<b>From left and right</b>
EDITOR: Most opinions about the shooting of Andy Lopez, as with most of the other letters in the paper, fall into liberal and conservative camps. Saturday's Press Democrat contained both. Jordan Theakston ("Let justice prevail") is a good example of the conservative flavor. Basically, the writer says he is tired of hearing about it, and let's just stop debating until the courts decide what happened. Patrick Corcoran ("Lingering questions") gave a great explanation of why this story won't go away. The reason, as the author suggests, is we know how the story ends. The family will get some money, the cop will be found not guilty, Andy gets a park named after him, and we will continue to experience an increasingly militarized, unaccountable police force.
EDITOR: Winter is coming — rain and cold. So what's a person to do when food stamps are being cut, no hiring signs are seen, shelters already are full, with waiting lists, and people can't legally sleep in cars? I know. Use some of those empty county and city buildings. Hire some people to manage them, and give some warmth and solace to the many homeless when weather is unbearable. Surely, it's the Christian thing to do, right?
EDITOR: The Santa Rosa mayor and city manager lauded the alleged efforts of the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force in helping to heal the "grief and loss suffered by the friends and classmates of Andy Lopez" ("Building a path for healing SR community," Close to Home, Saturday). I read these words with abject horror and utter disgust and felt shame for our elected leaders' unapologetic failure to take any civic responsibility for the unjustified killing of a child.
The mention of the gang task force in the context of Deputy Erick Gelhuas shooting Andy Lopez is unadulterated racism. Andy was a model son, promising student, friend and trumpet player. He was not, nor is he accused of being a gang-banger.
The Andy Lopez Organizing Group is outraged and appalled at such blatant racial stereotyping. If a white youth were killed in an upscale neighborhood such as Fountaingrove, the mayor and city manager would never consider calling in the gang task force to assuage the community's grief. In fact, any cop who shot a white kid in similar circumstances would be sitting in a jail cell awaiting an indictment.
The attempted misdirection away from the key issue — indicting Gelhaus for criminal wrongdoing — implies there was something criminal about Andy Lopez. We will not stand for this.
<b>Time for rebellion</b>
EDITOR: What this country needs is a good rebellion.
Study American history and you'll learn that almost every decade has been marked by the struggle of downtrodden, tyrannized, under-represented groups against the overweening, despotic and authoritarian despoilers of economic, political, social and moral justice.
Rebellion is as American as pumpkin pie and should be tasted just as regularly.
We're long overdue for a slice right now.
The gross inequalities in our country have been structural for almost a generation. The economic, educational and health inequalities that so many Americans suffer under amount to deeply rooted societal injustices that will certainly continue and worsen since our corporate and banking masters, along with our complicit national and state legislatures, successfully stymie any but the most inconsequential ameliorative measures.