Far from a neutral investigation
Contrary to Mayor John Suthers’ assertion that the problem, with the review of the case of De’Von Bailey, and other cases alleging excessive force, is not the time it will take for the review to be completed. Rather the root of concern is that the investigation will be undertaken with the intent to exonerate the officers rather than hold them accountable. The El Paso County sheriff is far from a neutral investigative agency. The Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso Sherrif’s Office share numerous joint tasks forces and officers routinely transfer from one agency to the other. Pete Carey retiring as head of CSPD one month and beginning work as Bill Elder’s undersheriff is only one example. This biased investigation is further called into question when generally the findings are rubber stamped by District Attorney Dan May.
For a true investigation and meaningful accountability for all involved, I urge Mayor Suthers to form a Citizens Review Board to thoroughly and transparently investigate this and other allegations against CSPD.
A weapon clearly made for combat
After experiencing the disasters and resulting coverage this weekend yet again, I ask your readers to consider the question of “the elephant in the room.” One common thread in most of the mass murders in this country is the ability of the shooter to acquire an assault weapon. Why should anyone in the U.S. be allowed to purchase such a weapon — one clearly made for combat? Why can’t our national legislators ban possession and sale of these weapons? Why is that so difficult?
I don’t believe our Founders intended the right to bear arms to be extrapolated to assault weapons as they had no idea what the future might hold for weapon development.
Demonizing the mentally ill
Can we please stop demonizing the mentally ill? While I will not argue that people who commit mass murder are “normal”, they are rarely mentally ill. Being able to plan a mass shooting, drive 600 miles to carry it out and take precautions such as wearing body armor, hearing, eye protection and procuring the necessary ammunition and weapons requires pretty careful planning and organization, not the typical hallmarks of mental illness.
People who commit mass murder are angry and frequently display a sociopathic world view (not caring about anyone or anything but themselves). They have been radicalized, in much the same way as any other terrorist gets radicalized, they are alienated, very possibly bullied or somehow feel marginalized by society. The ideas and/or groups they come to associate with give them a sense of belonging and also reassure them that their problems are not their fault, they are the real victims. I am not suggesting they don’t need help, or that intervention isn’t needed. They do and it is, but we do a great deal of damage to a marginalized group of people, and also give ourselves a convenient excuse that allows us to avoid finding real solutions.
My youngest sister died as a result of mental illness. The only person she was a threat to was herself.
More than Band-Aid solutions
I have a history of mental health issues, and for a long time, I self-medicated to deal with the symptoms of bipolar disorder. This led me to develop substance abuse issues, too.
I want to speak up for others who are struggling with these problems. There is hope, and the treatments available today are much better than when I was first diagnosed. Anyone who needs help should seek it right away.
On the policy side, however, I’d like to see our leaders in Washington encourage more than Band-Aid solutions. Medications are improving, but not all patients experience complete relief. Side effects are also a problem.
Substance abuse recovery can be similarly “hit or miss,” leaving patients with a lifetime battle to stay clean.
Mental illnesses, including substance abuse disorders, are diseases of the brain, not so different from illnesses affecting the rest of the body. I have to believe they can be cured, and this should be a top priority. We need more research funding to understand these diseases, discover treatments, and eventually cure them, so people don’t have to suffer anymore. Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet should be leading the charge.
Make an effort to find good in others
So we have a problem. This gives us a perfect opportunity to do something positive and productive about it, regardless of who we are. How about making a conscious effort to find the good in others, regardless of skin color? As an elderly Hispanic woman who has had a better life in this country than I would have in my country of origin, I can attest to the fact that racism is not endemic of the U.S. Not only am I bicultural/bilingual, but I have been in a biracial marriage for most of my adult life, not to mention the fact that I have had the fortune of traveling around, at least, three-fourths of the world, besides having lived in Japan and Germany for part of my life.
I would be lying if I said that the prospect of being the next victim at the hands of a racist does not sadden me; however, to be proactive about this, I choose not to live in fear, or blame anyone, in particular, for what is going on today, knowing that blame is wasted energy. Instead, I reach out to those who have the potential to make changes for the better. I also visualize the respective life of those who do harm as lacking the essence of a virtuous and moral life.
Underneath my brown skin, I experience all the emotions a person with white skin does. I feel love, fear, loneliness, hurt, anger, thirst, as well as excitement at the sight of change of seasons. I can also admit the fact that I have been guilty of racism. In other words, I happen to be a member of the human race.
The positive aspect, as a reaction to all the killings, is the show of values, good morals and concerns that the intelligent, fair-minded Caucasians are displaying; this gives me a great deal of hope about the immediate future.