Letters to the Editor

Letter writers on domestic violence, racism, McConnell, black lung, plus a defense of KEA

Don’t mandate arrest in domestic abuse

The Violence Against Women Act, which Joe Biden worked aimlessly on, was scheduled to lapse Dec. 7 but was extended until Dec. 21 by a stopgap funding measure. This legislation was enacted to ensure women would be protected from domestic violence. The lapse would harm the same women it promised to protect in 1994.

Although the reauthorization proposes several improvements, policymakers need to rethink the language regarding mandatory arrests.

As the law stands, states are encouraged to require an arrest when a domestic violence call is made. While this seems like a proactive measure to ensure perpetrators are off the streets, it could actually endanger women.

If a woman is in an active abuse situation, she may fear that she cannot financially provide for herself if her abuser is arrested, which could ultimately lead to homelessness or custody loss of her children. Furthermore, prosecution of abusers is less likely, and abusers often return to their homes. Tragically, this could ultimately lead to partner homicide.

Instead, the VAWA should mandate officer discretion and arrest policies that allow officers to make a judgment call on an active situation. This would allow officers to discuss the situation further with victims and help women to truly be encouraged and empowered in their lives.

Taylor Caldwell


Racism alive, well in America

A friend recently told me about a job opening in Alabama. I told her, “Thanks, but no thanks for we can’t move to Alabama.” For, you see, I have white skin and my husband has brown skin.

We are upstanding individuals of high moral character, willing and able to help the poor, wanting to contribute to society. But we are unwilling to be stopped every time we go in public just because of the color of his skin. I have a PhD in American history and he is a psychologist, and yet because of a trait that he has no control over we will be harassed.

Remember the fundamentals of American society: Where no person is judged by the color of their skin? Where people are allowed to believe in the religion of their choice? Where people are allowed to gather to protest without fear of recrimination? Where governments have to have real concrete evidence of wrongdoing before interrogating someone?

We believed that America had risen above all that pettiness, that it was finally able to appreciate all God’s children regardless of what they looked like. What is happening to the United States of America?

Melinda Johnson


Industry has little concern for miners

“We haven’t seen this rate of black lung since before the early ’90s.” So said Cara Halldin, an epidemiologist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and an author of a study on the growing epidemic of black lung. The results of the study were published earlier this year in the American Journal of Public Health.

In stark contrast, in an opinion piece in the Herald-Leader of Dec. 5, the president of the National Mining Association complained that continuation of funding the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund at current levels is an unfair burden on member coal producers.

Nowhere in the article was there a word acknowledging any obligation on the part of NMA companies toward either the prevention of black lung in the first place, or toward support of employees who do then contract the incurable and fatal sickness.

Instead, the entire article was aimed at the protection of mine owners and their profits. Do mine owners not have an obligation to support their employees who get black lung and then pay with their lives?

Arthur T. LaBar


McConnell crippled politics

Since Sen. Mitch McConnell was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984, the problem of big money in politics has gotten progressively much worse. The corrupting influence of big money has broken American politics. Today’s congressional gridlock is evidence of its brokenness.

At the expense of the majority middle class and poor, politicians on the right and left have allowed themselves to be bought by wealthy individuals and corporations. A tilted-to-the right Supreme Court aided and abetted our broken politics by giving us its wrong-headed “money is speech” and “corporations are people” rulings.

Over the years, probably no member in Congress has pushed harder for and personally benefited more from “money is speech” and “corporations are people” laws than McConnell. His political career has been all about him and his insatiable lust for power and control, not about what is best for all Kentuckians and all Americans.

Two more years of McConnell in his current Senate term plus the possibility of re-election in 2020 guarantee politics in America will continue to be broken. His 34 years in Washington helped bring us to the gridlock we are mired in today.

Paul L. Whiteley Sr.


Teachers’ union not thuggish

How the writer of a Dec. 2 letter can call Kentucky Education Association “union thugs” is beyond my comprehension. Although I have not supported all KEA positions in the past, they were correct in opposing the pension reform measures proposed by the governor and enacted by the legislature.

To call KEA officials “thugs” goes far beyond the point of understanding the issue and shows a lack of respect too often found in today’s political discourse, In this pension reform legislation, all pensions were lumped together, when each had different issues and should have been addressed individually.

In addition, the decision to place future teachers in a hybrid plan will cause negative consequences for both future state budgets and teacher recruitment. Knowing what is at stake here might be helpful to those who believe that our governor and legislators made wise choices with this legislation. Most educators believe that KEA was correct in its opposition. Name calling shows a lack of respect for the process and the issue.

William Farnau