Letter writer: Rethink your battles, protesters

Graphic by Lori Deaton

There has been a lot of media covering black men being shot by police in other cities under circumstances that were obviously unjust. That is incredibly disheartening. There is no way to deny that there has been terrible treatment of African-Americans in the past, and that racism is sadly still perpetuated today, especially in the media. …  The Native Americans are the ones who got the worst in the beginning. The Irish and Italians also experienced a lot of discrimination in the past. Mexicans are highly discriminated against as well. Why can’t we move past all of this? Simply because it is being taught. That’s why.

When it comes to a point that the Asheville police can’t protect the public without backlash, then what do you want? How would you feel if people were shooting AR-15 semi-automatic rifles in front of your house or at you? Is that OK? Is it OK at that point for the police to get involved and possibly use lethal force to protect everyone else? No? You think it’s better to not do anything and see what happens? Let them shoot assault rifles wherever and whenever they want? How many people have to get shot?

It’s not a black or white thing. It’s the reality of the situation. All the people protesting and trying to get the cop fired for serving and protecting I am sure are not privy to the reality of the situation. It’s real. And dangerous. They should try moving to the projects for a year (yes, it is very different than the rest of Asheville) or being a cop for a year. Then you can form your opinion. This particular situation was warranted.

Sadly though, there are many situations in other places that were not. It’s a touchy subject, yet skin color didn’t have anything to do with this. Rethink your battles, uninformed protesters. The APD is doing a great job and puts their lives on the line for us every day. Would you call them if that same man shot at you or in front of your house? Would you call the police to protect you? Would you still protest? Travel to the cities where there really is a problem with the cops overreacting.

I think that Tasers should be used rather than guns when possible. I don’t know what the answer is, I just know that it’s not safe with people shooting off assault rifles, and I want our community protected from that. And that protesters don’t seem to understand the seriousness [of the situation]. I also don’t believe that man should have died necessarily. It’s a sad situation for all parties.

— Asheville resident

Editor’s note: Xpress does not usually withhold the names of letter writers. In this case, we made an exception in the interest of furthering community discussion of this important issue and because the letter writer made a convincing case that publishing the writer’s name would compromise that person’s safety.


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16 thoughts on “Letter writer: Rethink your battles, protesters

  1. Troubled Traveller

    I read a prayer the other day that included this heart-felt plea:

    “Help us live with the shrewdness of serpents and the innocence of doves….”

    I admire the British police force that begins with “bobbies”; uniformed but unarmed or lightly armed patrolmen that are trained to interface with the general, law-abiding public, and that alert and include higher levels of response as necessary.

    I think, out of fear, we as a society have felt the need to prepare ourselves for the worst, overlooking the fact that most citizens are law-abiding. I don’t want peace officers harmed or injured while involved in performing the services that our society requires of them. But, it is hard to make a convincing case as a peace officer when armed to the hilt and demonstrating aggressive behavior and even sometimes (too often???) using dogs and military equipment.

    I and other Asheville citizens that I personally know, have been dealt with in the past by the city police in overly-aggressive manners – in one case due simply to a general alert for suspicious activity in their vicinity that had nothing whatsoever to do with them. My offense? In the early days when the no smoking in public laws were first beginning, a policeman was smoking near me in an area that restricted smoking -again, this was early days in the campaign against public smoking – and I asked him if he would extinguish his smoking materials in that area. He became visibly quite upset and overly confrontational with me over what I viewed as more of a common courtesy issue. That interaction came really close to causing me huge problems. I was so stunned by the officer’s overly aggressive response to my simple request, that I was dumbfounded to “deer in the headlight” status, which lead to de-escalation.

    No person in this country, or world as long as we’re talking about it, should be subjected to bias during an interaction with law enforcement. Situations requiring law enforcement intervention should be based on the degree of threat to public safety alone and not any particular demographic feature demonstrated by any would-be, or already-did, offender. And the public safety must be taken into account when known confrontations or violence has already occurred and a law enforcement response is required. But as our original letter writer illuminates, those actively engaged in violent crime must be met with force sufficient to halt the rampage and restore order.

    Changing from where we are to where things are better for everybody will take time. We need leadership that can develop a comprehensive overview, and apply sound methods to these complex issues. These kinds of changes start with each of us working towards and becoming the change that we envision. As we unite around these issues in our fair city, the positive momentum that we generate will lead us to realize a future of respect and tolerance that will go a long way towards alleviating these kinds of societal issues.

    What can You do for your country? What can You do for your neighborhood? What can you do for your neighbor that inspires and propels us all towards peaceful coexistence?

    Maybe, just maybe, it could all start with a smile and a friendly greeting! Be kind to everyone you meet,; we’re all struggling together to make the best life that we can.


  2. boatrocker

    If the author of the LTE felt that signing a name would result in bodily harm coming to them for expressing an opinion, then the point he/she made is moot as America is not emotionally mature enough to discuss daily inhumane and unconstitutional acts of violence perpetrated by police upon American citizens.

    “Stop Killing Us” seems so unreasonable to ask of our police force, right?
    Until it is your child.

  3. Kathy

    I live out in the county and my neighbors love to shoot their semiautomatic rifle in their front yard. I have a bullet hole in my shed from where they misfired and almost hit my house. When I call the police on them, you know what happens to them? Nothing! Couldn’t possibly be because they’re white.

    • Craig Randolph

      or, could it be that it’s legal to own and discharge a firearm, maybe?

      • Lulz

        LOL, you’re trying to explain these things to people who are racist against whites because they assume the system is rigged. Yet don’t for one sec look at a subset of citizens who are from broken homes and who refuse to become educated. There’s no help for that and no amount of free money that can cure it.

        • Libby

          I find it ironic that in your opening statement you characterize anyone with an opinion that is not the same as yours as “racist against whites because they assume the system is rigged.” Then in the next breathe you talk about the “subset of citizens from broken homes that refuse to become educated.” It must be great living in your glass house throwing phrases around like “racist against whites.” Racists assume superiority! The comments that I read had no racists tone, but raised questions about inequitable treatment. As for that “subset” that you spoke about, once again you have the luxury of marginalizing a group as refusing to be educated. I like that you avoided identifying the “race” of this subset–smart move. Heaven forbid that someone might think that you were “racist” against low income white people from broken homes who refuse to become educated! Imagine the backlash!

      • Daniel Withrow

        Craig, I’m not a lawyer, so please understand that this question is sincere: is it legal to discharge a firearm such that it hits someone else’s shed?

        • Phil Williams

          Mr. Withrow, That would depend on any number of factors – was it intentional? Was it accidental due to negligence? Due to mechanical malfunction? So long as there are no shooting restrictions for that neighborhood, Kathy would need to have actually observed them shooting at her shed – or gotten video, photographic or additional eyewitness evidence. I seriously doubt that the Sheriff’s Office or Police would collect evidence, send it off for ballistic analysis, etc., based on an alleged bullet hole in a shed – especially when no person or animal was shot or no significant, expensive property damage occurred.

          • Daniel Withrow

            Thanks for the reply, Phil. I guess I’m having trouble with the idea that someone can put a hole in my shed, and it’d be considered non-negligent. Seems to me that a person who can’t control their bullets’ trajectories enough to prevent damaging other folks’ property has no business firing their weapons.

            This isn’t a gun-specific thing: if you drive your car such that it puts a hole in my shed, that sort of negligence should be penalized as well.

            If it’s simply a civil matter, I guess I’d understand. But I worry a bit that if one bullet goes through my shed, the next one could go through my kitchen window.

        • Phil Williams

          True – you make a couple of excellent points – and unfortunately so much depends on the character of those neighbors. If I had put a hole in a neighbor’s shed, house, car, livestock, etc., my Dad would’ve jerked a knot in my hind end and locked away my guns until I’d not only convinced him that I had reformed, but also “worked out” the damages by cutting the neighbor’s grass, hoeing their garden, or any other work they could think up for me! And that would’ve been if I had just been negligent – as Dad figured that his reputation as a father and gun owner was reflected in my competence with handling and shooting a gun…..If I had intentionally shot up someone’s property, Katie bar the door – there wouldn’t have been enough hide left on my fanny to patch an inner tube.

    • Phil Williams

      Ma’am, If you live out in the county, then I would say color is probably a non-issue, as not many folks other than whites – and probably a few Native Americans and Hispanics – live outside the City limits. As it is not illegal to shoot on most private property outside city limits, then they are not breaking the law. As for your bullet hole, the law enforcement guys would probably need some kind of proof that the neighbor fired the shot – or at least you’d have to be willing to make a sworn statement that you saw them do it. It is up to the gun owner/shooter to handle his/her firearms safely – and unfortunately, some don’t. I live in a densely populated area, and have to pay for the privilege of taking my guns to a range in order to practice – or go to a friend who has a safe shooting area.

    • boatrocker

      It’s because they’re inept and self serving. No big surprise- it’s law enforcement in general.

  4. MMH

    Kathy – your neighbors are just reminding you’ns that they can protect themselves from intruders and maybe you too if you need

  5. Libby

    Unless you have walked a mile in someone’s shoes it is really hard to judge their journey. These protesters that you speak about have a history with Asheville Police. I will not pretend to know what is true in this case. What I do know is that this is not the first such incident to happen in Asheville. I have had a police officer at a license check become irate and state to me, in front of my kids in the back seat, that I am lucky he didn’t shoot me because I questioned the language that he was using in front of my children. There is a problem, and yes it exists in little ole Asheville!

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