Cops get guns and Tasers, so screen them like refugees Personal disclosure: I’ve worked for the Fairbanks police and served refugees in Catholic Social Services. Recently we have reports of a multiple tasering of a high school student in Sitka, an alleged rape of a woman in Bethel, an alleged violent attack on a drunk in Bethel, the lockdown of the KYUK radio and television building in Bethel and the installation of a security system to protect reporters from the guy who allegedly beat the drunk, and the attack on a Kodiak guy who reportedly refused to answer questions while checking his mailbox. In all incidents, the alleged attackers were cops. One of those Sitka cops, who had tasered a man who subsequently died in New Mexico, apparently had no problem getting hired for a cop job in...Alaska Dispatch News
Each year, thousands of Alaskans are incarcerated. While some leave the state, most, about 3,500, stay in Alaska jails. And according to a study ordered by the governor and released Nov. 16 , that is a very dangerous place to be. While few would assume a jail is a warm and cuddly environment, the idea that the danger might come not from the fellow inmates but from the correction officers themselves is beyond disturbing. The study found in case after case, inmates had died despite numerous pleas for help, with opportunities abounding to stop the chain of events that ended an inmate’s life. In many of these cases, the people in custody were not dangerous felons, but people with problems — drinking, depression, drugs — who crossed the line and wound up in jail. Most of them were not yet...Carey Restino
Two commentaries regarding the University of Alaska recently published by Alaska Dispatch News require a response. The pieces by former regent Kirk Wickersham and ADN columnist Dermot Cole demonstrate barely disguised hostility toward the University of Alaska and a profound want of understanding about what this institution offers to our state. They certainly do not describe the University of Alaska Anchorage I know and proudly serve as member of the faculty. Wickersham’s commentary of Nov. 4 is the most easily dealt with. First he’s wrong. UAA currently stands tied for 77th in the latest rankings (not 68th) on U.S. News and World Report’s list of regional universities (Western Region). Yet consider the criteria used to generate those rankings, which includes exclusivity of admissions,...Paul Dunscomb
The terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 were terrible and absolutely terrifying. As a French citizen it particularly worried me and touched me. After making sure my family and friends were safe, I started to read article after article about it. I read French newspapers and American newspapers. Through newspapers and social media, a lot of comments, opinions and ideas caught my attention. I’ve been living in Alaska for three years now and I have learned the American way to live, but in all of those comments and opinions one crucial thing was missing: An understanding of the French way of life. As a French citizen living here, I thought it was important I explain why the French reacted as we did and why some comments don't fit our way of life. I am trying to help people understand our...Manon Grimault
Show humanity to the suffering I commend Gov. Walker for not closing off our state to Syrian refugees. This is not the time to overreact to the violence of Paris. It’s a time to show our humanity to a culture of people who are suffering. I read recently comments from residents of another state who basically called the refugees of Syria “animals.” When we begin to think of others who are much different than ourselves, especially those who have suffered far more than we will probably ever suffer, as animals, then we have to ask the question, “who is the animal”? Do not let violence turn us into animals. Let us have compassion for those people less privileged and in need. — Larry Holman Anchorage Don’t treat leaders like losers I’d like to differ with D. M. Booth’s cartoon on the Nov. 16 op-...Alaska Dispatch News
There must be seven or eight Republican politicians in Alaska who haven't shared panic-stricken statements about the Syrian refugee crisis, pretending to know what's really going on. What's wrong with these slackers? They aren't doing their part to create hysteria or display the depth of their understanding of world events. They need to follow the lead of Fairbanks Sen. Pete Kelly, who once modestly said, "Sometimes I think I know too much." These aren't refugees, says Kelly. They are invaders, trying to install sharia law from Skagway to Shishmaref. "Europe is under invasion and Paris is the first city to fall under full attack. We in the U.S. are next and the Quisling who has opened wide our gates to the invading horde is our very own president," says the man who knows too much . Kelly...Dermot Cole
One of the questions history asks is which is more important: the times or the person? Are there inexorable forces that so determine circumstances that leaders, or persons, are so constrained that anyone would be compelled to make the same decision, no matter who? Or does the person always make the difference. Among those historians willing to take a stand, some argue that history is indeed the product of individual judgments which reflect different capabilities, that whoever is in the leadership, or circumstance, makes all the difference. Some add that serendipity plays a role, i.e., had someone else been the player, things would have developed differently than they did. Others argue the times make the person, that no matter who might have been the leader, or present at a given moment,...Steve Haycox
With a week still to go, my email inbox runneth over with announcements like this: “Shop now for pre-Black Friday deals and save, save, save!” Screaming at consumers both literally and virtually, retail outlets are capitalizing on the traditional day-after-Thanksgiving opportunity to shop and shop big. Dare I suggest that this year may be different? Specialty outdoor giant REI announced several weeks ago it planned to close all stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, choosing instead to support their ethos for outdoor recreation and community stewardship with the hashtag #OptOutside . The gist of REI’s strategy is, of course, to encourage more shopping at their storefronts or online another time while spending Black Friday with family or friends in the great outdoors. Say what you will...Erin Kirkland
The first step in recovering from addiction is to tell the truth -- admit the addiction, acknowledge its consequences. Yet this is something we still seem unwilling to do with our global addiction to oil. Addicts would rather stay high than confront their addiction and commit to recovery. The truth about oil is that while there are benefits -- jobs, energy, government revenue, etc. -- there are also enormous and unacceptable long-term risks, impacts and costs. And while government and industry extol the benefits of oil, they remain unwilling to tell the truth about its costs or aggressively pursue alternatives. Some costs are obvious. Oil spills, such as the 1989 Exxon Valdez in Alaska and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, are easily recognizable disasters that attract...Rick Steiner
Refugees yearn to breathe free Pretty sure most suicide bombers take their IDs along, in case they need to stop and buy a pack of cigarettes. How foolish can Republicans be? They (including our own congressional delegation) advocate denying desperate people fleeing from murderers a safe haven because of a fake ID left at the bombing site. Come on. — Connie Faipeas Anchorage Fear is Republicans’ go-to strategy “Be afraid, be very afraid,” is the mantra of the Republican Party. With a dearth of ideas to make our country better, the party uses fear to attract voters. It is not surprising that the large majority of politicians calling for a ban on Syrian refugees are Republicans. But how many “acts of terror” already occur in this country? How many shootings? How many stabbings? But there is...Alaska Dispatch News