Letters to the Editor, September 16, 2020

A bag is not a toy

Warning: Plastic bags placed over the head will result in death.

In 1968 I was standing on the balcony of the Student Union building at Berkeley with a beautiful young man who was home on leave and about to do his second tour of Vietnam. It was one of those beautiful California days, with warm sun and slight breezes and the smell of the bay wafting up from the shore. 

We watched, me with amusement and him with interest, as a phalanx of blue clad Alameda County Sheriffs quick-marched up Telegraph Avenue and onto the campus lobbing tear gas and wielding nightsticks. People who had gathered to hear free speeches were gassed and beaten. 

My beautiful young man was more alert than I, and I quickly found myself following him down the back stairs and away from what was now a riot.

I have known since I was 19 the lengths police departments will go to in order to impose their will and do the bidding of their masters. These things never happen in a vacuum.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had many friends, over the years, who have gone into law enforcement and all but a few left, primarily because they did not like the culture of war, the us vs. them mentality that has invaded most all of the law enforcement agencies in this country.

But I still cannot understand how seven geared-up and heavily armed police officers, who had subdued a naked man, had shackled and forced down on the ground, thought that it was a good idea the place a plastic bag over his face. A Spit Guard? One or two steps back and really, how far could this man spit.

Everything we buy these days, comes in a plastic bag. All the plastic bags have something along the lines of: “WARNING – TO AVOID THE DANGER OF SUFFOCATION, KEEP THIS BAG AWAY FROM BABIES AND CHILDREN… THIS BAG IS NOT A TOY”

Are we to assume that the police in Rochester, New York are children or babies? How many of them took out their personal phones and took pictures to share with their friends? Why would anyone be friends with these people? Whose idea was it to shove the man’s face into the pavement until he died? Then to add insult to injury these officers were put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Really? A paid vacation?

I with Michelle Obama, but I get a little more depressed every day.

Thank you for listening,

Jan Phelps

We get letters... and then we get whatever this is.

Fire Dr. Trump

Journalist Bob Woodward has written a new book titled Rage, based on personal interviews with President Trump. According to CNN, the book reveals that Trump knew in early February how deadly and contagious the novel coronavirus was. 

But Trump publicly downplayed the danger, privately admitting he did this to avoid panic; so when the first US cases did occur, he compared them to seasonal flu and said the virus would “just disappear.”

Trump’s actions ignored the severity of the situation. He delayed recommending economic shutdowns that could hinder the virus’s spread; and once some states did close, it wasn’t long before he began pushing governors to declare their economies open again.

When masks were recommended to help control the virus, Trump belittled them refusing to wear one himself. However, in Mid-July he did appear masked in public declaring that doing so was “patriotic,” although afterwards he continued panning their use.

Trump has even falsely suggested that there were already ways to fight the virus such as by taking hydroxychloroquine or ingesting bleach.

In reality, President Trump has made poor medical decisions for the American people. His prescription to withhold vital information and mislead the public about COVID-19 while simultaneously delaying any action has led to many preventable deaths.

If Trump were actually our doctor, his decisions would constitute malpractice that could lead to the revocation of his license. But he’s not our doctor, he’s our president, so let’s vote him out. We’ve had enough of Dr. Trump!

Sherman Shapiro

Eurekan likes Yeo

I took note that Collin Yeo, music and entertainment columnist for the North Coast Journal, is making a run for Arcata City Council. Though I don’t know him personally, through his writings in the NCJ it is easy to determine he is a gifted writer and knowledgeable and supportive of the arts scene in Humboldt County. As a resident of Eureka, I will not have a vote in this Arcata race, so take this advice with appropriate helping of sodium chloride. Collin is unabashedly leftist, and I am not. Despite political differences, knowing his love and dedication to Humboldt County, this moderate would vote Collin Yeo for City Council with no reservations.

John Dillon


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