School shootings, cardboard signs | Letters to the Editor

May 16, 2018

Protests an indirect cause of school shootings

Violence in American has been falling for years, even though gun sales have doubled.

In rare circumstances, sick people who seek national attention and relevance see school shootings as a vehicle for that. Protests, politicians and cable news are all feeding into the motivations of the next school shooter.

Matt Richardson


Print this, Edmonds Beacon

I want to respond to Susan Pedersen's latest letter about her apparent belief that we never had a civil rights movement in this country, or if we did, it didn't accomplish anything.

She and some others would like everyone to think that Edmonds today is as racist as 1930s Alabama. However, I won't write that letter because I am confident that the Beacon will refuse to print it, just like the last one I wrote as well as several others.

It is sad that the Beacon seems to be printing, for the most part, only the far left's version of everything, including Pedersen's Democratic Party regurgitations that seem absolutely devoid of any critical thinking.

It would be nice if other viewpoints got equal airing, including in the political cartoons – the NRA demonized once again as a menacing tank with its gun trained on an elementary school student. Really?

A badly injured student in the Parkland shooting recently blamed his school district and local sheriff's office for failing the students with their dangerous and misguided "restorative justice" programs that kept the shooter off of a list of people not to sell guns to thereby enabling him to get the gun he used in the shooting.

Nancy Farnam


Editor’s note: The Beacon published Farnam’s letters in January, February and March. She did not submit one in April.

Cardboard signs, campers and food banks

Why so many people at intersections with cardboard signs saying "Need cash! God Bless!"? And food banks bursting with activity? And people living in campers?

Many wonder why they don't just go to work and be personally responsible. Many of us have lived in Edmonds for years, worked hard and earned our retirement.

Today the monthly maid service comes to our home so I get out of their way and run errands on my way to the Lynnwood Recreation Center to swim laps. First a stop at Westgate, the pharmacy, to get a refill prescription, and then across the street to buy groceries.

I notice someone getting a new roof and a home with a lawn service truck with someone mowing a lawn. On to Fred Meyer, then I make a bank deposit. After a restaurant stop for coffee, I park across from a nursing home at the pool.

Is there anything in common with all this? In each case, the store clerk, drug store lady, bank teller, nursing home staff and the roofer are all being paid close to the minimum wage. They must live on about $2,000 per month.

This is what I was earning 50 years ago. At that time, my mortgage payment was $66 per month, about 10 percent of my income. I had $1,430 left for the PUD, phone, food, etc.

Our first house cost $20,000, about equal to one year's pay. Today, that same house would be at least $600,000, 30 times one year's pay. To rent the house, it would take almost the entire paycheck of the store clerk. In Edmonds, monthly rent for any house is at least $2,000 per month. You need at least $1,500 for even a decent apartment.

The cost of a home has zoomed out of sight but in decades; the average income is only triple of the 1980s. If both spouses are working, it is about $75,000. After taxes, there may be $5,600 per month for bills, but with about half going for rent or a mortgage payment, with PUD, water, sewer, car payments, insurance, medical, food and the essentials, there is no hope of setting aside college or retirement investments.

There simply is no comparison between now and when I was starting out. If the slightest thing goes wrong, such as a layoff or illness, that person may be the next one out there holding up a cardboard sign.

Mike Herb


Where is the outrage when police officers killed?

In the April 26 Edmonds Beacon, Patricia Valentine wrote a letter response to an article titled “Police shoot rubber bullets at naked man armed with axes,” complimenting the Edmonds Police Department on its handling of the situation described.

However, in her comments she showed that she had bought into the national media obsession of demonizing our police by scolding big city police departments. Sad!

“To serve and protect” is an unofficial motto of America’s law enforcement community – that “service” includes the sacrificing of one’s life for the protection of the community. In what has become almost a national epidemic, we now hear all too often of officers killed in the line of duty, or even worse, ambushed and murdered.

This has seemingly become very nearly a weekly occurrence. But where is the national media outrage?

On a daily basis, police officers throughout America respond to thousands of incidents of every description. In responding, an individual officer never knows whether he or she will be encountering a passive situation or a life and death circumstance, and what level of action may be required, and required in a split second.

You can be assured, no police officer goes to work with the idea that today will be the day he or she will be firing their weapon. They prefer not firing that weapon ever.

I served 18 years in federal law enforcement. I was involved in incidents ranging from shots fired and murder to kidnappings and hostages situations, one at a school. And, of course, there were always illegal drugs and all that went with that enforcement. Yet none of my experiences measures up to what a municipal street cop must face every day.

At the end of a shift, that officer wants to go home to his or her family just as anyone else does. However, he or she knows there is a chance, however slim, they won’t. And if it does happen, it will happen with little or no warning.

That an unarmed person is shot as a result of a police response is unfortunate and sometimes tragic.

It is, however, an extremely exceptional happening and must always be judged within the context of the circumstances. Communities all have in place review boards to look into every incident where an officer’s weapon is discharged.

Rarely across the entire country is an officer found to have been acting outside the boundaries of the established use of force policy of an individual department. Given the hundreds of thousands of incidents police officers are confronted with monthly in this country, this is a fantastic record.

The Edmonds Police Department apparently did a great job in defusing the situation with the axe-wielding naked man, and I am glad to be residing in their jurisdiction. However, I know they feel the sting of the national movement that has demonized police officers everywhere.

It not only hurts them in the way of pride when they know they are doing a good job, they are also very much aware a target has been placed on their backs – that there are people out there who actually consider them the enemy.

Thank you, national media!

As I write this, I see that another police officer has been shot and killed in America – this time in Arkansas. I would caution to be careful and know what you are talking about if you are going to make blanket public criticisms of our men and women in law enforcement.

They’re putting it on the line for you.

Richard Martinson



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