Hurt must be transformed
As a 68-year old white woman, I am sick unto death of seeing unarmed black men and black boys shot or otherwise killed by law enforcement officers. When this happens, watching TV, I weep, “Dear God! Not another black man!”
This has been an horrific week for our nation since George Floyd’s death. But I also feel a glimmer of hope, with and for our black sisters and brothers, and for all of us in America. I truly believe many more police officers and civic leaders “get” the rage that black citizens feel, due to the cumulative toll of systemic racism that black women and men and their ancestors have endured for over 400 years in this country.
It feels healing and heartening to see many police officers and sheriffs coming to the protests in solidarity with the protesters — talking, embracing, and understanding that this deep hurt needs to be transformed through bonds of mutual respect, honest dialogue and true justice. This is what we need to see happening for all people of color in this nation.
I am also heartened by the recent words of Lonnie Bunch III, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., quoting the lyrics of the black female singing group, Sweet Honey in the Rock; “We who believe in freedom cannot rest / Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons / Is as important of the killing of white men, white mother’s sons.”
Amen, I say, Amen to that.
This is not a local issue
This has really gotten stupid here locally. Protests downtown with vandalism including graffiti and other property damage for an incident that took place in another state, with another police force! What does anyone locally hope to accomplish? The killing of any unarmed individual by police needs to be checked, as there is no justification for it.
I can’t do it, you can’t do it and the police absolutely can’t do it. The outcome will probably be something no one wants. How about a federal police force? How about the states losing licensing power for police to the federal government? The killing took place in full view of the citizens and was recorded! That is probably the new norm; there are no secrets anymore.
This might not have happened if we had a universal standard for police officers certified mentally fit to be on the street. That would have to be reviewed regularly and acted upon when the red flags show up. Responsibility would have to be enforced from the certifying official to the direct supervisor. This officer didn’t just snap one day, he worked with other officers and they saw this coming.
There needs to be system set up to alert authorities when someone’s trolley is going off the tracks. Tough on the individual but better than the mess we are seeing this week. That said, there is no rational reason for the wide protests going on. Our cops didn’t do it.
The police chief was correct to cancel his evening press pillory. Since this is not a real issue locally, why provide fodder for those seeking attention? I would establish a protest ground, say in one of the parks, where everyone could gather who wanted to be heard.
This would keep them out of the business district or neighborhoods and really minimize damage. Lawful gathering and free speech are constitutional rights, but that all ends with the first broken window or thrown rock.
Michael S. Welsh
Start an inclusive conversation
I applaud Wayne Laugesen’s editorial (May 31), which reminded us of the tragic death of Chad Burnett in Colorado Springs — while in police custody — the day after the murder of George Floyd. His call for greater public accountability must be the foundation for addressing this latest national crisis.
As a career military veteran, I recognize the importance of professionalism in upholding our core values. Professionalism without accountability is an empty drumbeat, reinforcing those who prefer to enjoy the benefits of professional membership while undermining its values. If a profession is to serve a free society, it must be accountable to the public it serves.
There can be no public accountability without transparency. For police, body cameras are essential, but not enough. Holding police accountable for the death of an individual in custody cannot be left to closed investigations by those interested in concealing truth. Rules on the use of deadly force must be clear to those who must live within them, and they must be seen as legitimate by all communities whom the police are sworn to protect.
Traumatized by a pandemic, economic shocks, and the pent-up fury of communities seeking justice, ours is a society being torn apart at every seam. Now more than ever, we need action to reconcile our differences and chart a way forward. Retreating into our respective corners will not lead anywhere positive.
Now is the time for local leadership to start an inclusive conversation.
The status quo of Polis speed
As Jared Polis leisurely opens the state after months of closures, we have been anxiously twiddling our thumbs waiting for county officials to submit new variances to the governor’s office. One at a time, just slow enough for the new orders from the governor’s office to be more lenient than the variances set forth.
Questioned time and time again, county commissioners blame bureaucracy. However, who is to blame? County commissioners won’t take the heat but are also quick to protect county health. When there are only three pieces to the puzzle (county health, county commissioners and hospitals). The delay must be occurring at one of these levels.
If it is the county commissioners, their constituents must question, why is it they are moving just fast enough to meet the status quo of Polis speed? Could it be that multiple members of the board are connected to a political race? Is this really the time to play politics?
If it is County Health, why isn’t the pressure being put on by the county commissioners? After all, the county commissioners did put the Board of County Health in power by appointment, and that board hires the Public Health director.
When the question of removal of Public Health officials comes up, many of the county commissioners are quick to come to their defense. So here we have it, five county commissioners playing the Pontius Pilate card and washing their hands of the issue. Will we get the real story?