Printed Letters: September 28, 2019

Article about Red Cross was poorly timed

The Sept. 15 Sentinel article on the American Red Cross could have hardly been more poorly timed with thousands of volunteer responders still deployed and aiding many tens of thousands of disaster victims from Harvey, Irma and wildfires throughout the West.

The story, presumably attempting to be balanced, gave voice to the social media trolls who spread rumors, inaccuracies, dissension and misinformation about the ARC.

So, ARC President Gail McGovern is rumored to be paid approximately $500,000 in salary. Consider the organization’s responsibilities and the resources that she must try to maintain to meet those responsibilities. Competent CEOs capable of running a major enterprise should and do command good compensation. I say that managing the ARC and meeting all these needs is far more challenging than running a major corporation of similar size — jobs that generally pay far more than Ms. McGovern’s salary.

The ARC must be prepared to respond, virtually instantly, to disasters as varied as a single-family home burning down in our local area to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Americans in Texas, Florida or anywhere else in the country. Meeting the basic needs of the victims of these problems range from providing hotel, meal and clothing vouchers to a family who has lost everything in a fire to setting up shelters to provide health services, food and safe, temporary accommodations for tens of thousands. Often the needs are so great that no amount of aid could be reasonably deemed enough but ARC, like government agencies and other NGOs, marshals all the resources it can under these most difficult circumstances.

It has no guaranteed revenue stream (read that as no taxpayer funding) to allow for detailed budget planning.

Instead of carping about ARC rumored funding and support issues from the comfort and safety of social media, concerned folks might consider deploying and seeing for themselves what it’s like working 12-hour shifts in an uncomfortable, over-crowded shelter full of desperate people and being away from home for weeks at a time for no financial compensation. For those unable or unwilling to do that I would suggest opening your hearts and wallets to support those who do. Further, do a little research and confine your social media posts about the ARC to things you can actually verify.

SUSAN AND JERRY NORTON
Grand Junction

Disrespect shown by 
NFL players is disgusting

I most likely have watched my very last allegedly professional football game. I am disgusted by the continual disrespect given the national anthem by these under-educated, overpaid idiots in football jerseys. If I ever hear on the news that these numbskulls have begun to show appreciation to the country that has given them such inflated egos with salaries to match, then, maybe then. But until then — no more.

CREIGHTON BRICKER
Grand Junction

MCSO training showed lack of regard for residents

Let me be clear. I am retired federal law enforcement. I support law enforcement at all levels. I understand the need for training for officers in all of their skill sets. I know how difficult planning such training can be and the detail work that goes into it.

That said, a recent incident has me a little disappointed and a little angry at our Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. I live on Ouray Avenue, close to the intersection with 10th Street. At the corner of Grand and 10th Street (across the alley behind our house) is an abandoned church that will soon be torn down for a building project. It is vacant and hollowed out.

On Monday, the MCSO used it for a training exercise for their SWAT team. They set off a flash bang grenade as part of that exercise. It is incredibly loud. It drew the attention of people in a two-block radius. The problem is there had been no notification to the residents of the neighborhood about this exercise. It was frankly frightening. It was very disrespectful to the residents. It was really poor planning. Some of us called to complain and the officers we spoke to were apologetic, but I’m not sure that is sufficient. I’d like to see — instead of an apology from lower ranking officers — a letter from the sheriff guaranteeing that it won’t happen again. Training should receive some sort of review from their community relations office that will try, as far as is humanly possible, to avoid a repetition of this event.

Let me reiterate, I understand the need for this type of training. What I don’t understand is the apparent lack of regard for the residents of the surrounding neighborhood.

ROBERT NOBLE
Grand Junction

Disrespecting flag shows 
preference for oppression

Respecting the flag is a symbol of our constitution and the freedoms we supposedly enjoy from government oppression. Disrespecting the flag is a symbol of one’s preference for government oppression.

RALPH G. NASH
Grand Junction


COMMENTS

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Mr.Nash, interesting letter but the exact opposite is the truth. The flag is a symbol of our country, nothing else. It has no magical qualities that either benefit us or require anything from us. Every country has a flag identifying it. Over the years we have imagined many things about the flag but those who are considered to protesting are protesting the country’s policies, not the flag.

As Thursday’s inane letters from Creighton Bricker (“Disrespect shown by NFL players is disgusting”) and Ralph Nash (“Disrespecting flag shows preference for oppression”) amply demonstrate, racist-in-chief Donald Trump’s “undereducated . . . idiots” in MAGA hats still enjoy the
“blessings of liberty” (including the Daily Sentinel’s Free Speech policy, which they would deny to others), and that “disrespect” remains entirely in “the eyes of the beholder” (even when – as with kneeling NFL players – none was intended).

Indeed, given a previous Bricker letter (wherein he joined another writer in bemoaning the diminution of “white, male, middle income or less, Christian, and conservative” political power caused by demographic diversity), it is not surprising that Bricker would be “disgusted” by Black athletes exercising their constitutionally-protected right of Free Speech to focus public attention on the continuing disconnect between the values purportedly represented by our Flag and the daily reality faced by too many Black citizens.

Thus, while Bricker is free to boycott the NFL if he so chooses, I’m sure the league will welcome him and other like-minded “numbskulls” back when they gain appreciation for the true patriotism of protesting players willing to risk their livelihoods for that cause.

Moreover, both Bricker and Nash seem to equate silent kneeling during the National Anthem with flag burning or other forms of desecration, even though kneeling (as Colin Kaepernick himself explained) is historically a sign of respect (as opposed to sitting on the bench or turning one’s back on the Flag while the Anthem is played/sung).

Not surprisingly, Nash has it ass-backwards – kneeling NFL players are not expressing “a preference for government oppression”, but rather are courageously opposing violent police oppression of Black citizens. 

Therefore, because the First Amendment expressly prohibits governmental abridgment of free speech, Bricker, Nash, and their ilk should more aptly be truly “disgusted” by the pornographic specter of our lawless President profanely “disrespecting” our Constitution by using his governmentally-provided “bully pulpit” to divisively intimidate the players.

We veterans were willing to die for the values our Country professes, not for its symbols.

Mr. Bricker and Mr. Nash, like too many others, appear to be upset at the actions of professional sports figures.  Perhaps they are jealous of their wealth or of the popularity.  Whatever the case may be, they should take the time to think it through instead of surrendering to emotion.  And unlike what Mr. Bricker may claim, most of them are not “under-educated and overpaid idiots”.  Most of them are quite well educated and far from being idiots. 

If those players were as pampered and as selfish as some believe them to be, they would, just like Mr. Bricker and Mr. Nash have done nothing about the social injustices they see in this country.  They would not have made themselves targets of every dolt who knows nothing about this country but a flag and who can sing some patriotic song,  and who label themselves because they do.

Now, I have far more respect for those sports figures who “take the knee” than I have for such as Mr. Bricker and Mr. Nash who (while they see social injustices - if they even take the time to look) either ignore them, or look away, because it makes them uncomfortable.  So, perhaps what offends Mr. Bricker and Mr. Nash is that they are being reproached for doing nothing when they have the responsibility and obligation to do so.

Susan and Jerry Norton take umbrage at criticism of the ARC.  That is undoubtedly because they are ARC volunteers, and (as do far too many) automatically jump to the defense of whatever organization they belong to.  But, what they should do is look very carefully at what “top management” is doing with some of the funds donated to that organization.  In fact they are the ones who should do the most rigorous scrutiny, to make certain that while they are doing the “grunt work”, those above them are not using their positions to indulge or pamper themselves in any way.

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