Justice system ignored facts
I don’t know whether to feel saddened or enraged from reading about the man choked to death on a New York City street. The sources indicate this type of restraint by law enforcement officers was banned 20 years ago, yet a Staten Island grand jury saw no problem with the outcome of the officer’s action (Dec. 4 Eagle).
Quite a few years ago, I was hired to be the summer school librarian at an alternative high school in Wichita. An African-American student came in frequently to finish up his homework, so we began to share stories. One day he revealed that the glasses he wore were just plain glass. He said he wore them so he would look less threatening. On more than one occasion when he entered an elevator, a woman would get off rather than share the space with him. He hoped the glasses would render him less aggressive-looking.
I have never forgotten his story. Evidently, after all these years, we haven’t made much progress in seeing past a person’s color.
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I see myself as a problem solver, but I cannot come up with a solution to the problem of a justice system that can ignore facts with such a degree of capriciousness.
How to protect?
The various media warn us of possible attacks here in America by overseas terrorists. But what are we to do about homegrown terrorists who threaten the life and safety of a pastor because she performs her pastoral duties (Dec. 6 Eagle)? Or those who have murdered a physician in his own church and have harassed and threatened nurses for performing their medical skills? They invade synagogues, schools and theaters, murdering innocents. They have donned uniforms and murdered unarmed men and boys.
What are we to do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from these who roam our streets and accost us in public places? Who is at work protecting us from these?
NFL must act
The National Football League has backed itself into a corner by not taking any action to address the conduct of the St. Louis Rams players who made the “hands up” gesture to show their solidarity with the protesters in Ferguson, Mo., and around the country (Dec. 2 Sports). The NFL’s refusal to take any action was a mistake and has paved the way for pregame introductions to be a bully pulpit for players to make social and political statements.
What will the NFL do now about players who wore “I can’t breathe” shirts Sunday in support of Eric Garner? What if other players make a gesture in support of law enforcement before their game? What about future topics, such as capital punishment, abortion or gay marriage?
If the NFL continues to do nothing, it will have created a nationally broadcast public square for players to make social and political statements during their pregame introductions. The NFL exists to promote football, not social and political debate. The NFL should clearly articulate a policy restricting actions like those that the Rams’ players took during the pregame introductions and make clear that its business is football.
What about GOP?
A Dec. 1 Opinion Line comment stated that people should protest what 50 years of Democratic policies have done for black families, education, homicide rates, poverty and wealth creation.
If people go back 50 years, they will be at the origin of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. That act ended unequal applications of voter registration and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and facilities that served the general public. The next year witnessed the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Over the next 50 years, Republicans controlled the White House for 28 years. What did Republicans do about the economy, jobs, education, health, poverty and wealth? In Kansas, Secretary of State Kris Kobach has attempted to outwit the provisions of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The No Child Left Behind concept (2001) left many students behind. The economic woes of this nation were largely created during the George W. Bush era and left to the present administration to correct.
There is always sufficient blame to spread among politicians and leaders of the economy at large, but I am pleased not to be aligned with today’s GOP.
JOHN R. MAXWELL
Careful of workers
I wanted to let I-135 construction workers know that I think about them every time I drive by their work sites. I think about the fact that highway speeds place them at a higher risk of workplace injury. I think about the fact that a construction worker is someone’s father, son, loved one or friend.
I also think about the drivers zipping past me through those work sites every morning, annoyed by the inconvenience the work places on them and so self-absorbed in their desire to get to their destination faster that they are willing to jeopardize workers’ safety. I pray the decision those drivers make doesn’t change the lives of workers and their families forever.
Thank you, construction workers, for the work you do.
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