Letters for July 14, 2016

‘Zombie nation’

In four days, two more black men killed by police officers and five police officers killed by a black sniper.

We mourn. We talk about gun control. But, there are deep problems—beyond sentiment and guns. And, we’ll go on misunderstanding the nature of those problems, because we are a zombie nation, increasingly unable to self-reflect. We nurse delusions of functionality, while our system spins out of control.

Affluent whites love the facade of black success: Oprah, Tiger Woods (oops!), Michael Jordan, Sean Combs, Robert F. Smith. But, when we read that wealth inequality is at a 100-year extreme, who do we think is getting hurt? It’s the millions of “poor white trash” and inner-city blacks; the same people with ancestors under the boot of poverty for decades or centuries. (Contrary to any claim of racial “progress,” the wealth gap between white and black families has tripled since the 1980s.)

Cops don’t go looking for poor folks to shoot. They are hired to keep order—and that means keeping a lid on the mostly invisible and increasingly impoverished, frustrated masses. Same thing that’s happening in the slums of Rio—right next to the $10 billion party known as the “Olympics.”

Patrick Newman


Where’s the mercy?

The police had no mercy. We were all sound asleep when they rousted the five of us sleeping on the church grounds saying they wanted us out of plain sight, giving two of us camping tickets. This camping description makes no sense—we’re not camping. Camping means equipment; what we were doing is strictly sleeping. The human body requires sleep or it will shut down at some point and we will fall asleep, wherever we are. This is ludicrous. How would the police like it if they weren’t allowed to sleep? I’m 57 years old and I’m beyond exhausted from sheer lack of REM sleep.

Julie Vigeant


More cop talk

Things aren’t always as they seem. That’s why our forefathers gave us the Fifth Amendment, which gives us a chance to tell our side of the story before a jury of our peers when we’re accused of a crime. Accordingly, unless police are put in a situation of “kill or be killed,” they’re arguably bound to capture even known murderers alive.

In Dallas on July 7, this could have been accomplished by equipping the robot with tasers—or even tranquilizer darts—to subdue gunman Micah Johnson instead of blowing him up with a bomb. Such was arguably use of excessive force. One could even argue it was cruel and unusual punishment—an Eighth Amendment violation.

Police officers around the country clearly take the injury and killing of fellow police officers personally and often dole out vigilante justice against offenders. That’s unprofessional, unlawful and wrong.

Nathan Esplanade

Tehama County

Risky business

“It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity.” —Dag Hammarskjold

Voting for Trump, directly or by not voting for Hillary, accepts a terrible risk. Signing America’s Declaration of Independence also carried a terrible risk.

Our Constitution’s authors anticipated Trump—they’d seen demagogues before. So the Constitution specifies three separate branches of government—remember high school civics “checks and balances”?—to neutralize would-be tyrants.

What those men didn’t anticipate was a very few people accumulating a wealth great enough to establish influence—if not dominion—over all three branches [of government]. There’s a six-page list of corporations who bought Hillary Clinton’s “speeches,” and they all considered it money wisely spent.

Electing Clinton would issue a clear statement, to the world and to ourselves, that we quit, we’ve lost our courage, we’re ready to surrender our country to the Kochs and the Clintons—to the very people whose depraved indifference brought us to the rage and frustration and despair that drive Trump’s campaign. And that we’re prepared to ignore the wisdom, contained in that Constitution, of those Founding Fathers—which might be the biggest risk of all.

My grandchildren deserve better than that from me.

Chuck Greenwood


A puzzling critique

Re “Truck wars, part one” and “Truck wars, part two” (Chow, by Tuck Coop, June 30 and July 7):

Every taco truck is a living testimony to years of relentless hard work, determination and a vision for a better life. These brave entrepreneurs are success stories in their community and models of the American dream.

That is why I was puzzled by some of the comments in last week’s Chow, by Tuck Coop. The author’s mission is to assist the reader in making a thorough evaluation of Chico’s taco trucks. He states that, when judging food quality, he has “two standards of judgment: how good the food tastes now, as you eat it, and how sick you feel in an hour, as you digest it.”

One has to wonder if he uses this same criteria when giving his opinion on food offered by other food trucks and restaurants? Are these two standards employed when assessing a vendor’s pizza, sushi or cupcakes? Hopefully Mr. Coop will consider taking a more positive approach in the future. Don’t lose sight of the fact that every owner is feeding his or her family.

Chuck the clipboard critique approach and instead feature your favorite picks. Celebrate what makes these small businesses and their owners exceptional, and we will celebrate with you.

Melinda Vasquez


Status quo cemented

Re “Farewell to The Greatest” (Letters, June 9):

After Muhammad Ali’s death, [local superdelgate] Bob Mulholland wrote a letter to the editor saying something about learning from Ali and that America is better for Ali having challenged the status quo. Mulholland is the status quo in cement.

I’d love to hear Ali, in his prime, rage about the idea of unelected superdelegates! Ali would have been a loud Bernie supporter. What would Ali have said about the Iraq War and the Hillary Clinton-instigated war on Libya and Syria?

When the draft called for Ali in 1966, he said, “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” He refused to go. The refusal was an earthquake in a rigid society. The vilification and penalties were huge. Such courage of conviction was magnificent.

In these times, we need more courage of conviction. I’m sure Ali, in his time of great courage, would have had marvelous words to describe Mulholland’s warmongering, Wall Street-supporting Hillary.

What we need is an army of Bernie Sanderses. Change could happen. The world could be saved from serious inequality, injustice, hate, endless wars and the relentless march of climate change.

Lucy Cooke

Butte Valley