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Smith: Now's the time to talk about response to Andy Lopez decision


Is anybody talking?

Is anyone exploring what may happen, or should happen, or we hope won't happen if District Attorney Jill Ravitch announces a decision on whether to file charges against the Sonoma County sheriff's deputy who killed Andy Lopez, and that decision inflames those demanding that the deputy be held criminally liable?

I imagine that Sonoma County law enforcement authorities are talking and making contingency plans, and that the activists pressing Ravitch to try Deputy Erick Gelhaus are, too.

What about the rest of us?

What about schools? And churches? And community organizations that work with youth? What about the families of young people likely to take to the streets if protests occur?

It may be that Ravitch's decision on whether to charge Gelhaus will not trigger an angry and possibly violent or destructive response. But, clearly, it could.

Rather than simply hold our breath, we might better talk about what can be done to attempt to assure things don't turn ugly.

Maybe parents and other adults with influence on teens are engaging them in discussion of the right ways to channel rage over perceived injustice. This seems like a most appropriate time for it.

Down the road, we may find ourselves coming together to talk about whether violence committed in response to violence makes any sense, only makes things worse and dissolves any meaningful distinction between the perpetrators.

How much better that we attempt to have that conversation now, during the wait.

THOUGH SHE CONFESSES that women are likely to be more strongly drawn to her solo stage show Thursday in Santa Rosa, writer and seeker Oceana Taicher insists that men will relate to it, too.

Taicher's performance of "Confessions — 7 Decades" at the West End neighborhood's Arlene Francis Center will benefit the Women's School of Healing Arts & Sciences in Windsor. Tickets are at the door and at brownpapertickets.com.

Musing on the show's relevance to males, Taicher said that men have hearts and souls and spirits, and they have wives and girlfriends. "And men have mothers," she said.

EDIBLE ANGELS: In addition to transplanting, cutting and giving away tens of thousands of daffodils, Merle Reuser creates and doles out chocolate angels.

The native son of Cloverdale, now a resident of Santa Rosa, starts with a Hershey's Kiss and adds a cottonball head, pipe-cleaner wings and, as a halo, one of the rings that craft stores sell as table decorations at weddings.

You generally never know when Merle will offer one, but you can count on that happening Monday, Memorial Day, at the Santa Rosa Memorial Park cemetery.

He expects that a whole lot of people will come for the Avenue of the Flags exhibit and ceremony, and the visiting Wall of Remembrance honoring all civilian, police, fire and military casualties of the war on terrorism.

So Merle spent hours a day for weeks placing nearly 2,100 red, white and blue angels into the shape of an American flag, and 1,000 more red ones into a heart.

He hopes that following Monday's 10 a.m. Memorial Day service at the cemetery on Franklin Avenue he'll have an angel for everyone who'd like one.

Merle is a Navy veteran, and a most extraordinary man.

GOLFER JEFF WALLAHAN may be lying low, for good reason.

Friday afternoon at Rohnert Park's Foxtail Golf Club, Wallahan reportedly sunk a hole-in-one on the par-3 6th hole. Pretty cool, but wait.

On the next par-3 hole, the 13th, he hit a second hole-in-one. Unbelievable.

I tried to locate Wallahan, who owns Jeff's 4X4 Repair in Santa Rosa, but failed. Big surprise there.

He has to know he owes all of us a drink.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.