Vail Daily letter: We need more info
I am writing to respond to Richard Carnes’ column, “Information causes change, senseless vandalism doesn’t,” Dec. 2. His commentary purports to be about the reaction to Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo. Quoting Mr. Carnes, “This is no civil rights issue. Michael Brown is no ‘martyr for the cause,’ whatever the hell that actually means.”
Well, I’d like to tell him what that actually means by quoting another writer, Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winner of The Washington Post, who yesterday wrote, “Michael Brown’s death was part of a tragic and unacceptable pattern: Police officers in the United States shoot and kill civilians in shockingly high numbers. How many killings are there each year? No one can say for sure, because police departments don’t want us to know.”
If this isn’t a civil rights issue, I don’t know what is! It’s possible that as many as 1,000 police killings have occurred a year. For Carnes to accept that the officer who shot Brown was simply “forced into a position where he had to use his training and his instincts” strikes me as naive and even irresponsible. If Brown is a martyr for anything, it should be to wake us up to the fact that law enforcement agencies in the U.S. should be required to report all such occurrences to the FBI so that a proper accounting and informed discussion can take place on a national level.
I would join Mr. Carnes at the end of his article when he says, “It’s up to those remaining to make the necessary changes.” Let’s start by getting the information about how many, and why, people are dying at the hands of the police.