Let’s do it better
Yes, we are on our way into 2022, another chance to do it better. May we all step back and take that look at ourselves and our choices and activities. May we make changes to add to the well-being and health of the world around us, rather than contribute to ongoing problems.
Did Rep. Dan Newhouse listen to President Biden state the obvious this week, that there can be no productive political discourse when lies are used as weapons? Unfortunately, Newhouse was willing to depart from the truth in his Dec. 23 newsletter wherein he seriously misrepresented this year’s Washington House Bill 1310. The law was motivated by incidents of police violence against people who were not committing a crime or who were killed while in behavioral crisis. The law emphasizes de-escalation in situations of crisis, rather than confrontation, and sets out training standards, but does not prevent the lawful use of force when necessary.
However, Newhouse, claims that under this law: “our law enforcement officers can no longer detain suspects when there is reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred. That means if there’s a drive-by shooting and an officer sees a car speeding out of the neighborhood, they can’t stop it.”
Those statements are absolutely false and dangerously inflammatory. HB 1310 says nothing about when an officer may stop and/or detain a criminal suspect and has not changed the “stop” standards. The use of force standards reflect what court decisions have long held to be the permissible use of force. The law requires the use of reasonable care under “the totality of the circumstances.”
I hope Newhouse’s motivation for his serious misstatement is not to simply criticize our state Legislature, but one is hard-pressed to imagine what else it would be, knowing that most of his readers would take him at his word. Partisanship is one thing, but dishonest partisanship is quite another. If there are legitimate concerns about the new law, let’s discuss them honestly, and not make up false scenarios.
Perhaps Newhouse did not purposefully lie, but was taken in by some police claims that if they think they can’t use illegal force they won’t try to intervene in a request for assistance for a person in crisis. If so, that is all the more evidence that the training specified in HB 1310 is necessary. Please, Mr. Newhouse, do your research, and deal us the facts honestly.
How it was done
My Aunt Sue was born in 1899 and when the Spanish Flu made it to central Washington she was a young bride living with her husband on a large, working cattle ranch outside of Ellensburg. A total of 15 to 20 people lived on the ranch.
Sue was friends with the local doctor and his family, one of which was another young woman of her age. As the epidemic descended on the community she sought the advice of the physician’s family. On their advice and with the support of her husband, they quickly installed some changes and strict protocols on the ranch.
The bunkhouses were stripped and refitted for more room and something in the way of partitions between beds. Accommodating for more room, some horse stalls were fitted for two-person rooms, again with partitions. Some of the partitions consisted of stacks of straw bales. Anything to provide a barrier.
Eating was no longer at a long indoor table with everyone serving themselves family style. Sue put up a buffet line on a semi-enclosed porch for serving and the crew could either eat at tables on the open porch or in their rooms. A change was made requiring that all dishes be washed and splashed over with boiling water after each meal. Hand washing was also required and doing laundry occasionally was encouraged. There were no indoor tables, no game tables, no indoor gathering space.
Her husband, Uncle Steve and the ranch foreman were the only people who came and went from the ranch. They delivered beef and brought in supplies as rarely as possible and isolated in the hunting cabin for a bit when they returned. Any crew who left the ranch were not allowed to return. Most stayed.
This lasted almost two years including two winters. I remember Aunt Sue and Uncle Steve being asked about this at a family dinner and someone wondered how they got a ranch crew to accept the restrictions. Uncle Steve replied, “She was a good-looking young woman and she wouldn’t shut up! And she was right!”
They had not one case of flu on the ranch.