Protests (copy)

People protest for the fourth day in a row in Omaha on Monday, June 01, 2020. 

Equality before the law

The City of Omaha has announced that it will drop charges of violating the curfew for anyone with a clean criminal record. Has the city not heard a single thing being said? Many people of color have a criminal record from simple living their lives in our society.

White people in a city park after closing get told to go home, while people of color get a trespassing charge. White people get a warning for speeding, while a person of color gets their car searched and a ticket for marijuana and not wearing a seat belt along with their speeding ticket. White people mouth off to the police and get a dirty look in return, while people of color do everything to avoid a confrontation but still get charged with petty crimes that their white counterparts would never face.

Nebraska’s motto is “Equality before the law,” yet the city is poised to let a predominately white and privileged group go free while punishing a predominately nonwhite and victimized group for the exact same crime.

The city should punish or pardon everybody who violated the curfew equally unless they can prove some aggravating factor — the person was committing arson or felony criminal mischief while violating the curfew. To rely on past records that have no bearing on the current charges is just allowing the system to continue to harass and victimize minorities in our community.

Nathan Rice, Lincoln

Why these statues must go

Apparently some people still don’t understand why monuments to the Confederacy must be removed. Here is why.

These individuals commemorated were not outstanding Americans who performed courageous acts or who advanced American ideals of freedom and democracy. Their sole legacy is one of treachery and racism. These individuals were traitors to their country who took up arms to kill Americans. That is not an act that we want to glorify and celebrate.

They committed treason against our country for the worst of possible reasons. They were willing to kill Americans to defend their right to own humans as property. They were the worst of humanity. Those are not values to celebrate in metal and concrete.

It is not erasing history. We don’t teach history through statues. If so, we should have a statue of Osama bin Laden in a triumphant pose in Times Square to remember 9/11. That sounds ridiculous, I know. We have books and curriculum to teach our history. Statues are chosen to represent the best of our values and individuals who showcase those values and inspire the best in us. Our collective values can and should change over time; the people we chose to celebrate those values should change too.

For the most part it was no secret as to why confederate monuments were installed in the first place. They were erected over the years as a way to protest against the advancement of civil rights for people of color. It was a statement to say. “You may have gained some rights, but here is a reminder that we still consider you no better than property.”

These do not represent American values today.

Roger Doerr, Lincoln

Statues and history

In these turbulent times, we see individuals and organizations who demand that memorials, statues, etc., connected with the Civil War be dismantled, destroyed or demolished. It is easy to empathize with those who suffer pain and anguish and express an honest anger when confronted with Civil War memorabilia, particularly memorabilia that commemorates those who served in the Confederate military.

I believe that it is important to maintain such memorabilia, if for no other reason than to serve as a reminder of what horrors can occur within a society. These should serve as reminders of just how horrible a civil war can be, and what can happen when unjust means are used to shore up and support a part of a society at the expense of another, traditionally disadvantaged part of that same society.

Our nation’s history contains some very dark stains in which no one can or should take pride. Destroying statues and memorials cannot erase or reverse history; it can only aid in forgetting history, and we all know what philosophers say about that.

John A. Daum, Omaha

College baseball is strong

When I read the first paragraph of Ricky Fulton’s letter to the editor (June 15), I suspected there might be some merit in that Omaha might be sweltering in July for the College World Series. But then I find out that he just hates baseball. “Ground balls going through the legs of infielders”? “Pop flys [sic] falling for errors in the outfield”?

Does he think this is Little League? Mr. Fulton should be advised that the first eight players selected in the major league draft this year were college players. Fortunately, he hasn’t been in the last couple of years, freeing up tickets for the rest of us.

Dave Peck, Bellevue

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