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December 3, 2020

11/9/2020 11:41:00 AM
Backing the badge and black lives matter

Dear Editor;
As a baby boomer, one of my fondest memories of my grandfather involved going over to his farm house and watching, "Gunsmoke," on his small black and white TV, his first set. Matt Dillon would walk out onto the street, a dirt street, its side framed by clapboard storefronts and plank walkways, and look up to see his outlaw challenger, armed, dangerous, an announced intent to shoot and kill. The fated draw of six guns, the armed stranger would fall to Matt's fast gun, the music would start and the words, "Gunsmoke." appeared on the screen. An exciting intro to a show my grandpa and I loved to watch. Law and order. Matt keeping the peace in a wild frontier town. I back the badge. I can assure you that the man up the street was armed, was dangerous, and was set out to do harm. He was not a young man, unarmed, turning his back on the sheriff and walking back to his buckboard to his three young sons waiting for him. He was not taken down in the street, unarmed, and kneeled on and choked to death, a young man, calling for his mother, as the peace officer maintained the pressure and the young man expired. Two of countless examples.
As a baby boomer, I found myself coming out of basic training in the US Army with a 95 Bravo on my orders. Through no choice of our own, several of us found ourselves going through military police training. I do not claim to have liked every part of this, but the training was very good, professional, and many of my fellow recruits were black men, ready and willing to serve their country, which they did, honorably. One of our major instructors, whom we referred to as a "lifer" was a non-commissioned officer, a career soldier, a black man, who watched out for all the recruits, regardless of color or place of origin, and delivered professional, relevant instruction. He wore the badge and black lives mattered.
As I drive around the area and note, I BACK THE BADGE and LAW AND ORDER, along the TRUMP placards, a concern arises and I would urge a reconsideration of what is law and order for Donald Trump. He has no respect for law and order and flaunts both continually. Over one half dozen of his appointments are under federal indictment and convicted of high crimes: lying to congress, colluding with unfriendly governments, amassing large fortunes. Trump's tax records. Why not take a look at them? And veterans, what about peace and justice to our black comrades in arms?
As a former educator, like my colleagues, we are all proud to see our students in this area take advantage of local resources and enroll in the criminal justice program at Southwest Tech. We need a good police force, prepared and well informed. Encourage courses in second languages, especially Spanish, to further develop communication and understanding. Recruit young people from disadvantaged and troubled communities; everyone working together.
We are only obligated by conscience to obey just laws; this is our human responsibility. Men and woman sworn to keep the peace and serve our communities have a challenging mission. Preserving the safety and dignity for all is an integral part of this mission. Back the badge. Yes. This really cannot mean turning a blind eye to the injustice and loss felt by so many of our fellow Americans and human beings.
Michael Wunnicke,
Richland County

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