To all persons choking on Trump as on a gnat: While swallowing the beastly camel of Clinton, it is time to try coming to grips with reality. If you want a future for you, your children and grandchildren, do not vote for Hillary!
Bobby W. Chastain, Macon
I rarely agree with most of the letters published in The Telegraph but respect people’s rights to their own opinions. But I think the editors have an obligation to their readers to ensure these opinions do not present dangerously distorted or incomplete information. Unfortunately, such was the case in a letter to the editor published last Sunday (“Chicago, We’ve Got a Problem,” Oct. 15).
Apparently, Ron Renno, the letter’s author, took issue with a Oct. 4 opinion column written by Dr. Catherine Meeks (“The Cry of the Children”) in which she raised legitimate questions about racial inequality in policing. In doing so, he presented alarming statistics: blacks, who make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, are “responsible for 62 percent of robberies, 57 percent of murders, (and) 45 percent of assaults in 75 of the biggest cities in America.” Renno does not credit the source of his information, but he is likely repeating an argument by the political commentator Heather Mac Donald, who has presented identical statistics in many different publications.
To her credit, Mac Donald provides important caveats to her numbers that Renno does not: Specifically, they are the percentages of blacks charged as opposed to convicted, they provide information about counties rather than cities and they are for a single year, 2009. Renno also does not note that, according to the FBI, the perpetrators and victims of violent crimes are usually of the same race, or that criminal justice scholars have shown that nationwide blacks are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested and imprisoned at higher rates than other racial groups. Nor does Renno mention that while blacks make up 13 percent of the U.S. population as a whole, they make up a much larger percentage of the 75 counties cited by Mac Donald. In other words, Renno presents extremely selective statistics.
I agree with Renno’s overall conclusion that the vast majority of law enforcement professionals are conscientious individuals who have very difficult jobs to do. But the rest of his argument in no way moves forward thoughtful (much less useful) consideration about a very complex problem. Intentional or not, his selective and poorly contextualized use of statistics obscures the role race plays in both criminal behavior and responses to it.
Nicholas J. Steneck, Ph.D.
associate professor of history
Department of History and Political Science
co-director, Confucius Institute
In reference to Stanley Dunlap’s Telegraph report on Sept. 20, about the Macon-Bibb County Commission’s approval to spend $1.4 million dollars to replace old street lights with 1,600 new and more energy efficient LED lights in the urban core and Georgia Power’s plans to replace another 6,500: The axiom of “the devil is always in the details” could be true in this case.
I hope our commissioners will exercise due diligence and heed this study by the American Medical Association to make sure the new lights are not in the unhealthy “blue” (brightest) range, but instead have a safer color temperature in the 3,000 degree Kelvin range. From the referenced AMA study: “Despite the energy efficiency benefits, some LED lights (blue) are harmful when used as street lighting,” said AMA board member Maya A. Babu, M.D., M.B.A.
Lee Martin, Macon
A vote for the left
What Donald Trump said 11 years ago was detestable but is not detrimental to America’s future. However, leftist Supreme Court justices and federal judges can destroy the America and Constitution that our Founding Fathers established. Presidents only serve four years, but these justices and judges will serve for years to come. If you do not vote, or vote for Hillary Clinton, you are voting for the left to take over America. And, how many of us have said things we wish we could take back.
The real Matthews
I was greatly saddened to read the article you wrote about Larry Matthews, who was killed by a deputy last week. Tuesday’s article with the headline: “Man who was killed had lengthy criminal past,” reduced a human being with commitments, cares and struggles of his own to just his faults, none of which were very grave.
I was privileged to attend the vigil held in his honor, hosted by our local branch of the NAACP, and neighbors came forward to paint a more complete picture of Matthews and explain that though he didn’t have much, he was generous with what he had. He became known on his block as the “man who can change your tire” after he helped change an elderly woman’s tire that enabled her to remove her car from her front yard and not get fined by the city. He also helped this same neighbor remove snakes from her yard, though he was careful not to kill the snakes and complete about $300 worth of yard work for free. With how polarized our nation is right now — politically and racially — please do your part to inspire empathy, not condemnation, in your stories.
Lost Keys festival
On Saturday, Oct. 8, I attended the second annual Lost Keys Literary Festival (so named in honor of Macon poet Seaborn Jones). Readings, panels and workshops by incredibly talented and creative published writers (many of them local) were held at the Ampersand Artist Guild and The Cannonball House.
Kudos to Danielle Grisamore, Ashley Williams and their enthusiastic volunteers. Your event appealed to a variety of ages with your Concrete Jungle of artistic events for the younger set and your selection of top notch presenters (writers, poets, playwrights, publishers) for high schoolers through adults. You had an excellent event, and I look forward to attending next year.
If you could not attend this year’s event, put it on your calendar for next year. You won’t regret it.
Colleen Mahaney, Lizella