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Forum, June 23: There’s no good reason for police to carry weapons

Published: 6/22/2020 10:00:16 PM
Modified: 6/22/2020 10:00:10 PM
There’s no good reason for police to carry weapons

In their letter of June 14 (“Eight police reforms that can’t wait”) Cappy and Mark Nunlist recommend eight reforms meant to reduce police violence. They are all reasonable ideas, but more like concepts than enforceable policies. They depend on interpretation and can often be circumvented. By all means, ban chokeholds. But many people have died from chokeholds in places where they are banned. These reforms will be effective only if the police take them seriously, which is open to much doubt.

There is another solution that would be immediately effective without any bureaucratic support: Disarm the police. There are very few encounters between the police and the public that require the use of a weapon. On those rare occasions, a weapon could be available in a vehicle or from a backup unit. There is no good reason for every officer to carry a gun. Their weapons, including Tasers and pepper spray, rarely provide officers with needed protection; instead they encourage a confrontational style and put every citizen at risk.

People fear the police for good reason: Every encounter with them can be life-threatening. One reason for the unacceptable level of police violence is that the opportunity to carry and use a weapon attracts too many individuals who have little interest in serving the public. If the daily experience of police work was focused on conflict resolution, de-escalation, and helping people in need, its attraction would be very different. It would be a step in the right direction if the worst thing we had to fear was a chokehold.

CLIFFORD CARY

Lebanon

Police must be included in reform discussions

The very best decisions are made when all stakeholders are allowed to participate in making those decisions. Not including the police in these discussions, continuing to attack them, and then telling them what they need to change, will not result in the most effective and long-term solutions.

BARRY McCABE

West Hartford

Get an absentee ballot now

Thanks to Shideko Terai for her good Forum letter about how to vote safely in New Hampshire in this pandemic year (“The process for voting safely in New Hampshire,” June 16). No one knows how high the infection danger will remain in the fall, but everyone knows we’ll vote as safely as possible if we vote from home, by mail.

We now face a massive effort within our state to help everyone learn that people in New Hampshire can claim disability status for 2020 voting if they’re concerned about possible COVID-19 infections at crowded public polling locations.

The Secretary of State’s Office has sent full 2020 absentee voting information to all town clerks, so that’s where to go in your town if you have questions.

Specific and helpful information can be found at www.voteinnh.org/absentee.

Don’t put off applying for an absentee ballot. Our town clerks will be swamped.

MICHAEL WHITMAN

Lym

Get to know the candidates

On Feb. 11 I braved the snow and cold to knock doors in Hanover for Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the last day of primary season. I encouraged folks to get to the polls by 7 p.m., ensuring they knew where to go and what to bring if they wanted to register on the spot. As I approached a house, a resident opened the front door and shouted, “Don’t come here! I’m sick of all the mail and all the knocking!”

I get it. Being the home of the first-in-the-nation primary brings a certain amount of annoyance and grief alongside pride. Our season of canvassing, mailers, buttons, yard signs and campaign events is prolonged compared with others. Admittedly, I was just as sick of mail, door hangers and brochures clogging my mailbox.

This fall has to be different, though. Without canvassing (potentially), it will be imperative for each of us to diligently review the postcards arriving in the mail, the door hangers placed absent a knock and a conversation, and the invitations to join virtual campaign events. New names will be in the races for our local and state elections, and we must do all we can to get to know those people from afar. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that the people we elect to decision-making positions in our government are crucial to our survival, livelihoods and care.

Before you toss those postcards in the recycling bin, pause. Read them. Go online to see who the candidates are and what they’re about. Then you can chuck it and move on with your day, knowing you did your part.

BRITTNEY JOYCE

Hanover

The writer is a candidate to represent the Grafton 12 district in the New Hampshire House.

Hold Big Oil accountable

It is time to hold Big Oil accountable for our extinction by plastic. The industry must now bear the brunt of the cleanup and cease creating products that are not easily recyclable. It is now or never.

MICHAEL WARD

Barnard

Students can vote — at home

John Gregg’s Primary Source column on June 18 (“A viral vote suppressant”) was rather interesting. His main theme was the potential loss of nonresident college students voting in New Hampshire because of the COVID-19 pandemic keeping colleges closed.

Wow! Just think, those students will have to vote in their home states. They won’t be able to suppress my vote unless they vote by absentee ballot here in New Hampshire. So sad.

As a New Hampshire resident who pays New Hampshire taxes, has a New Hampshire driver’s license and has his vehicles registered in New Hampshire, I believe that these students should not have a say in how the state in which I am a resident should be represented locally and in Washington.

BRUCE ST. PETER

Grantham




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