Why no outcry when police are gunned down?
What do Alexander Thalmann, Roberto Sanchez, Charles Dinwiddle, Allen Bares, Perry Renn, Jeffrey Westerfield, Melvin Santiago, Daryl Pierson, Robert White and Justin Winebrenner all have in common?
They are all police officers, shot and killed this year by young, male black suspects.
Kevin Johnson was an African-American Georgia police officer gunned down by a white suspect.
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Yet, in each case, no riots, no violence, no burning and looting, no lawsuits, no endless press coverage and no outcries from the community about the brutal, senseless killing.
Collectively, these officers left behind six wives, 14 children and several grieving parents. And what do we hear from President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Rev. Al Sharpton about these senseless killings? What do you hear from them about these atrocities? Wait for it.... crickets.
Two recent guest columns on Dec. 15 clearly illustrate the differences between thoughtful, objective, critical thinking and the opposite.
The first by Mark Metcalf, Garrad County attorney and former immigration judge, is an excellent example of objective and critical writing. It is worth a read, whether or not you agree with his analysis.
The second, by Mike Rivage-Seul, former professor of peace and social justice at Berea College, is quite the opposite.
He opines that the recent deaths of individuals at the hands of police officers is representative of "deeply racist and unjust social structures where criminals and thugs masquerading as law-enforcement officers have implicitly been granted a license to kill with impunity."
How ridiculous and short-sighted is that? These words certainly do not promote peace.
We all know what promotes peace. Calling law-enforcement officers criminals and thugs certainly does not. The professor should know that.
It also does not promote peace to behead innocent Christian children just because they don't believe as you do, or to resist and attack a police officer trying to make a legal arrest. Let's all try to promote peace rather than confrontation, conflict and strife.
James B. Todd
Ark park discrimination
A recent article about the Ark Encounter reported that state officials denied tax incentives because the park's "hiring practices would discriminate against non-Christians."
I would argue that the hiring practices discriminate against the majority of Christians, as well. Answers in Genesis has a very limited view of what Christianity entails, and most Christians would not fit their definition.
My understanding of AIG's requirements of "salvation testimony" and a "creation belief statement" would leave most Christian church-goers out of consideration for jobs.
Most Protestant and liturgical congregations recite the Nicene Creed, stating that Christ is the source of our salvation, but this does not seem to be AIG's definition of "salvation testimony."
As for a "creation belief statement," millions of devout Christians embrace the findings of modern science yet gain inspiration and strength from the creation descriptions in Genesis.
Furthermore, we are able to reconcile the contradictions present in the two creation descriptions of Genesis 1 and 2. For AIG, is a Genesis 1 creation belief statement more, or less, acceptable than a Genesis 2-based belief statement? Either way, I am sure my belief statement would not be acceptable to AIG, nor would those of most Christians.
Lunch not really free
I have a child in a Lexington public school that received a taxpayer-funded grant this year to provide free school lunches to all kids. I didn't ask for this and I've even tried to pay for the school lunches; the school sends back my check.
Now, Fayette County Public Schools says I'm required to apply for the free-lunch program and tell them such things as how much I make, how often I get paid and by whom, how many kids I have, what grades they're in, etc.
I did not ask for this "free" lunch. I do not need it or want it. And I will not sell my soul or my privacy to Fayette County Public Schools simply because they're forcing it down my throat.
I would happily accept it if a wealthy philanthropist provided a gift of free lunches to all students.
But what's going on here is that taxpayers — my friends and neighbors — are being forced to pay for my child's lunch at the point of a gun, and I find that morally repugnant.
Libraries great investments
Tea Party activist Charlie Coleman and attorney Brandon Voelker seem to have their knickers in a knot over the tax dollars that support the libraries in Kenton and Campbell counties.
Gee, Voelker said in a recent article that his wife "even has a library card" and they live "like half a mile from a library."
Voelker seems to think that this is money spent on "luxuries" instead of roads and jails. Perhaps if children were exposed to more libraries at an early age, there would be no need for more jails.
I wonder if they are even aware that Benjamin Franklin (any Tea Party member should know who he is) founded our library system, and strongly believed that libraries and books are essential to our humanity and civilization.
Education pays in the long run. As Franklin said, "An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
My appreciation to Jessica Holmes, featured in the paper's Neighbors segment in the same issue, for her dedication to her vocation as a school librarian.
I think Franklin would be very proud of her.
Killing of Mountain Lion
Fish and Wildlife bungled by killing big cat"I protect all the wildlife, the fish, the turkey, and deer/So one day when I'm gone, there'll still be plenty here."
The above is an excerpt from a moving poem published on Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources' website. How sad that this thought was not exemplified by the agency's officers who shot and killed a mountain lion in Bourbon County last week.
Fish and Wildlife was contacted about a big cat spotted in a tree. Instead of killing the animal and then posing with its dead body like big-game hunters on safari, the officers should have tranquilized and relocated it to a refuge, such as the nonprofit Wolf Run in Jessamine County or even the state's own Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort.
I hope, due to the outcry surrounding this situation, Fish and Wildlife will use some of the money it collects from hunting and fishing fees to purchase some tranquilizer guns and properly train its officers on their use. Maybe then the beautiful cat's death will not have been completely in vain.
Kentuckians Vote for Animals encourages others to express their thoughts on the matter by contacting the agency at 1 Sportsman's Lane, Frankfort, Ky. 40601, 502-564-3400.
President, Kentuckians Vote for Animals
Improve training, equipment to combat fear
The recent killing of a young mountain lion by a wildlife officer in Bourbon County brings to mind a comparison between this incident and the cases where police officers have killed unarmed individuals.
There are differences in this comparison, since human life must be considered more valuable than that of a mountain lion. However, in both situations there should be an expectation in our society for all law-enforcement officers who face threatening situations.
We should expect that any armed, well-trained officer should be able to subdue and arrest a threatening, unarmed individual, not kill him. The same expectation should be in place for wildlife officers who deal with animals that pose a threat. Unless the animal is in the process of attacking a person, officers should be capable of capturing or tranquilizing the animal before a fatal outcome is considered.
Law-enforcement agencies need to better train and equip officers to avoid fatal outcomes. Knowledge, proper equipment and training are the best weapons to combat the fear or lack of experience that may surface in these threatening situations. Law enforcement officers have a difficult job, full of threats and hazards. But, since all life is precious, we must emphasize saving lives, not taking them.