Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Nov. 2

Street culture has gone too far

Duke Ellington once said there are two kinds of music, good and bad. The growing colony of young people who have migrated from Fourth Avenue to the other parts of our beleaguered little city playing bad music is becoming intolerable.

Recently, it was a guitar player, his dog and a finger-painting artist (I use the terms player and artist very loosely here) encamped on a public bench and most of the sidewalk on Legion Way across from the park and just east of Capitol Boulevard. Today at the same place it was the same two, plus another dog and someone playing bongos badly. For these pilgrims, having mastered the talent for looking pitiful and unkempt in a relatively unobtrusive way is not enough. I know that Olympia has chosen to be rather tolerant of street culture but parts of downtown Olympia already look like Calcutta. Inflicting the added insult of random noise in the name of music on those of us who work, vote and pay taxes in Olympia is inhumane and should be addressed.

BILL WARD, Olympia

Review of shooting was thorough

On Aug. 15, while most of us were comfortably sleeping, Olympia Police Officer Chris Cook was on duty, doing his job. An otherwise routine night of patrol turned deadly in an instant when Officer Cook found himself in a fight for his life and the lives of others at Providence St. Peter Hospital. While the events of that night have a tragic end as staff and others were traumatized by the events and a patient armed with three handguns died, these events highlight the professional and courageous work of Officer Cook and the other men and women of our police and sheriff departments.

I was asked by Chief Michel to be the citizen participant on the Olympia Police Department’s (OPD) internal Shooting Review Board. I found the process OPD used for this review to be exemplary. From the thorough and professional investigation to the candid and complete review of the events, the review left me confident in the work of the police and their collective and individual commitment to our safety.

I specifically want to acknowledge the work of Officer Cook. He performed compassionately when working with the patient and courageously when the circumstances turned very dangerous. It is clear that he is well trained and was able to respond quickly and appropriately when needed.

We as a community can be very proud of the work of Officer Cook and our local police officers and sheriff deputies. Take a moment to thank them the next opportunity you have. I know I will.


Don't forget the headlights

What I have written here, is not ground breaking news, but it is important that everyone realize this safety precaution while driving their cars in this dark (and soon to become even darker) weather.

Most people assume that they only need to turn on their lights when they can’t see enough to drive. In reality, it’s quite the other way around. We need people to see us! Whether it’s in driving rain or just a heavily overcast morning, I’ve seen people do this every day during this type of weather, and it is a disconcerting and dangerous thing to do.

I witnessed a perfect example of this on my way to a recent appointment. A midnight-black car, traveling right behind me was practically invisible in my rearview mirror because its color blended into the black of the freeway asphalt, the heavy downpour, and the rain spraying up from my car.

Oh, yeah! They also didn’t have their lights on.

If they had to hit their brakes for any reason, the person behind them could have immediately rear-ended them, causing severe injury, and possibly death.

So, here is a gentle reminder to all of those out there on every road and freeway out there: Please think of others when start your car in the morning. Think of people being able to see you, instead of you seeing them.


Use fist bump during germ season

While meeting someone new yesterday I extended my hand for the customary greeting but was told that she was just recovering from a cold and did not want to pass on any stray germs during our exchange.

How thoughtful of her! And then it dawned on me. Why hadn’t we used the Michelle Obama fist bump? Most germs are in the palm area of our hands (the moist places) so a fist bump would not carry as much of a risk.

Unfortunately I thought of this idea later so my extended hand being rebuffed was sort of an awkward moment that could have been avoided had I been thinking faster.

New rule: Let's fist bump when greeting others.

The H1N1 microbes and conspiracy theorists might be annoyed but that’s OK with me.