually offer real solutions and offer real policies that address the inherent violence of police departments, it’s all talk.”


Joe Naneville




Bad timing by governor


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


With the violence on the streets arising out of the unnecessary death of George Floyd, why has Gov. Ralph Northam chose the immediate present to put this “monuments movement” in the flaming limelight?

Is 1 July sacrosanct? Why not in the dead of winter? What’s he going to do if the Sons of Confederate Veterans exercise their constitutional right to peacefully assemble by commencing a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week sitdown around the monument the gov’s focused on? 

With the “removal supporters” bound to be on site, too, it will not be a pretty affair for Virginia thanks to his bad timing judgment, I think. Can’t you just see the headlines now?


Herb De Groft




Editor, The Smithfield Times:


Greetings to all of our volunteers and supporters.

In spite of COVD-19, we at Christian Outreach Project are continuing to provide and help the needy in our community. As the number of volunteers has temporarily diminished for health reasons, we have adjusted our programs and methodologies to support our existing clients as well as community members whose lives have been impacted by job losses, reduced income and other unanticipated changes driven by COVD-19.

Our food program is thriving and reaching new clients with both temporary and continuing needs. With health and safety protocols in place to protect both volunteers and clients we have been able to provide food in a no-physical-contact outdoor cart-to-car manner. Our volunteers’ eyes smile above their face masks.

The generosity of the community both in food and cash donations has enabled us to have full bags of produce and meat as well as shelf stable groceries on each distribution day. Even the occasional inclusion of a roll of toilet paper! Our food salvage programs with Food Lion and Kroger help keep our cooler full. 

Volunteers with the school meal program have been delivering the leftover meals to us to be added to our food distribution.  We have also been able to work with the Isle of Wight Schools Agricultural Model by providing them with spoiled produce to feed their pigs and receiving fresh produce in return. Cooperation and collaboration throughout Isle of Wight has been outstanding!

Diaper distribution continues in the same masked, no-touch, drive-up manner. Responding to clients’ requests, we now also provide adult diapers. We are so thankful for the continued donations that help keep babies and adults comfortable.

Emergency assistance referral services such as dental, utilities, rent and prescriptions are supported by volunteers from their homes. While our furniture area is unable to pick up donated furniture at this time we have been able to accommodate emergency distributions to those who can transport it. This includes bedding and dishes, pots and pans, and other kitchen items.  We may be small, but we are mighty!

And of course we’re looking to the future. The Hog Jog, school kids Summer Feeding Program, and Souper Saturday are under discussion to determine how to modify and move ahead under COVID-19.

We thank you all for your participation and support.  Your help is always appreciated and represents a community rising up to help in an unsettling time.


Barbara Lyon