Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

Archives: Nov. 2014

Nov.
26th

FERGUSON: Here’s what to tell your sons

President Obama has said all Americans should have a conversation about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Here is the conversation all fathers should have with their sons:

“This conversation will be one sided: I will talk and you will listen.

“Do not be an angry young man, and do not smoke pot.

“If you are an angry young man and you do smoke pot, do not assault the proprietor of a convenience store and do not steal anything or commit any other crime, and do not ignore the instructions of a police officer when he responds to your

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Nov.
26th

FERGUSON: Collaboration and dialogue needed

For many, the Ferguson grand jury decision to not indict a police officer for the shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, bore out injustices in our nation’s judicial system. The personal anecdotes from the response to this decision add to the context in which many view the interaction of police and communities of color.

The Tacoma Human Rights Commissioners observed the local, national and international outcry surrounding the grand jury’s decision and take up the call to action. Our aim is to celebrate the uniqueness of us all by cultivating a shared human experience of love and acceptance while

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Nov.
26th

EDUCATION: Grade inflation necessitates testing

A letter writer (TNT, 11-24) argues that high school graduation exams are not necessary.

They were not needed or desirable when I left high school decades ago, but then we did not have a problem of “grade inflation,” which allows unmerited high school diplomas to be awarded. Now, most colleges find it necessary to offer remedial courses in math and English, and roughly half of high school diploma holders entering college need to take at least one remedial course.

The problem of grade inflation is not new. In 1991, Mary Sherry, a teacher of remedial English, contributed an article

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Nov.
26th

FERGUSON: Protesters define ‘justice’ their own way

The reaction to the Ferguson decision is saddening. Apparently, the only acceptable definition of “justice” for the protesters was that the police officer be indicted and convicted.

The only evidence that is given credence by the protesters is the unsubstantiated pronouncements of various unnamed sources and no consideration of the physical evidence. Apparently careful consideration of the sworn testimony of witnesses and physical evidence presented that might counter preconceived and ill-informed opinions was too much trouble.

While “Hands up, don’t shoot” makes for an easy sound bite, the conflicting sworn testimony could not determine the position of Michael Brown’s hands.

When

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Nov.
26th

FERGUSON: Help bend the arc of justice

Re: “Conflicting witnesses on Ferguson, race in America” (editorial, 11-26).

Noting that what happened and is happening in Ferguson, Missouri, is “too ambiguous” to bear the weight of a “racial narrative” is insufficient. The prosecutor was out to protect the police in the grand jury proceedings, as legal experts have noted.

The cross-examination of Darren Wilson was merely pro forma, for instance, whereas others were grilled. The aim was to keep the facts “ambiguous.”

We can know that Missouri and other states have perpetuated white supremacist law enforcement and justice systems, from the days of Dred Scott until now,

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Nov.
25th

FERGUSON: Injustice there is important here

I lived in Ferguson, Missouri, for years while pastoring a large African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) congregation in St. Louis. I know the lay of the land. I know the people. I have encountered the police department on more than one occasion, long before the Michael Brown incident.

The AME has a large presence in the city and county of St. Louis, Missouri. I now pastor Allen AME Church of Tacoma, a church that recently celebrated 125 years. Allen church often can be found taking care of communities that would not always share with us. We still, to this day,

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Nov.
25th

WAR: Why not just get out of the Middle East?

When I watch the evening news, the discussion is always about how we should attack the government of Syria, the Islamic State or the Taliban. Most of the politicians seem to be critical of the president for not being aggressive enough.

I was watching “Democracy Now” the other day and they were interviewing Cathy Kelly, a peace who has made many trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. She wonders why it is never discussed that maybe the solution to all this war stuff is that the U.S. just needs to get its military out of the Middle East.

It is widely acknowledged that

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Nov.
25th

MENTAL HEALTH: There is a proven solution

Re: ” In state of limbo” (TNT, 11-23).

We know the mental health system is not meeting the needs of people in crisis because of the lack of beds in psychiatric programs.

Together we have at least 66 years working in the mental health system. We know a way to manage the system and save each community money. We worked in Western State Hospital’s Center for Forensic Services, which had a 97 percent success rate in keeping people out of contact with police, emergency rooms, jails and court systems.

How did we do that? We simply had people involved in an

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