I am a 71-year-old white American male. It is 2020, and I live in a country whose original sin of racism is alive and well.
We have all seen the coverage. George Floyd was a black man who was confronted by Minneapolis police for suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a store. They ordered him out of his car and shoved him onto the ground where a bystander’s video showed one of the officers with his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than five minutes. Floyd gasped that he could not breathe, several in the crowd told the officer that Floyd was suffering and could not breathe, but nothing changed. Further, none of the other policemen made any move to pull the officer off Floyd. Floyd was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Yes, the FBI is investigating the incident as a hate crime. Yes, the perpetrator and the three other officers have been fired and will probably face serious charges. But George Floyd is dead. Maybe he was passing counterfeit currency. Maybe he had run afoul of the law in the past. But he did not deserve to die. This is just the latest in a continuing series of horrific acts against black American citizens. America will never be the shining city on the hill that so many of us want it to be till every one of us confronts, and admits, and asks forgiveness for our racism.
Ray Lanford, Woodway
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We need to enact police reform ASAP. Every day innocent people are hurt by the police. This harms our communities and families, the criminal justice system, the moral fabric of our country and the police themselves.
I urge Gov. Greg Abbott, state Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson and state Sen. Brian Birdwell to ensure there is real accountability for both negligence and active malfeasance. Ensure that any investigation and justice process is transparent and swift. Put in place rules and consequences to prevent errant police officers from just jumping to the next town. Ensure police receive additional training with a focus on deescalation. Work with nonprofits to enact meaningful and proven reforms. And we need to stop enforcing antiquated drug laws that put people in jail for victimless crimes. I urge my elected officials to do this today.
Michael Riess, Waco
Bathed in luxury?
May 14’s letters to the editor were quite possibly the most entertaining in a while. Could someone please translate Peter Stern’s letter from QAnon to English? What in the ??? Are the sharks a metaphor or does he actually mean literal sharks? Could he be more specific about who “the judge” is? So many questions.
And to Brett Solem in Lorena, I was so happy to learn that my spouse, along with his coworkers who literally clean up Brett’s... uh... wastewater... should have up to this point been “bathed in wealth and luxury.” Pretty much every operator at WMARSS has a story about being bathed in something, but it isn’t wealth or luxury, I assure you!
But with this delightful revelation, they surely raced to work on Monday (utilities don’t stop for holidays) to discuss with their supervisors this apparent oversight in providing these baths full of benefits, requesting that this mistake be remedied immediately.
Elli Harris-Mevis, Hewitt
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ms. Harris-Mevis refers to the Waco Metropolitan Area Regional Sewerage System. We’re not sure who the sharks represent, either.