Understanding the rage
The lives of police officers matter a great deal. But it would be wrong to let that simple statement blind us to the reality of what life can be like in places like inner-city Baltimore or Minneapolis. In order to understand the rage behind the Black Lives Matter movement, it is important to understand some history and the current reality of people affected by policing.
Here’s a snapshot from Minneapolis, the city in which George Floyd was killed by police from the Minneapolis Third Precinct (quoted from “The Sanctuary,” by Wes Enzinna, Harper’s Magazine, October 2020): “Part of the rage unleashed locally by Floyd’s killing centered on the brutal reputation of officers from the Third Precinct, whose population is largely black and Native American. Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed Floyd, had been the subject of 17 excessive-force complaints, including one case in which the suspect died, and had been disciplined only once. Between 2007 and 2017, the city paid $2.1 million to settle misconduct lawsuits involving Third Precinct officers. In one instance, an officer kicked a handcuffed suspect in the face, leaving his jaw in pieces. In another, two officers from the Third Precinct picked up two homeless Native American men, forced them into the trunk of their squad car, and drove around the city at high speeds …”
Does this abuse by police in the Third Precinct warrant the angry protests we’ve been witnessing in our major cities? Have I even the right to answer that question? No, I don’t believe in violence, but this is me saying it, the grandson of immigrants and the benefactor of America’s privilege – a far different person in a far different world than George Floyd.
I wish there were a Dr. King to help us through this darkness. But there may have been too much neglect by those in power and too much rage accumulated over time by communities of color in places like Minneapolis. As Malcolm X said: “You don’t stick a knife in a man’s back 9 inches, and then pull it out 6 inches and say you’re making progress.”
David Asia, Twisp
Thanks for generosity
Thanks to the generosity of the people of the Methow Valley, the American Legion Post 143 collected a lot of recent food donations plus over $337.50 in cash, all going to The Cove food bank in Twisp, and an equal amount is being donated directly to the people affected by the Cold Springs Fire. Thank you all for caring and donating.
Keith Morden, Commander, Methow Valley, American Legion Post 0143, Twisp
Why not log?
After following the discussion about the Mission Project, I thought it was time to add another side of the subject. I liked the letter from Rosalee, and we all live here for the same reason, to enjoy the out of doors. Perhaps those with opinions on the Mission Project could agree to disagree.
I continue to hear about commercial logging for profit. Is logging evil? We all work for profit, many people in the valley have, and still, work in the logging industry. Logging is hard, and productive work, and not free from profit, or expense. The Mission Project is badly infected with “bug kill” trees, and that will only get worse, as will wildfires, as this year shows. Both are results of global warming.
Some groups of people think the forest should burn naturally. I would have agreed a decade ago. Some groups want to ignore the dangerous effects of dead and dying timber. I am in favor of logging the project, to make the forest safer from wildfires, providing jobs, and lumber for building.
What is your house made of?
Jack Berg, Twisp
About those ballots
The U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C., sent a postcard to every postal customer, showing a checklist to prepare for voting in this November election.
Among the five items, the middle one tells us to “Request your mail-in ballot (often called ‘absentee’ ballot) at least 15 days before Election Day.”
Do you think there would be any indication on how one is supposed to request a ballot? Where to address such a request? Nothing.
If you live in the state of Washington, and have voted by mail in the past, you have received your ballot every time there was an election, and you do not need to request your mail-in ballot. So, why does this card say that you need to “Request a mail-in ballot?” Five states – Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Utah and Hawaii – already conduct their election by mail. Why is this not indicated on the card? As procedures vary from state to state vary, why is the USPS using the same form for all states?
I suspect that as a result of this postcard, many customers will be worried that their ballot will not be mailed to them and start calling local authorities to verify that will get it. I sympathize with whoever has to answer the requests. It could be avoided.
Voters in Washington, you are going to receive your mail-in ballot, hopefully in time. To be sure your vote counts, mail it back in time (seven days ahead of Election Day, says the postcard), or drop it off at your local election box.
Marie D. Tracy, Twisp
Signing your ballot
If you are at all uncertain as to what constitutes your signature that the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office will check when they review your ballot, I urge you to contact that office. Their phone number is (509) 422-7240, and their office is located at 149 Third Ave. N., Room 104 at the County Courthouse.
If you need to update your signature or if you have ever received a letter from them saying that your ballot did not have a verifiable signature, please contact them so that your vote will count.
After the last election, my husband and I argued over the proper signature that should appear on one’s ballot. He had signed his ballot with his usual signature, which is the way it appears on his driver’s license. It does not include his middle name. I signed my full name the way it was addressed to me on my ballot. As we registered to vote when we got our driver’s licenses when we moved to Washington, I should have just checked my signature on my driver’s license.
The County Auditor’s Office has a minimum of three points of comparison for your signature, and if they can compare it to at least three points, they will accept the signature. If they send you a letter saying that they are unable to compare your signature with what they have on file, you will get a chance to sign again. But this will, of course, delay the tallying of your vote.
If you have any issues with signing the ballot itself – shaky hands, injuries, what have you – the ballot provides for two witness lines for the verification of your signature.
So, when you vote, don’t forget to sign your ballot, but please make sure that you sign it in such a fashion that your vote will be counted! In our case, both of our votes had counted, but now I know how I should sign my ballot.
Christy O. Stebbins, Mazama