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The rest of story on black males in prison

This is in response to a TV show that is hosted by Van Jones on CNN on Saturday night. A couple of weeks ago he had a rap star on the show and they were talking about the proportion of young black males in prison. According to his words, there are four black males to every five men in prison.

In reality, black males (of which I am one) make up 7 percent of the U.S. population and commit 52 percent of all crimes. That means that all of the other races (white, Mexicans, other Hispanics, French, Asian and others) only commit 48 percent, less than half of all the crime in this country.

OK, let’s do the math. Since black males make up 7 percent of the population, they should only be doing 7 percent of the crime. So we need to subtract 7 from 52, which means they are 45 percent over their quota. My calculation has them at 80 percent in prison (four of every five).

So, Mr. Jones didn’t tell us why it’s four of five. We know why. Now I know why when I get out of my car at a shopping center, I look over my shoulder. Not for that one of every five guys, but for the four of five that will be black male.

Also I have to make sure that I lock everything up in my back yard and look over my shoulder while out there because of the rash of car break-ins that we had in the surrounding neighborhood a few months ago. When the police finally caught them, guess who they were?

There is a technical college about 20 or so miles from Orangeburg that offers male and female skill training. They can attend with free room and food, plus a $2,500 check (for allowance, per semester, fall or spring). One of the instructors told me that on any given morning, he and other instructors have to go and get the black males out of bed so they won’t be late for class or miss class. They cannot mark them “present” if they are in bed.

Within the last couple of months, within a 3-miles radius of the City of Orangeburg, we had two fatal car accidents and one fatal shooting – all black males.

So Mr. Jones, when you start talking about the proportion of black males in jail, please tell us the “whole” truth not insult my intelligence with a fraction of the truth. Tell the rest of the story.

Eddie Rowe, Orangeburg

Train safety system not to blame

I have followed with great interest the reporting of the recent train accident near Cayce. I worked in the Traffic Control Department of the Seaboard Railroad from 1943 to 1957. I was in the crew that installed the centralized traffic control system from Savannah, Georgia, to Hamlet, N.C., in 1946 and 1947.

That system has had an excellent safety record over the years and has never been the cause of a major accident. An upgrade in the present system, to include the new positive train control, is being made. It was necessary to temporarily take the original CTC system out of service in the area near Cayce to effect the revision.

In order to continue use of the tracks in that area, it was necessary to revert to the manual train order traffic control system, which necessitated the alignment to be made by the train crew and close switches. The freight train crew opened the switch to enter the side track and failed to close it back to the main line.

The effective switch had been opened and closed by remote control for over 60 years and it was a manual oversight that the additional function was necessary during the temporary manual period.

During my years as a railroad employee, I was involved in two minor accidents. I was at fault in both incidents. The electro-mechanical system, as designed, was doing its job, but the human element is still a work in progress.

Samuel A. Neeley, Denmark


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