Sunday, August 09, 2020

Letters to the editor June 11

| June 11, 2020 1:00 AM

In these turbulent times, it seems to me that we are given an opportunity. We can quite easily react with anger or anxiety fear to any one of the crises at hand. Whether it is the COVID pandemic which has brought our usual life to a halt. Or the institutional racism that has been shown to be evident still, it does not matter. What matters is that instead of just having a knee-jerk reaction we could think, feel and plan with discretion, purpose and compassion.

As a counselor I know that crises usually reduce our capacity to think creatively. We want to react instinctively or more rationally to get through the crisis. But in this current vortex of caustic leadership, with its swirling currents of partisanship, I think it is time to pause and decide how we want to go forward. Do we want to grow differently from our past patterns or just repeat the past in a new fashion?

People may cry out that now is not the time to deliberate but to act. I would challenge that with now is the time to talk, cooperate and to change. This is not an easy process but it is a necessary one.

We are all challenged right now. Teachers have to learn new ways of teaching, doctors have to learn a new way to treat new diseases, and police are being asked to change how they interact with us. We must come together to think anew and to create a new reality for the benefit of all. We must rely on the founding principles of democracy to create a new democracy for all the people of America, not just one class or race or financial tier.

United we stand, divided we fall, and oh how we are falling right now. The question should not be who wins but how can we all help each other to heal and get better. In this time of sending graduates on their way, we should really spend some time creating a new future. We are a great nation. Let us become a better one.

—Brian Crandell, Kalispell

I want to thank the Daily Inter Lake for its comprehensive and unbiased reporting on the June 6 “I Can’t Breath” protest in Depot Park.

The size of the gathering was impressive, and I was thankful that although imposing, the armed citizens surrounding the monument and walking through the crowd, were by and large peaceful and respectful. The same can be said for the protesters I stood beside. They showed great dignity and resolve in keeping the focus of the protest on the realities of BIPOC in our society, and their unfair treatment in the American Justice system.

I was, however, disappointed when I opened the Sunday edition of the Inter Lake to see the image of an angry and aggressive white man centered on the front page. The Inter Lake picked a compelling photo, but again, has made the feelings of the white American male the focal point. This protest was, at its heart, the opposite of that. Its purpose was to point to the pain, suffering, injustice and racism that the BIPOC in our country face daily. Those who took part in this protest desired to put the needs of the oppressed at the forefront, and to use our privileges to raise them up.

Please, do not give the loud fragility of this one man the spotlight. Shine it on those who are calling for systemic change, accountability and education. Shine it on the Black, Brown, Immigrant and Indigenous whom we have oppressed too long.

—Jessica Brenneman, Kalispell

Let me start this letter by stating what shouldn’t need to be said - what the Minneapolis police did was wrong and should be punished to the full extent of the law. Reports say Mr. Floyd’s autopsy showed coronary artery disease and methamphetamine and fentanyl in his blood, a combination which may have turned an inappropriate restraint into a death sentence. That is for lawyers to figure out.

But to use this incident to say that we have systemic racism in the United States is nonsense. I grew up in Baltimore in the 1950s and 60s, attended a predominantly black high school (where I suffered two minor assaults by blacks), and watched the rioting, burning and looting from my medical school roof in 1968 after the MLK assassination. Not a pretty sight. My wife and I had to flee our government-subsidized housing as the rioters surrounded our apartment complex. I am happy I live in Montana!

Perhaps if the liberal media stars and politicians had thugs (not a racist term - look it up, liberals) surrounding their homes and throwing fire bombs at them they would think twice before encouraging this reckless behavior that hurts the very people they are supposed to be fighting for.

In Washington, liberals prefer that President Trump abandon the defense of the White House and allow it to be torched as it was by the British in 1814. They criticize a sports reporter and football star for saying radical, racist comments like, “All lives matter,” or that no one should disrespect our flag that his grandfathers defended.

If we continue allowing the liberals to divide us, disrespect our flag and country, accuse us all of racism, encourage organized mobs of rioters, and even worse, elect a liberal president with dementia, God help us all.

—David Myerowitz, Columbia Falls

The pictures and account of the Black Lives Matter protest in the June 7 edition of the Inter Lake were disturbing, to say the least. However, it was completely predictable in the Flathead Valley. The confederate flags and “don’t tread on me” flags routinely seen here tells that story.

What was particularly disturbing about the account in the Inter Lake was the picture of a “counter-protestor” carrying an American flag. Just so any literate person capable of reading this will understand, opposition to a protest against racism is, in and of itself, racist. In other words, the so-called counter-protesters were, in fact, supporting racism in this country, the United States of America. Anyone who does not find that disturbing, and whoever supports such tactics, is nothing less than un-American. To clothe themselves in the American flag when their true intent was to stifle free speech in the support of racism is despicable.

Even more disturbing were the armed thugs parading around like Nazi Brownshirts. Who exactly were the armed counter-protestors planning to shoot? Does anyone really believe that they were truly thinking they were protecting the community against vandalism and looting, in broad daylight, in Kalispell, when we have a police department to do that job? Only the delusional would accept such an absurd, preposterous suggestion as fact.

The presence of an armed pretend militia using the pretext of “protecting against looting and rioting” would be laughable if the intent was not truly for the purpose of provoking a confrontation, and the suppression of free speech. Their true intent was demonstrated by one “counter-protester” who, as a passenger in a passing vehicle, had shaken up a can of beer and sprayed the contents at the peaceful “Black Lives Matter” protesters while driving by. Clearly, the only persons intent on provoking violence were those flying “Trump 2020,” and similar, banners

The Inter Lake photos of the armed Brownshirts “protecting” the Veterans Memorial against vandalism were no less disturbing. No one was protesting against our military or veterans. Why would any of the Black Lives Matter protestors remotely consider disrespecting the military or veterans when General Mattis, as well as other prominent generals, including Colin Powell, have publicly recognized that Trump’s actions “make a mockery of our Constitution?” The presence of armed, pretextual “protectors” at the Veterans Memorial only serves to further mock and undermine our Constitution.

What is the greater threat to law and order and our Constitution? Is it people carrying signs that say “Black Lives Matter,” or a pack of militia wannabes parading with assault rifles? Hypocrisy is clearly alive and well in our community.

—Al Weed, Kalispell