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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • LV Times editorial: Color blind, and thankfully so

  • The issue: The death of Michael Brown and the protests and violence that have erupted in Ferguson, Mo., continue to be polarized issues, prompting fierce emotions.

    Our view: At this point, just who's at fault in Ferguson is uncertain. The case doesn't have much local connection, other than to say we're thankful our law enforcement agencies do an admirable job of serving the public without seeing color.
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  • This isn't going to be an editorial about Ferguson, Mo., at least not the type readers have been inundated with since the controversy erupted earlier this month.
    If it's quality commentary you want on Ferguson, which we concede has been rare in the media's coverage thus far, please read the work of our colleague, Dr. Ernest Evans, who is gracious enough to submit a column to the Leavenworth Times on various political and social topics each week.
    Dr. Evans wrote an excellent piece on race, due process, civil rights, and the guaranteed failure of "lynch law" and lynch mob mentality in the U.S.
    His concluding paragraph is certainly one of the best statements written about Ferguson so far:
    "If we Americans are true to our Constitutional ideas, we must accept a most politically incorrect idea: It is just as wrong to deny due process to a white policeman in 2014 as it was to deny due process to a black man in 1901."
    So, while this editorial isn't an exact 1:1 commentary about the Missouri case, the opinion does intersect with it in two areas.
    The first we'd like to address is a syndicated cartoon that appeared on this page in Tuesday's newspaper. The cartoon, titled "Miranda rights for blacks in America," was controversial and prompted calls from some readers.
    We apologize to anyone who was offended by the cartoon, which was unfairly critical of police in the broadest of strokes. It wasn't our intention to cast law enforcement in a negative light just as it wasn't meant to be offensive to minorities, though those were inescapable consequences.
    Again, we're sorry if feelings were hurt, and we completely understand how they were. We resolve to be better.
    However, though the selection could have been different, there is another foundational truth concerning the cartoon: it lent itself to accomplishing two goals of the opinion page. That is, stimulating thought and providing a forum for differing viewpoints.
    Those aren't always the easiest tasks, mind you, but we feel Tuesday's page accomplished those goals. Note that directly below Tuesday's cartoon was a guest column titled, "Ferguson is not indicative of a racist America."
    The other area we'd like to address today is our local law enforcement agencies — the Leavenworth and Lansing police departments and the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office.
    We've stated on this very page several times we're appreciative of the job our local law enforcement officers do in sometimes dangerous circumstances.
    That hasn't changed.
    Although what's happening in Ferguson isn't reflective of our local agencies in any way, we do believe this presents a worthwhile time to reiterate our appreciation for their service.
    Officers go to work daily not knowing the circumstances they'll face. The what ifs don't get scarier than last month, when police were thrust in harm's way by trading gunfire with a kidnapping suspect.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Leavenworth Times can't speak for the general public, but it's been our observation that our local agencies go about their law enforcement business each day without prejudice.
    Their approach is an example of what we should all strive to be in our personal and professional lives — color blind.

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