Cotman sentence is a travesty
Regarding “Ex-Wichitan sentenced in Atlanta school cheating case” (April 15 Local & State): Are we the only ones who see the correlations between the shootings of unarmed people of color in low-income areas, reduction of funding for public schools, and the destruction of those who have spent their entire lives trying to help low-income youths escape through education? Are we the only ones who notice that people who kill unarmed citizens are eligible for bail, but these educators, with no questionable history, were not?
We are grieved that even though former Wichitan Tamara Cotman was found not guilty of being involved in test cheating in an earlier decision, she and her lawyers were not allowed to inform the jury of this fact. Her “not guilty” verdict seemed to infuriate the prosecutors, so they went back to the drawing board and extrapolated a made-up charge meant for drug traffickers and murderers. Even if someone had cheated on tests, this was a sick, unprecedented bending of the law.
We have known Cotman all of her life, and we know why she was found not guilty – because she is not guilty. And if she is not guilty, it stands to reason that others are not guilty as well.
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We now await the appeal process. With the proper defense and funding, this travesty will be overturned. We just pray that the damage done can be overcome.
It’s amazing how far some people will go to destroy public education in pushing for charter schools.
SHARON HILL CRANFORD
A great divide
I grew up in a law enforcement household. My father was a local homicide detective, and many of my parents’ friends were cops. Though I have the highest respect for the profession, the current violence-crazed style of law enforcement has me quite disturbed.
It used to be that cops risked their lives to protect the innocent; now the innocent often are treated like criminals. Violence was the last resort; now it seems all interactions have the threat of violence hanging over them.
My dad would call home, injured but proud he brought the suspect in alive; now some cops just run you down with their police car like a rabid dog. It used to be most cops were honest; now they seem to be in on one cover-up or another, and don’t even blink at the atrocious actions of their comrades.
I am concerned because this is creating a great divide between law enforcement officers and the citizenry they are – at least supposedly – sworn to protect. And the fact that most of the bad-cop behavior is perpetrated by white males against people of color isn’t making my life any easier. Or safer. This behavior is becoming provocative and dangerous to us all.
So I suggest to law enforcement professionals of all jurisdictions and rank: Please stop.
What about lives?
Regarding the FlightSafety tragedy in October, in which four people lost their lives: I am concerned about the lack of consideration for those who lost their lives. It appears the city of Wichita is focused only on financially supporting the continued business operations of FlightSafety International (“Help FlightSafety,” April 21 Eagle Editorial).
As a 30-year business insurance agent (I do not represent any parties involved in this tragedy), I can almost guarantee you that the aircraft, its owners and all parties involved in the accident have some variation of aircraft or products liability coverage. This insurance protects you in the event you are liable if your aircraft injures another or damages their property.
The fatally injured workers and their families are protected by Kansas law through workers’ compensation benefits. However, these benefits pale in comparison with the limits of coverage normally purchased for aircraft liability coverage.
Though I understand the business aspect of wanting to keep a good employer and very fine company here in Wichita, it is the people who make every business and Wichita so successful.
Threads of hope
My father, a thoughtful pacifist parenting two of my older brothers whose disagreements had degenerated into pushing and hitting, tied the two together with a fine thread from Mother’s sewing box and ordered them to work out a plan that would respect each other’s needs and wishes. The consequences for breaking the thread before achieving a mutually acceptable agreement were clearly laid out as a loss of dearly held privileges for both. Father offered no advice, but said he would be available for consultation about proposed solutions – if asked by both.
In an age of escalating violence and widening chasms of disrespect, I want to nurture a radically different culture of learning from those whom I am likely to identify and treat as opposition to be feared, hated and dehumanized as enemies. Until I name and respect the other’s needs and longings – that is, to make the other’s good my very own – I am actively hastening our collective destruction. We do indeed have common ground, a commonwealth, if we but seek it with everything we have and are.
I am happily imagining the writers of “Founders pointed to God, freedom” and “No right to impose” (April 17 Letters to the Editor) cheerfully tying themselves together with threads of hope and mutuality. I seek to stand with both.
WALTER S. FRIESEN
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