Editor’s note: This letter is in response to “New columnist should walk a mile in police officer shoes”, published Sept. 23.
I find it disappointing that J. Buss would bully and belittle a high school columnist for stating an opinion he disagrees with. No, I didn’t agree with all of Ms. Devine’s points and arguments, although I thought her overall message was quite insightful. Yes, I do think that some of Mr. Buss’s points are valid and appropriate rebuttal. However, I find his approach, which was to exaggerate, name call, and jump to wild conclusions, to be irresponsible and childish. I would expect better.
Possibly this type of reaction is part of the problem. Mr. Buss, to my understanding, is a former police officer. How are we supposed to entrust police officers to be fair and reasonable when they lash out when challenged? Isn’t it their responsibility to have a thicker skin? I think police officers have an incredibly difficult job. They carry the enormous weight of protecting our community and themselves in the face of impossible challenges. I completely understand them feeling attacked and under appreciated because I do not believe they are being treated fairly in the media or in this debate about social change.
However, that does not excuse being a jerk. Criticism is part of life, and especially part of having authority, is it not? And how would we expect Ms. Devine to feel now if Mr. Buss, hypothetically, pulled her over after his condescending attack? Would she feel secure that he would be fair and reasonable as an officer of the law after this tirade? Has this letter helped or hurt the situation?
Ms. Devine’s words are an opportunity. She is an eloquent and thoughtful young woman. She’s reasonably and respectfully stating an opinion. Why can’t we return the favor? This is how she feels. Couldn’t we listen to her words for insights into why so many people feel the need to protest right now? What do they see and feel and believe that we might not? How could we reasonably enter into a conversation about the topic to share our perspective, expand understanding, and possibly find common ground?
But this opportunity seems to be lost. It seems we would rather rant and rave and offer conspiracy theories. Too bad.