Equal treatment for all

Dear Editor:

The controversy surrounding Sheriff Kane’s recently publicized unilateral decision to withhold recovery coaching from county jail prisoners with addiction disorders has generated many expressions of support for this homegrown, “nice guy”. I concur with this personal assessment of the man who I have also known to be caring, dedicated and “nice”. Some of those with political leanings to the right of center have hurled insults and condemnation toward any who would criticize his behavior as a public servant. Some of those to the left are inclined to assess his entire professional career by this one decision and its effects upon those who lost these essential supports, demanding his removal or resignation from his elected position.

In many ways, I think this controversy mirrors exactly the ongoing dilemma we face as loyal Americans: should we accept without criticism our government as the perfect, international “nice guy” that can never admit wrongdoing, or shall we hold it accountable when incorrect decisions are made and actions taken in our name which cause harm and violate our most cherished principles?

I believe the situation created by Kane was based on defective assumptions following from limited and incorrect information and biases, but which now creates an opportunity for individual and community growth. However, for that outcome to occur there needs to be an admission of error by the Sheriff and by the County Commissioners, and an agreement by all concerned that our common ground is the equal treatment under the law for ALL citizens regardless of race, and that the humane treatment of prisoners is not dependent on the personal politics of anyone in law enforcement.

If one is committed to condemning a movement created from the pain, grief and anger of those killed, traumatized or simply outraged by unnecessary and racially motivated police violence, then perhaps just condemn those individual founders of BLM for whatever political differences you might have, just as you would, say, a Thomas Jefferson as a lifelong slave owner who also happened to help craft the oldest and most successful democracy in history. But then you must also consider that the unaddressed, disproportional police violence toward our fellow citizens of color was protested internationally last summer by tens of millions of people, peacefully, and in solidarity with all those who uphold the stated idea that black lives do matter; not in support of a radical organization, nor to attack the concept of the nuclear family, just an undeniable belief that none of us is truly free or safe or equal unless we all enjoy those same rights.

Mark Tripp


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