Letters to the Editor

This is Viewpoints for Sunday, April 26

Kudos to Meeks

I agree with Catherine Meeks in her recent column that racism is alive and well. Both Macon and Atlanta have majority black populations, and many of their residents are poor, unemployed and often poorly educated. Volunteering in my church’s food bank, I often see poor blacks and whites whom I would never see otherwise. Their estimated monthly incomes are often pitiful and obviously inadequate.

The racial strife in Ferguson, New York City and now Baltimore show that racism affects many of our citizens who are usually poor and jobless. Access to health care for many of our black Americans is infrequent except in emergency rooms. Drug abuse is too often common, and this promotes crime and poverty.

I find Dr. Meeks’ columns uplifting, informative and vital to improving racial relations and my understanding of what racism is and what we can do to defeat it in our everyday lives. To ignore racism is harmful to all of us and doesn’t solve anything.

-- Frank W.Gadbois

Warner Robins

Devil’s advocate

Now that the dust has settled on accolades heaped upon police officer Jesse Kidder for his not using deadly force against murder suspect Michael Wilcox, let me play devil’s advocate. Let’s recall that Kidder knew Wilcox was a suspect in a dual homicide, that Wilcox had announced a desire for death by cop suicide and told the officer he would kill him as he walked toward a fully loaded police handgun. The officer retreated from the suspect, even to the point of stumbling before backup arrived and Wilcox surrendered.

Suppose officer Kidder’s gun had fired when he lost his footing and an innocent bystander was struck. Suppose Wilcox had taken the handgun from the officer and emptied it into a carload of passing motorists after shooting him. Should a murder suspect ever be permitted to rush an arresting officer holding a handgun without expecting to be shot? Would I want such an officer standing between me and a madman?

It has been said that all is well that ends well, but I am not sure that is always true. Officer Kidder is a one-year veteran with the department and perhaps needs retraining and reassignment. I expect when news of his retreat reaches the streets of New Richmond, other suspects will challenge Kidder’s commands because they simply will not believe he will enforce them.

In resting my advocacy and standing down, let me conclude by saying I am glad Kidder is safe and with his family and that Wilcox is resting reasonably well in an Ohio jail.

-- John G. Kelley Jr.

Macon

It wouldn’t have mattered

I was pleased that Mr. Sandefur linked me with Ken Burns. Many agree that Gen. Lee overestimated the capabilities of his army and underestimated the resolve of the Union Army at Gettysburg. I think it was inappropriate for Mr. Sandefur to imply that if Gen. Lee had a heart attack or had his head blown off July 2, 1863, the outcome of the battle and the Civil War would have been different.

In Mr. Sandefur’s revisionist version of history, Lt. Gen. Longstreet would have assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia and would not have attacked on July 3, 1863. Instead he would have maneuvered his army around the Union Army’s left flank and positioned his army between the Army of the Potomac and Washington, D.C. Jim assumes that the Union Army would not have attacked the retreating Confederate Army. He assumes that the Army of Northern Virginia would find and establish a strong defensive position, that the Army of the Potomac would have been compelled to attack them, and that they would lose just like they did at Fredericksburg.

Jim did not mention that Maj. Gen. Grant captured Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. In early 1864 he was promoted to lieutenant general and took command of all of the Union armies. He located his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac to keep pressure on the Army of Northern Virginia. The end results would have been the same no matter who was its commander. He set in motion the strategy to capture Atlanta and the march to Savannah which resulted in the Confederacy being cut in half. No matter his shortcomings as president, he clearly demonstrated his abilities as a division commander, an army commander and as commander of all of the union’s armies. In victory he was magnanimous to the vanquished.

I agree that Longstreet was one of the best generals in the Civil War. Lee kept him as the commander of I Corps throughout the war. Whatever their reasons, some historians mistakenly blame Longstreet for the defeat at Gettysburg.

-- Jim Costello

Perry

The coroner responds

I just got through reading Charles McGhee’s letter printed April 13. I stay in the community talking to kids of all ages and all races. I consider myself a leader. I do not get involved in name calling, playing the race card or controversy. I talk about respect, hard work, character and manners -- yes, sir; no, sir; yes, ma’am; no, ma’am; pull your pants up; stay in school; stay out of jail and no bullying.

I have two jail uniforms, which I wear to show what happens when you make bad choices. So I ask Mr. McGhee not to use a broad brush to paint all elected officials. I love my community and will continue to do my part to help it progress in a positive direction.

-- Leon Jones

Bibb County coroner

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