The views and opinions expressed in our letters section are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Hudson Valley One. You can submit a letter to the editor here.
Biden asleep at the wheel
After 100 days of the Biden administration, you have to wonder who’s in charge. President Biden has yet to address a joint session of Congress like his predecessors. He ducks questions and walks from the press after making a speech. He’s held one press conference and someone made a list of the ten reporters in order of when to call them, complete with a picture and name so he’d get it right. The answers to the expected questions were written on index cards for him to read.
The president normally has what we used to call “sleepy eyes,” but at the press conference he was bug-eyed. I wonder who was in charge of the agenda and what medication he might have been on to make his eyes so wide. How about how he was supposed to improve the world view of America? So, he calls President Putin a murderer. While probably true, it’s not very diplomatic. Then he asked Putin for a one-on-one meeting and what a surprise: Putin says no. Then the Russians start massing troops and tanks on the Ukrainian border. Biden issues a warning and says we’re going to send two destroyers into the Black Sea. Putin says he shouldn’t, and he cancels the trip. China is threatening to take action if we continue to send ships through the Formosa Strait.
Then there’s the refugee problem at the border. We’ve all seen the pictures the administration tried to keep from us. After denying it was a crisis this week, he finally acknowledged it was. About three weeks ago, President Biden announced Vice-President Harris would be in charge of the border problem. As of yet, she hasn’t held a press conference or outlined any plan, and said she’s not in charge of the border problem. This week, Biden said he was going to continue Trump’s 15,000 limit of refugees. AOC and others on the left protested and the president folded. When El Salvador President Bukele visit Washington, he requested a meeting with Biden to discuss the refugee problem. He didn’t get one, and when Biden sent an envoy to El Salvador, Bukele refused to meet him. Both Mexican President Obrador and Guatemalan President Giammatte have said Biden’s confusing messages created the border crisis.
So even though the Black Sea is international waters, Putin’s in charge. China seems to intend to control access to the Formosa Strait. The drug cartels, who now earn more smuggling people into the US, are in charge of our southern border. Like the Titanic, we’re heading toward an iceberg and the captain is asleep in his cabin.
Since flowers were deregulated, they’re more profuse than ever!
Thanks for helping in the beautification and greening of Saugerties
Town of Saugerties Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. and Town Board members Leeanne Thornton, Peg Nau, Mike Ivino and John Schoonmaker IV would like to thank the listed participants for their involvement during the Green & Clean Days, which were held on April 17, 18, 24 & 25, 2021 through their collection of roadside litter along town roads to aid in the beautification and greening of Saugerties:
Volunteer team captains John Schoonmaker IV, Bob Howe, Barbara Krzywonos, Jouette Bassler, Edward Bird, Amy Feinberg, Amy Eskesen, Joan Authenrieth , Dorothy Goren, Lanny Walter & Judith Spektor, Lauren Ruberg, Brian & Linda Carmody, Jessica Churchill, Richard Frisbie, Robin Blier, Deborah Barry, Stacey Delvalle, Andrea Giarraputo, Mike & Cindy Saporito, Theresa Baker, Linda Beck Kelly Polston, Sue Rinaldi, Phyllis Clark, Angela & John Morano, Barbara Hammerstone, Gloria Darmanin, Kayleigh Zalogia, Aidan Gardner, Sandy Cohen, Mike Hills, Jo Cicale, Beth Murphy, Hans Gunderud, Jim Barbaro, Renee Reynolds, Peg Nau, Annie Hoffstatter, Marilyn Walls, Jessica Brott, Al Whittaker Jr. and Jennifer Mangione and the volunteer team members who helped these individuals with the project.
The Town of Saugerties is very fortunate to have such an asset as these volunteers that have pitched in to do their part for the community.
A special thanks goes out to the transfer dtation employees Joe Hartrum, Bert Hartrum & Mark Fisher for the collection of the gathered roadside litter and for processing it at the transfer station.
Terri Wood, Secretary to the Supervisor
Time to take action in Saugerties
What does the conviction of Derek Chauvin mean for Saugerties? We never want such a dehumanizing incident to happen in our community. Racial bias can be a subtle motivating force. If George Floyd were a white man, perhaps Chauvin would have let up before Floyd died. We will never know for sure. What we do know is that training of our mostly white police force on the issue of implicit or subconscious racial bias has barely begun.
Brooklyn Center, where recently 20-year-old Daunte Wright suffered a fatal gunshot while sitting in his car, has a population of 30,000 people. We have 20,000 – not so different. Unless we commit to a training regimen that puts our police force in touch with their racial attitudes and encourages them to deescalate confrontations, we too could find ourselves on national TV. None of us want that to happen.
Has the time come?
Years ago I wrote: “We have to undo the wrath that has befallen us in order to maintain the ambiance of our surroundings, because eventually we are going to have to pay the piper.”
Too much of too much lying
Too much of “a whole lot of nothing” can make a majority of citizens feel ill at ease, one Georgia governor’s legislative BS might rise, while a voting bloc’s constitutional right now feels its freedom diminish via this new marginalized squeeze.
The GOP “Big Lie” about election fraud is now part of a nationwide effort to suppress the vote of those most likely to cast a ballot in opposition to their political party. The obvious racism is glaring. By all accounts, Georgia had a very successful election, including the multiple recounts. Why suddenly would these new laws be needed? These laws are “an answer in search of a problem.” The only answer points to a “new” set of Jim Crow laws. These laws are insidious, and your defense of them, Mr. Civile, in an earlier letter to the editor sounds like an abuser explaining why the abuse isn’t so bad. Power for the few over the will of the majority is not governance. It’s authoritarian.
I imagine Mr. Civile will opine and agree with others of his ilk: “The racism isn’t as bad as the racism during Jim Crow, so it’s not real racism.” I agree that Georgia’s new voting law is not a direct return to Jim Crow. However, it does establish the conditions by which in future elections the Jim Crow philosophy may be inflicted with a cruel and exacting specificity via selective voter nullification.
Call it what you like, but the GOP doesn’t want black or brown voting Georgians taking power from them. I’m sorry. I missed the part in your letter to the editor, Mr. Civile, where it explains the reason for these changes. You can try to make these changes seem not so bad, but what were these changes predicated on? And there, Mr. Civile, lies the crux of the matter.
The GOP view, as well as your view Mr. Civile, is one from the bottom: a foul-smelling effluvium of political thinking. Trump lost and y’all are mad. You think these laws will make voting illegal. Someone said it best: “Any political party that wants less of their people to vote is an organization you don’t want to be a part of.” I will not accept the BS of voter fraud or your nonsense of rationalizing the new voting laws! If this law suppresses voter turnout (of any race) by even .0001 percent, it is a bad, anti-democracy law; so why reinvent the wheel? A reinvention, by the way, which will make that wheel less efficient and harder to use.
Derek Chauvin trial
In the same week that George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, there was a brief news report on TV that Floyd and Chauvin both worked as security for the same local firm. I have not heard or read any follow-up. If both Floyd and Chauvin worked as security for the same firm, this raises crucial questions:
1. Did they know each other?
2. Did they interact?
3. Were their interactions neutral, friendly or hostile?
4. Was there any professional jealousy?
5. Is it possible that Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd was an act of vengeance based on an earlier incident when they encountered each other at work?
These questions, even if covered in the trial, must be asked…and answered now!
Responsible placement of solar arrays
Many of us support solar collectors as preferred means of generation of electricity to heat, cool and light our homes and businesses. Rooftop collectors make the most sense because they are placed on the buildings they power. Placing unsightly collectors on pasturelands don’t benefit the cows and they do ruin the landscape.
Generating power is a classified industrial use and belongs in an industrial district. Like any industry, they should be constructed in conformance with an approved site plan. Such a plan would provide for landscaped buffers against other non-industrial districts and would provide attractive settings into which to imbed the collectors, just as it would for any industrial building.
Responsible placement of solar arrays requires responsible zoning and planning. Other sites might include paved parking lots where the collectors would shade cars from the hot sun.
Support Bill Murray & Stana Weisburd for Village Board
I am writing to express my strong support for Bill Murray and Stana Weisburd in this year’s New Paltz Village Board election. Both Stana and Bill are committed community volunteers and serve as great examples of civic involvement. Bill has served on our Village Board for the last four years and also volunteers as a firefighter with the New Paltz Fire Department. Stana has served as a member of the Town Planning Board and is an outspoken advocate for underrepresented members of our community.
Both Bill and Stana are folks who show up ready to work and get the work done, and that’s just what we need in local government. I am glad that they are running and look forward to continuing to work with them both. Most importantly, please get out and vote on Tuesday, May 4 from 12 to 9 p.m. at the Village Firehouse on Plattekill Avenue. For more information on voting, please visit www.villageofnewpaltz.org/elections-forms.
Grateful for Ashokan Rail Trail
As a frequent user of the Ashokan Rail Trail (ART), I feel I must respond to the letter authored by Victor and Zura Capell and published April 21, 2021. In their letter they describe ART as an “atrocity in the woods.”
I have used this trail at least three times a week from spring through fall since it opened, and I must disagree. I have not witnessed the many negatives described by the Capells during my extensive walks on the trail. I have entered the trail from every access point and typically walk three to four miles on the trail. I frequently carry binoculars or my camera. I have experienced peace and tranquility on the trail, and it has provided immense enjoyment to me since it opened. It showcases the beauty of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills. I enjoy wonderful sunrises and sunsets along the trail, and I use the walk to contemplate and meditate. I have rarely encountered “doggy poop blight” and never encountered an unleashed dog. I do frequently encounter unleashed dogs on the Kingston rail trail, and I ask the people to leash their dogs, as I am afraid of dogs (having been bitten as a young child).
I often walk on the trail alone and I have never felt unsafe. I really have never had a negative encounter –except that once I got a flat tire while biking on the trail (a pebble cut a hole in my tire). I really like the fact that families and people in wheelchairs can enjoy the trail. I often see youngster in strollers or on balance bikes. It makes me smile to see them. I don’t doubt that there have been de minimis environmental consequences as a result of the ART, but I think it has provided enormous benefits that greatly outweigh any environmental impact.
I, for one, am very grateful for the Ashokan Rail Trail.
Vote no on the proposition to move the May village election to November
New Paltz village elections are coming up on Tuesday, May 4 beginning at noon until 9 p.m. in the firehouse at Village Hall. I’m running for re-election for village trustee, and I hope I have your support.
The ballot also includes whether or not to move our May village election to November, breaking with a practice going back decades. The thinking behind the move is to increase voter turnout and to save approximately $8,000 in village operational costs, since the county’s Board of Elections would run and pay for the November election, funded by Ulster County taxpayers. I’m certainly in favor of both increasing voter turnout and saving money. However, there will be consequences to such a proposed move, and the devil is in the details.
An election in November would be a county-run, partisan contest. At present, the May village election is nonpartisan, meaning it consists of candidates who run on their own independent party, of their creation, organized among friends, family and supporters — not on a major party ticket. The difficulty is that it’s quite possible a small committee of people belonging to a major party could pick who should serve in a village position, and those committee members may not even be village residents. In an intimate political and cultural setting, such as we have here in the Village of New Paltz, this could be divisive. Just a handful of people would decide who would run our local government. It’s true that a candidate could run for a village office without a major party’s choice and backing, but the odds would not be in that person’s favor.
Additionally, there would have to be a primary election in late June, costing the county somewhere between $4,000 and $8,000, if there were interested candidates of other parties (Working Families, Independent, Republican, etc), so the prospect of November elections could cost county taxpayers almost double. Thirdly, because SUNY New Paltz isn’t in session during late June, many of those voters wouldn’t be around for a primary and thus largely wouldn’t be able to participate in who represents them. Absentee ballots are a possibility for those constituents, but historically those ballots do not produce the turnout that in-person voting does. So the prospect of November elections could cost taxpayers almost double while potentially reducing the number of voters for a primary to decide who is the best candidate for a fall election.
The present structure has a great deal of wisdom behind it and allows for more grassroots involvement and engagement in our local government workings. It is progressive and open-minded at its core and does not warrant a date change. I urge village voters to vote “No” on the proposition to be found on the back of the ballot.
William Wheeler Murray
Trustee, Village of New Paltz
We will fight for the preservation of this community
The April 21 letter to the editor, by Jesse Halliburton and Ryan Giuliani, owners of Woodstock Way hotel, projected a mood of passive aggressiveness toward Woodstock residents. The letter insinuates that the community is asking for a big giant bulldozer owned by Holiday Inn to come along and destroy all.
The library that is in dire need of renovation or replacement or whatever would sit next to a hotel, a place where children play. But I suppose like Woodstock Way you would place NO TRESPASSING signs so the locals can’t enjoy the land like once before. Liability is so important.
So who are these two developers? I would suggest readers of this letter go to TripAdvisor and read the reviews. One was so bad that Giuliani wrote a response, “Reviews good or bad I made a decision a long time ago not to respond to evaluations and let them speak for themselves.” But he had to speak, with a lengthy letter and trolled this family, giving out information about them. He described his patrons as, “you know those stereotypical entitled New Yorkers who feel they can step on you because of their influence.” No guys, we don’t know and why are you bringing those types around? Oh wait, your place costs a grand a night, that is why (Booking advertises it as a cool $999!). Giuliani goes on, “They bully you by saying, ‘if you don’t do this for me then I will do this to you.” Aren’t you trying to do that to us? For example, you better cooperate with our construction because you never know what lurks around the corner. Baaaad stuff. Your artist-in-residence proposal in exchange of zoning changes, sounds like bribery to me. Your concern about affordable housing is shallow and trite. You found housing for three of your employees. That is not affordable housing, that is convenience for your business. I get it though, the hospitality business is tough and you need loyal employees. I work in mental health and would think hospitality more difficult. I have an office at an affordable housing complex in Hudson. The Galvan foundation has bought, renovated, developed, sold and preserved most of Hudson. Woodstock is a much smaller place, but when I see the preservation of a historic city, I think, “why can’t we do that.” Galvan renovated the armory and is now Hudson’s library. Their name is slapped everywhere. If you decide to do something like that, develop a foundation for the preservation of Woodstock, I would support it — just don’t put your names on it, maybe use your first names. If you don’t, we will fight you because we don’t trust you, you took away housing with Woodstock Way. You wanted to demolish an old beautiful building at Lashers. We will fight for the preservation of this community and if we fail, the legacy of Woodstock will go with it. A grand-a-night hotel with a few Janis Joplin/Jimi Hendrix photos displayed is not what Woodstock is about. To quote Malcolm X, “You show me a Capitalist and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.”
Jessica Decker Guerrero is a candidate for the New Paltz Board of Education
My name is Jessica Decker Guerrero and I am running for a seat on the New Paltz Board of Education.
I was born and raised in New Paltz, graduated from the New Paltz Central School District and have lived here most of my life. I currently live in town with my husband Joel and our three-year-old son, Dylan.
One of the foundations of our beautiful community here in New Paltz is our school system, and, most importantly, how it serves our children. That is why I decided to run for the school board. This last year has been difficult for all of us — especially our students. As the parent of a preschooler with special needs, I have witnessed the challenges of uncertainty, ever-changing schedules and especially remote learning, first-hand. The isolation and lack of socialization that our children have experienced is something that must be dealt with, but it is not something that will be fixed overnight. We must prioritize the mental health of our students.
Additionally, while I recognize the incredibly difficult job the district administration has faced, I am also a firm believer in accountability. This is imperative for progress and positive change to occur. I believe I can be highly effective in this area as my employment background has afforded me the opportunity to work in similar circumstances.
I hold two Bachelor of Science degrees from Boston College, one in marketing and the other in finance. I believe my background in finance would be an asset at the board table. New York State has provided financial aid in the form of the Covid Relief Rescue Package for the expenses created by the pandemic. This will obviously benefit our district, especially as 20% of these funds must be allocated to social, emotional and learning loss needs. However, this funding is a one-time budget contribution, so we need to ensure that the programs and services implemented for our students are sustainable in future years.
I appreciate the work that I have seen come out of the Racial Equality Initiative Advisory Committee (REIAC), and I look forward to supporting and becoming more involved in this aspect of the district. This initiative is so important as we tackle issues that may sometimes be uncomfortable, but I believe doing so will deeply benefit our students, teachers and parents alike. The pandemic has revealed the systemic racism inherent in many of our institutions, including our education system, and I consider it a responsibility as a BOE member to understand how these racial disparities play out in New Paltz and a priority to address them.
In closing, I have been an advocate in many areas and I look forward to bringing that drive and passion to the New Paltz BOE. I would be honored to serve the district, and most importantly, the students, here in New Paltz. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me, and I sincerely hope you will vote for me on May 18.
Jessica Decker Guerrero
A successful yard sale
Our yard sale on April 24 was a big success. We’d like to thank all our neighbors who donated items for us to sell, as well as our neighbors who were generous buyers. With the help of our neighbors who worked, the Shady Methodist Church raised $1,361 to support The Table of Woodstock in its mission to feed the hungry of Woodstock. We’d also like to thank Hudson Valley One for letting the public be aware of the event.
On behalf of the Shady Methodist Church
Skate park plans being finalized
Terence reported in the April 21 issue that the plans for the skateboard park at Hasbrouck Park are getting finalized, and he further mentions that it may be the largest such park in the county.
I have a few concerns:
a) Has this ever been presented to the community? Maybe there was a public hearing and I apologize if I missed it.
b) So many people use the park now and so many events take place there already. Is it wise to take a large chunk of the place and dedicate it to this activity?
c) Are the planners familiar with the not infrequent traffic and relative lack of parking around the park? Especially if this would be the largest such park in the county, more skaters should be expected coming here.
d) Is there really no better, equally centrally located spot in the village? What about the large terrain between the almost defunct tennis courts at the end of Plattekill Avenue and Joalyn Road, or even repurpose the tennis courts for this activity? Plenty of parking there and hardly any traffic.
e) Wherever the town/village would build the park: wearing a helmet must be a requirement to enter the rink. If a skater has an accident anywhere on a public street, it’s bad enough…..but if they get badly hurt on a sanctioned town/village property, there has to be responsibility and protection on both sides.
DC may become a state
So, Washington DC may become a state soon. Not sure how I feel about that.
On the one hand, it seemed unfair when the folks in DC couldn’t vote for president, but that was corrected in 1961.
I always thought they should let Maryland and Virginia have the land they ceded in 1790 back and divide DC the way Kansas City is divided between Kansas and Missouri. Or, perhaps, like football, Maryland and Virginia could flip a coin and the winner could decide if they want to kick or receive.
Making DC a state was a no-brainer for the Democrats when they realized it was fait accompli that DC voters promise to give them two solid seats in the Senate and a few in Congress. Why not put their finger on the scale? Trust me, if DC leaned to the right instead of the left, the Republicans would have done it a long time ago.
Rhode Island would lose the “Smallest State” bragging rights, but it never was a good state slogan. DC, with only 68 square miles, makes the 1,214 square miles of Rhode Island look huge! Who says size matters? The governor of Rhode Island could brag to the governor of DC, “Mine is bigger than yours!” and she would be right!
While we are adding stars to Old Glory, why stop with DC? If a little city like DC can grow up to become a whole state, what about New York City? Why can’t New York City be a state? First of all, New York City is over 300 square miles, over five times the size of DC, and I guarantee it would deliver two solid seats on the left! Upstate may split the ticket, but it is like a chess game: Sacrifice a pawn, but pick up three Democratic seats… Checkmate!
And the Big Apple has a population more than 12 times that of DC. New York City has almost half of the entire population of New York State. If you can believe Wikipedia, New York City is the largest city by population in the entire country! In fact, New York City has more people than 40 of the 50 US states. New York City deserves to be a state!
I think we should start a petition. I’m sure it will get popular support…in upstate New York.
Exercise caution in messages we send
I found the April 21 letter entitled “Dad” very disturbing. What was ostensibly a tribute to the letter-writer’s black father somehow turned into a lecture with what can only be described as racist implications. The thrust of the message is that if black people showed “enormous respect” for the police, said, “Yes, officer,” didn’t drink or take drugs, weren’t mentally ill, focused on hard work, stayed calm and “never complain(ed)” about racist treatment, they might, like him, avoid having to deal with racism, let alone becoming a statistic. Sure, all of that is probably true, I think the author’s intentions were good, and the man does seem worthy of tribute.
But what’s the point of this message at this moment, in light of all we’ve seen and suffered through? It surely sounds like the “blame the victim” arguments we hear from white supremacists. It hasn’t taken defiance or impropriety for so many to become victims of police bullets. Maybe he, in fact, should have brought up the subject of racism at home. Maybe he should have taken the “time” to “complain” and “argue” against injustice. We all should. He may not have talked about it, but he sure as hell must have experienced it. I’m guessing he was trying to protect his children from harsh reality, but the best protection is understanding it.
Again, I think the intended message was cautionary, but, especially in these times, we need to exercise caution in the messages we send as well.
Alan M. Weber
Pollinator paradise garden & public compost bins in New Paltz
The Town of New Paltz can look forward to a new community demonstration garden this summer in front of the New Paltz Community Center on Veterans’ Drive!
Pollinators are crucial for our food supply and biodiversity and their populations are on the decline, partly due to the disappearance of bee-friendly plants. Liz Elkin of Bloom Landscape has designed the garden to demonstrate a “no-mow” garden of low-maintenance, deer-resistant native species that attract non-aggressive pollinators. Teacher and student volunteers from New Paltz Middle School Climate Club will be planting and making signs with plant names and other educational information. The pollinator garden will be added to the Wallkill Valley Pollinator Pathway map and will also be a key component in establishing New Paltz as a Bee City.
Being climate-smart, the project will also include public compost bins that may be used by any New Paltz resident. The bins are a simple design that anyone can easily copy at home as well. The goal is to promote keeping kitchen scraps out of the landfill. Not only are our scraps transported in diesel trucks that drive four hours to the landfill and four hours back every day, but when the scraps end up in the landfill, they produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
The existing raised beds for seniors will remain and a small sitting area will be added. New Paltz High School student volunteer Nikola Salvestrini will be painting murals on the kiosk.
This entire project is being done by New Paltz volunteers. The GoFundMe site, titled “Public Compost Bins and Paradise Pollinator Garden,” will raise the money for materials and plants. If you would like to contribute, please do so there. And if you are interested in being a hands-on part of this community project – to help build, plant, weed, water or just enjoy – please e-mail email@example.com.
And thank you for your support!
Woodstock town office project
Recent concerns aired by the Woodstock Commission on Civic Design (CCD) regarding the proposed multi-million-dollar Comeau town office expansion highlight the need for the town and its taxpayers to consider viable alternatives and choices when facing a large bonding vote. At the moment, while it is fair to say there is a lot of support for improving the working conditions of the town employees at the Comeau, only a single plan to address those concerns has been presented – one with apparent design issues, according to CCD. This does a disservice to taxpayers, who should be given several alternative choices to mull over before casting their votes to raise taxes.
One obvious alternative to explore would be the purchase of the Lasher Funeral Home for town offices. At over 9,000 square feet, it far exceeds the space needs of the town offices, has town water and sewer, would be walker- and bike-accessible, is close to other municipal buildings, has plenty of parking, could house affordable housing et cetera. It falls within the price range for the proposed new construction at the Comeau and would ensure this grand property and grounds in the heart of town would be preserved for the public use well into the future. The current town office building, which appears to be of national historic significance, could be repurposed as the town museum/Historical Society, providing a much larger and more historic location than its current site.
This is just one example (and there are surely others) of the kind of planning and forethought that should be applied to any long-term project taken on and paid for with tax dollars. Importantly, if the current town office building is deemed unsafe, then by all means remove the many file cabinets or even the employees to temporary quarters while the new project gets sorted out. Let’s have more public input in what should be the last major town building project for many years to come, not less.
Vote for Stana and Bill
On Tuesday, May, 4 from 12 to 9 p.m. at the Plattekill Avenue firehouse, please vote for Stana Weisburd and William Murray for Village of New Paltz trustees. I have known and worked with both for years and have seen them each push themselves and ask tough questions to see how our community could do more to support neighbors. These are people we want serving our community.
Vote “yes” to move future village elections to coincide with the November general election and be fully administered by the Ulster County Board of Elections instead of by village staff during separate elections in May.
Mayor Tim Rogers
The time is now
In his letter “If not now…when?” Marty Klein expressed outrage over the shooting death of Duante Wright at the hands of police. While describing the events leading up to the shooting, Mr. Klein informed readers that the 20-year-old Mr. Wright was stopped by police because of an air-freshener strip hanging from his rearview mirror. And after stating that during the stop “one thing led to another,” Marty wrote, “and in a few minutes Duante was dead.” The cause of this death, as recorded on a police bodycam, was this: A female officer mistook her regular weapon for her Taser and while yelling “Taser,” shot and killed Mr. Wright. Mr. Klein questioned the officer’s claim that the use of her firearm was a mistake (and therefore Duante’s death was an accident) by writing “A mistake? Really?”
After stating he was not writing to go over the details of the incident, Mr. Klein explained the reason for his letter: to “let you all know” how he reacted to the news of the shooting. Marty then related that it caused him to be both disgusted and angry. It also inspired him to think about “what to do” regarding his failure, in the past, to be outspoken about the racism to which he attributes the death of far too many black people involved in confrontations with the police. Mr. Klein also informed us of his resolve to continue to speak out against oppressive racism, lest by his silence he becomes an accomplice to it.
Despite the fact that Mr. Klein’s reactions were genuine and heartfelt, I take issue with his failure to relate the details involved in Duante’s death. Indeed, the “one thing led to another” (the details) of what led up to the shooting must be considered before one fairly evaluates whether Mr. Klein’s reaction to the events should have led not only to his skepticism about the accidental nature of the tragic death, but the disgust and anger he felt because of it.
Although Mr. Klein stated that Mr. Wright was stopped because of the air freshener on his rearview mirror, the police reported that the reason for the stop was an expired vehicle registration, visible on his vehicle’s windshield. However, even if the officers made the stop because of the air freshener, it would have been a legitimate reason because it is illegal in Minnesota to hang objects from rearview mirrors. Moreover, USA Today’s Fact Checker certified as true the police officers’ explanation for attempting to arrest Duante Wright – after his license was run through the system – in this way: “In March, Duante Wright was charged with possession of a pistol without a permit and fleeing a police officer. The case number for these separate charges is 27-CR-21-4400. On April 2, the court issued a warrant for Wright’s arrest for failing to appear at the hearing. That warrant was active at the time of Wright’s death.” Furthermore, Mr. Wright’s resistance to his arrest (which included diving into his car, a move that could easily be interpreted by an officer as an attempt to grab a weapon) contributed to the police officer hastily drawing a weapon, which ultimately, led to his tragic death. For this reason, perhaps Mr. Klein should reevaluate (at least in this instance) his skepticism regarding the officer’s claim of the use of her firearm as being a mistake.
In closing, Mr. Klein promised to do his best to challenge himself to be more outspoken against racism, not only for the sake of justice, but to demonstrate that black lives matter. He also encouraged readers to join him by honestly exploring their own thoughts and feelings about racism and declared: “if not now…when?” With this in view, the time is now for Marty and all those who value justice and truth to also honestly question if they possess any ideological biases as they view and filter the news presented by broadcasters who, too often, are themselves prisoners of ideological biases. Moreover, the time is now for everyone to explore their own thoughts and feelings about the racism and injustice that may be involved in ignoring the facts that 1) well over 30 percent of all abortions are performed on black women (not a surprising figure since, according to a ProtectingBlacklives.org study, 79 percent of all Planned Parenthood surgical abortion facilities are located in minority neighborhoods) and 2) there is a “devastating plague” on black communities of black-on-black crime, especially murders. Without such an exploration – despite our claims that we want justice and truth to prevail regarding the value of black lives – in reality, our continued, deliberate ignorance regarding the racist implications of black abortions and black-on-black crime indicates the following 1) we really only want to hear our racial narratives affirmed and 2) we really think that only “some” black lives matter.