Letters to the Editor: July 9, 2020

Testing should be a mandatory part of school reopening

As a 20-year plus employee of Hawaii Department of Education, I have a simple question concerning the state’s plan to reopen schools, and the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the state and the Hawaii State Teachers Association.

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Are there any protocols in these agreements that addresses mandatory testing for COVID-19 for all DOE employees going back to work on Aug. 4?

I have seen nor heard any mention of this requirement. It seems common sense to put together a comprehensive plan to test all employees headed back to school. Perhaps through a public partnership of government and private health systems.

If we don’t plan to test all employees, we are potentially setting up a grave situation where the spread of coronavirus in Hawaii could lead to dangerous spikes in our COVID-19 cases.

This is our chance to be a national leader in testing, with an innovative approach that leads to us having more data about COVID-19 cases here in Hawaii, and potentially stop the unwanted spread of this virus.

William Shelor

Kailua-Kona

Before you judge the police

The trend in the U.S. today seems to be: defund the police and put a clamp on police use of force. The trend began with some abuse of force by the police and even the police admit that there has been abuse. My basic response is to the letter published in WHT on July 5 by John Pierce of Waikoloa in which he countered the resistance to change by the Honolulu Police Chief.

Anyone who criticizes a police officer needs to first understand what he goes through. Training does help in preparation but every call is different. If everyone was the same, and one size fits all, The job would be simple. However, how does one deal with a drunk who is on drugs and feels no pain but has an abnormal reaction to reasonableness and being arrested.

To begin with, there is no profession known to man in which there is not some misuse or abuse of power. The lists includes politicians, pastors, cops, judges, lawyers, school teachers, doctors, and the list goes on to include transplants. Cops on the other hand, very often are the first to engage the violator through a call from the public who is unable or unwilling to deal with the perpetrator. The officer gets the assignment and very often proceeds without any backup or even the hope of getting a back-up. He too wants to go home to his wife and kids at the end of the shift.

The much-disputed choke hold is a good example of possible abuse. Done properly, a disruptive combative person can be subdued in 5 seconds with minimal, if any, injury to either the officer or the combative person. Take that away and the cop is left with his club, Taser, or gun, weapons that can cause much greater damage when used.

To release an officer’s disciplinary record to the public will make him a target for false or exaggerated accusations and public opinion before a trial will cause problems. As is, the police department keeps detailed records of their officers performances and disciplines them accordingly. I know, I have been there. I cannot vouch for the mainland cops but feel that what takes place in the mainland should not affect what happens here in Hawaii. Reading the newspaper and watching TV news on what is taking place in the mainland is not sufficient evidence to judge the local police.

Leningrad Elarionoff

Waimea

Where are they?

They show pictures on the news of the beautiful children that have been shot in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore. People weep, and scream, they wring their hands, they ask, why.

But nothing is ever done. From dozens of years ago till now, nothing is done. The numbers keep adding up. Count them for the last 20 years. Count how many, many, many children have not grown up.

Where is the fury that come from the wrenching pain? Where are the grandmothers who go out in body armor, with machine guns and kill those guys who will not give up their guns. Where are the grandmothers who will save the children?

Where are the mothers who hug and kiss their kids? Where are the fathers and brothers and pastors who see that the boys have something to do, something to excel at, someone to listen to them and give them a reason to want to grow up?

Where are decent politicians who can help carve out a safe space to grow up, to walk to school, to live and not be shot?

Sandra Gray

Kapaau

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