Seeing things we don’t want to see
I want to thank our police force in El Paso County and throughout the U.S. Coming from a long line of law enforcers, I can tell you they go through things that others can’t even imagine: the horrors of seeing people killed; dealing with bad accidents; being confronted with people out of their minds on drugs; never knowing if they will see their kids and spouses when their shift is over; people threatening their lives; working in terrible weather, rescuing people in trouble; dealing with the effects of someone who has committed suicide; working with grieving family members; dodging bullets meant for them; never knowing the dangers that will confront them on their shifts; putting themselves in danger, driving at top speeds trying to get to a critical emergency; dealing with a rape victim; seeing women and children who have been severely beaten and I could go on and on.
These officers face these situations and so many more. I thank the Lord I haven’t had to see this. I doubt that many of those who have such hate for our law officers have seen all this either. The officers are exposed to this day in and day out. I am proud of the good officers. They deserve our respect. We need to be praying for them and thanking them for what they do for our communities. We need to be praying for those who are against the law officers — they need Jesus in their hearts.
Those who have the ‘right stuff’
A few days ago, letter writer Kevin McCaskey expressed concern about the emotional readiness of the new AFA plebes to transition to college life. He cited “no high school graduation, no prom, none of the rites of passage” associated with moving on with life — in their case to the rigors of a service academy. He worries that these candidates for commission in the Air Force “will arrive at the academy seething, deeply frustrated with their own loss. . .” The disruption of their last year of high school along with distractions and unrest in our country, he fears, will leave them with challenges potentially “more pronounced than any class that preceded them.”
I sincerely hope that McCaskey underestimates the character of these students and the rigor of the Air Force Academy selection process. I submit that thousands of young men and women have arrived on campus with personal challenges as burdensome and distracting as those faced by the incoming class members. These are people who should understand that they’ve signed up — not just for a free education — but possibly to engage in mortal combat.
If they can’t make the “transition” to demands of college life — even at the academy and in stressful times — maybe they don’t belong there. Personally, I have confidence that those who “have the right stuff, to begin with” will do just fine.
‘Rocky Horror’ picture show rambles on
Monday’s Gazette Viewpoint and recent letters to the editor regarding the latest nationwide craze to deface and/or tear down iconic symbols of our nation’s past bring interesting perspectives and ideas to debate and advance, which is the right way to address controversial issues in a democratic society.
What we are seeing unravel in Richmond, Washington D.C., Seattle, Wisconsin and many other U.S. cities is the wrong way, as witnessed by the disgusting actions of moronic extremists with a mob mentality showing disregard for the rule of law, no better than the rioters, arsonists, looters, and thugs who caused so much chaos, destruction and death recently across our nation.
As pointed out in the Gazette editorial, many of these bad actors are likely clueless as to the real historical significance — good or bad — of the statue or monument they so zealously destroy, for after all isn’t it just optics, publicity, and theater of the absurd for them? Unfortunately, all they accomplish is the dilution of the real concerns and dialogue that honest and law-abiding citizens and elected officials want to engage in regarding inequality, racial injustice and policing in our country.
It’s sad that the majority of our local, state and federal officials have simply sat idly on the sidelines and watched the “Rocky Horror picture show” ramble on. After all, their workplace or house could be next.
Viewing things as us versus them
So, the verdict among some is, that as a 63-year-old white male, I am the beneficiary of ‘white privilege’. I won’t deny it, mostly because I’m sure I won’t change anyone’s opinion on the matter.
But looking back, I think maybe part of that ‘privilege’ was that I was raised by two parents who loved each other, and who believed in God and made me go with them to church every Sunday. And I was privileged that my parents and community believed in the value of education, and supported me, but expected me to work hard and behave well in school (I got in trouble once, and I got that message!)
These days, as a retiree, I am a CASA volunteer working with neglected and abused kids. Every child to whom I’ve been assigned has been white, and I must say none of them has seemed privileged to me. It is discouraging to see these kids’ circumstances, and all I can really do is encourage them and hope they can rise to a better life.
I’ve had my struggles, but I’ll agree I’m a lucky man. Growing up, I used to think my generation would make life fair for everyone here in the USA. Alas, now I see that our human nature tends toward tribal behavior, whether it’s moving to the suburbs, or the group identities we seek to belong to in social media. There’s always a tendency to view things as us versus them.