Judgment on facts
The person or persons who wrote the editorial Tuesday needs more knowledge of laws involving operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. You state that "Rayshard Brooks should be alive today." Yes, he should. You state that his death was "completely avoidable." Yes, it was. One word could have avoided it all: comply.
Mr. Brooks was found intoxicated behind the wheel of his car. He was placed under arrest for that violation of law. He violated the law again when he resisted being handcuffed (standard police procedure). To say he should have been allowed to leave and walk to his sister's house or given a ride home is ludicrous. Had he been released by the officers, and later returned to drive his car away (still intoxicated), crashed his car into someone else and caused death or serious injury, the police would have been held accountable for that. Had he caused death or injury to your loved one, you might be writing a different editorial.
Make judgment on facts, not emotions.
Hot Springs Village
Wear mask for others
The Fayetteville City Council has just passed an ordinance requiring people to wear face masks when out in public. I understand that for some of you, this feels like an inconvenience, and for others, it feels like an assault on your civil liberties.
For our family, it is a matter of survival.
Two years ago, our 4-year-old son was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. We did not know that instead of preparing for kindergarten, we would drive 5,000 miles for treatment between here and Little Rock. Instead of Cub Scouts, we would have 52 chemotherapy treatments (and counting). Instead of soccer, we would have 19 surgical procedures.
For many people with medical conditions like our son, or the elderly, covid-19 is a deadly threat. Our son, at the worst of his treatment, had just 7 percent of a functioning immune system, the same as a person in the late stages of AIDS. Worse, health officials estimate that we have had only 10 percent of the cases in northwest Arkansas that we are going to have.
What you need to understand is just how much the vulnerable need you, and how much wearing a mask and social distancing can make a difference. Studies by the National Institutes of Health have proven that N95 and N99 masks are 97-98 percent effective, and data from the National Academy of Sciences has shown that even cheap surgical masks have reduced covid-19 transmission by almost 40 percent.
I think many of you do care about the vulnerable, yet if you are happy to donate to kids through Arkansas Children's Hospital or Make A Wish, can't you also wear a mask to help save lives?
By passing this law, Fayetteville is trying to look after what the Bible calls "the least of these." People like our son. Please remember that.
Farewell to symbols
Goodbye, Aunt Jemima. So long, Uncle Ben. There is a big push to set things right to remove obvious racist names and symbols.
While we are at it, could the NFL find a way to get the team in D.C. to change the name of that team? It's the most obvious racist name being used in sports.
About that nostalgia
The "Back to Niagara" column by Dana D. Kelley was a nostalgic plea for a return to a more pleasant and stable social order, a time when everyone stayed in their place and any cries for justice--or breath--were appropriately muted so as not to disturb Mr. Kelley.
The good old times that Kelley has not forgotten includes local east Arkansas newspapers with "Colored News" columns, black and white waiting rooms, and police who knew how to keep people in line. While Kelley may wish to return to those days, few others do. Where he saw "uncivil rioting" in the recent demonstrations, most of us saw a long-awaited and growing push for police reform and racial justice.
One paragraph of the column, discussing the 1905 Niagara conference, deserves special recognition for its essential "whiteness": "Their protests were many and valid, and conveyed vehemently. But at the same time, they balanced their document by gratefully acknowledging support from a great many whites ... ." Would their grievance be less valid if it had not been "balanced" by gratitude to whites?
In a shared spirit of nostalgia, I suggest Kelley get out the old record player and play one from 1964 by Sam Cooke. A change is gonna come. Oh yes, it will.
We citizens and businesses of Fayetteville are caught in the middle of a conflict between our city council on the one hand, and the Arkansas governor and state health department on the other.
The city council thinks that the governor and health department guidelines for face coverings and masks do not go far enough, so they passed an ordinance requiring anyone in the "public portion" of a business to wear a face covering. If the business is guilty of "willful neglect" in enforcing this ordinance, it may be fined up to $500. Councilman Matthew Petty says that the state should have to justify itself to the city council for disagreeing with this ordinance. Our city council should consider the following points.
- The governor and health department justify their positions every weekday at 1:30 p.m. in the governor's covid-19 update. Mr. Petty should go on YouTube if he wants to understand the state's position.
- By this ordinance the city council is, in effect, making Fayetteville a kind of "CHAZ" of Arkansas.
- Most residents would appreciate it if our council would stop the virtue-signaling and simply focus on their duties, and let the governor and the health department focus on their duties. There is enough conflict in our nation without this needless challenge between our city and the state.
- It's enough work for us to daily do our jobs and to keep up with state requirements without the added fear that our city government will find us guilty of willful neglect of a city ordinance regarding a customer's mask.
- Fayetteville City Council, please repeal the mask ordinance.