Letters for January 7, 2016
Disturbing all around
Re “Death and justice” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Dec. 31):
The shooting of Andrew Thomas by Paradise Police Officer Patrick Feaster was one of the most disturbing videos I have ever seen. The subsequent explanation of it as an “accident” is even more so.
But in the end, Officer Feaster’s motivation may be the most frightening of all. Anyone who has watched the video cannot make sense of it, with the first impulse being to ask “Why?” The officer is shown walking toward the suspect, pulls his gun, shoots him and calmly returns the gun to his holster without so much as missing a beat. His demeanor seemed so normal, almost calm. That is clearly in conflict with the situation. Cops don’t shoot unarmed people trying to exit an overturned vehicle, although they may feel like it at times. Who hasn’t been outraged hearing horror stories of those killed by drunken drivers?
Officer Feaster’s passion and source of pride came from arresting drunken drivers. He was even named after a family member killed by a drunken driver. But I fear his actions may reflect an almost unconscious wish to be judge, jury and executioner. When one watches the video from that perspective—“just one less drunk on the road”—it makes perfect, sobering, terrifying sense. I am sad for everyone involved.
Every media outlet has not disclosed the real story about Paradise Police Officer Patrick Feaster’s fatal shooting of an intoxicated driver. District Attorney Mike Ramsey was appointed by Jane Dolan and four other supervisors to fill out the remaining term of the former district attorney before Ramsey ran for office in 1988. Jane Dolan, who is Patrick Feaster’s aunt, has a long political affiliation with Ramsey. Ramsey endorsed Dolan in 2010. I would not be surprised if Dolan and Ramsey were character witnesses when Feaster was hired in Paradise. Feaster’s father, Bob, is Jane’s brother-in-law. He contributed to Dolan’s campaign. Any other questions?
While driving into Chico recently, I was appalled to see a billboard with Santa holding an assault rifle. Since receiving an honorable discharge from the armed forces in 1978, I have never felt any desire to possess a gun for protection or recreation.
For a fleeting moment this thoughtless marketing strategy almost succeeded. I thought for a nanosecond that I should purchase a gun—not for protection against a perceived international enemy or even local criminals, but for security from those automatons that promote and profit from such low-life tactics as this.
As I drove past, I was reminded of the words of Goethe, who wrote that “the Earth is an asylum where God sends all the lunatics.” During these times of escalating gun violence in America, there surely must be more sensible ways to advertise during the sacred and cherished holiday season.
Kenneth B. Keith
Respect both perspectives
Re “What’s the … plan?” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, Dec. 24):
Patrick Newman believes that it shames men to suggest that they try to embrace their more sensitive, nurturing, communicative, “feminine” natures. He doesn’t seem to recognize that the “tough man” stigma human societies have pushed on men has created a hardened, violent and crueler world because it devalues those “feminine” characteristics, just as he seemed to in his letter.
The point of the Healthlines story (“Outside the Man Box,” Dec. 17) is that, as a result of a global society that pigeonholes men into these tough and insensitive roles, there has been a recognizable increase in illness and dysfunction, not only in men, but, as a result, also the world at large.
Newman’s plea for “tough young men” to become “warriors for the planet” is admirable but naïve. Without human societies embracing and respecting both the feminine and masculine perspective, humanity will continue to suffer through more of the same “damaging male behavioral patterns” that have brought us to the frightening and volatile global predicament we’re in now. If more men were encouraged to express their so-called “feminine emotions” instead of being ridiculed for them, there would undoubtedly be less misogyny, rape, bullying, mass shootings, environmental degradation and war. Why not give it a try?
‘He was a Muslim’
Re “Protect thy Muslim neighbor” (Editorial, Dec. 31):
Just so you know, the police have arrested a man named Gary Nathaniel Moore of Houston, Texas—a devout attendee of the mosque that he decided to try to burn down (so he was a Muslim). To quote you, “We must stand up to those who would firebomb our Muslim neighbors’ mosques.”
I think you might include Muslims in “those who would firebomb our Muslim neighbors.”
Ignore talking heads
Are you tired of the “talking heads” handicapping the presidential hopefuls, based on a reporter’s “take” on the latest 15-second sound bite from candidates?
I’m beginning to realize that the truly wise, thoughtful and measured leaders will never be valued by the media as “worthy” to be president. It’s clear that my favorite candidate, Ben Carson—who has truly workable solutions to the complex problems of our times—will never be the darling of the media. His strength is not in the “shoot from the hip” [style] like a Donald Trump.
Count how many times the “favorites” of the media are mentioned in the news vs. the number of times Carson is mentioned. Today, in 45 minutes on Fox News: Marco Rubio’s “take” on gun control has been aired eight times! The same for Chris Christie. The more air time a candidate gets makes a difference in how well his or her candidacy’s viewed by us, the common man.
Don’t let the media pick our president! Take the time to research the qualities of these prospective employees for the most important job in our country.
Loretta Ann Torres
New Year’s wishes
My wish for 2016 is embodied in the following: the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth (and Let It Begin With Me)”; Helen Steiner’s poem, “Peace on Earth will come to stay, when we keep Christmas every day”; my license plate “WRLD PAZ”; and my bumper sticker “War is not the answer.”
Are you looking for a New Year’s resolution that’s more than the typical old “going to the gym and starting another diet”? One that could really make a difference, and you could easily keep? Instead of a low-carb diet for yourself, how about helping to put the Earth on a diet instead: a low-carbon diet. That’s what we need to mitigate climate change.
In effect, we need to “count calories” for the Earth by putting a price on carbon. We all know that counting calories takes will power—in this case the political will to put a price on carbon. A phone call or email this week to your representative in Congress will go a long way to creating that will power (www.house.gov/representatives/find). And you can feel good that this is one resolution you have kept.