Ricketts’ major mistake on masks

Gov. Ricketts was really out of line in refusing to respect the mask requirements of local government offices. This is especially troubling considering that these offices were required to open as per the governor’s orders. Since patrons are not required to wear masks, the state and local workers are subjected to viral transmission in a job they are required to perform.

Mr. Ricketts could have turned this moment into educating the public on the scientific evidence that wearing a mask prevents the transmission of the virus in up to 90% of cases, especially if both parties are covered. He also could have noted that the person wearing the mask prevents exposure from himself to another. This is an especially considerate gesture. So, wearing the mask by a patron helps to mitigate the hours of exposure that a government employee is subjected to.

We are lost from the idea that mask wearing is a selfless and effective act of preventing viral spread. And in this era of COVID-19 it should be required in public situations and observed with no more refusal than wearing a seat belt or taking one’s shoes off before boarding a plane.

Charlotte Shields, Papillion

No masks required? Bad policy

Sorry, Gov. Ricketts, not requiring mask use in public places is inviting COVID-19 spread. You have a bevy of health professionals — listen to them!

Marsha Culbertson, Omaha

Police are needed

If the police are going to be defunded, so should welfare, food stamps and free medical care. If you don’t need police, you can take care of yourself on every level.

Gayle Kline, Omaha

Get the statistics right

Mark Twain is among a number of wise folks who are credited with popularizing the term: “There are three kinds of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics.” (Of course, Twain never met Donald Trump, who daily adds to that list.)

With Twain’s cautionary note in mind I’m afraid I have to take issue with Weysan Dun, a retired FBI agent who on June 17 in The World-Herald defended his fellow law enforcement officials against what they believe to be unfounded criticism.

Dun quotes at length from the Washington Post’s findings on police use of force to disprove what he calls the “racist cop” narrative. He is very selective in his use of those statistics and the conclusion to which they lead. “The data,” says Mr. Dun, “shows that black people are not being slain by police at a disproportionate rate.”

The only problem with Mr. Dun’s conclusion is that it’s not true, as even a cursory examination of the Post’s findings would have shown.

“The rate at which black Americans are killed (31 per million) by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans (13 per million),” according to the Post. “Although half of the people shot and killed by police are white, black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13% of the U.S. population, but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans. Hispanic Americans are also killed by police at a disproportionate rate.”

Yes, good cops outnumber the bad, but to flip the World-Herald’s headline urging folks to not exaggerate police racial bias: Let’s also not sugarcoat the problem with Mr. Twain’s “statistics.”

John Taylor, Omaha

Positive essays by Love, Schmaderer

The June 14 op-eds by Preston Love Jr. and Chief Todd Schmaderer were thoughtful, informative pieces. The chief’s ideas seem very consistent with his pattern of behavior from what I have observed. My guess is, the chief will look for ways to reallocate police resources to be more responsive to community needs.

Mr. Love’s pieces have been very thoughtful, instructive and self-reflection-producing. Mr. Love’s piece clearly articulates his experiences and thought processes. His thoughts should not be dismissed in any manner.

Those two Sunday op-eds makes this white, 76-year-old father of six, grandfather of 10, and a Trump supporter feel very good about the direction of this city and, with some exceptions, the country.

Tony Staup, Waterloo, Neb.

Seniors, say yes to Trump

I am a war baby born in the middle of World War II; presently I happen to be a registered Democrat. The Democratic Party of today does not represent my views. I should have changed my voter registration to Independent a long time ago. My moral and political views are a result of my upbringing by the greatest generation. As a 1961 graduate of Elkhorn High at 17, I was unable to vote for JFK. If the media would have covered his life like they do today, would I have voted for him? Would his words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” resonated in my young political mind?

President Trump will have my vote again in the coming election because I am a student of history. Greg Ebsen (Public Pulse, June 13), thank you for your service (my brother was also an Air Force veteran). Noting your teaching career, I do not understand your views.

I hope you were not teaching American history, because I see a lack of knowledge about our country and its founding principles.

The OWH in 1961 at that time ran quotes on the editorial page. As a high school senior, on that day one quote caught my eye: “You are young, my son, and as the years go by, time will change and reverse some of your present opinions. Refrain, therefore, from setting yourself as judge of the highest matters.” I memorized that quote and repeated it frequently over the years. As a country, we seem to have forgotten how we got to be the beacon of freedom.

Patsy Schmidt, Bennington

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