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The Public Pulse: Sentence for rapist is troubling; Need for leadership against COVID

The Public Pulse: Sentence for rapist is troubling; Need for leadership against COVID

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This is punishment?

Well, here we go again. As per the front page of the Aug. 20 Omaha World-Herald, a Lyft driver who raped an intoxicated passenger in his vehicle not only was given a minimal sentence of 10-12 years in prison, but under state law most sentences are automatically cut in half. So, he would only serve a term of five years before he would be eligible for parole or six years if he wasn’t paroled. This was a case where DNA testing overwhelmingly connected this assailant to this violent crime.

Would someone please explain to me the legal logic of automatic reduced sentencing per state law especially in cases of violent crimes? The assailant could/should have received a sentence of up to 50 years in prison. This victim will never be the same after this assault. Where is the real justice for the victim in this case?

The Omaha World-Herald has previously reported a number of cases where the sentencing was automatically reduce for other violent crimes. The criminals win again.

Daniel Zack, Omaha

Show leadership

When will governing bodies admit they are doing nothing to end the COVID spread when they issue mask proclamations of “not required but recommended”? This abdication of responsibility begins in our Governor’s Office, is seen in many local board of education policies and now is part of the official policy for the free City of Omaha Celebrates America concert.

Do our elected leaders truly believe that recommending mask use but not requiring such has any effect on the health behaviors of the people they represent?

This recommendation is proclaimed simply to give each and every politician a plausible deniability of their role in the continued spread of the COVID virus. Do they honestly believe they can wash their hands of this and tell people they did everything they could to stop this pandemic? They hide behind “we recommended” all Nebraskans do the right thing, but the people did not follow our recommendations.

I teach in the Millard Public schools, and only 6% of the students in my classroom are following the Board of Education’s “recommendation” to wear a mask. Maybe it would be helpful if all of our politicians changed their position from “recommending” a mask to “really, really recommending wearing a mask.”

Dennis Gehringer, Omaha

Protect these seniors

Once again Pete Ricketts tries to down play the importance of trying to keep the highly contagious delta COVID-19 virus under control in the state of Nebraska. He is now endangering the lives of our senior citizens who live in nursing homes by stating that employees who take care of those senior citizens should not be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine. What the governor does not understand is that senior citizens in nursing homes are some of the most vulnerable in catching the COVID-19 virus because of their weakened immune systems.

It is not about the employees’ rights in deciding to get vaccinated. It is about their rights of protecting themselves and the people they take care of.

Same holds true for all hospital employees who take care of those with weakened immune systems.

Steve Exon, Bellevue

Race, history

I was stunned by community columnist Weysan Dun’s embrace of nearly every “lost cause” trope regarding slavery (Aug. 13 column). Especially galling is his assertion that America did not invent slavery. While true, he ignores the parallel contextual truth that slavery was enthusiastically embraced by the our nation from its inception, and became the economic foundation for much of our emerging economy. Another trope trumpeted by the lost causers is that since many Blacks were sold into slavery by other Blacks, that act mitigates White responsibility in some esoteric way.

Two final points that Dun either ignores or completely mistakes. America was the last major democracy to end slavery, and only did so after a horrific Civil War. Dun, however, completely misstates the intentionally of Lincoln’s response to Southern rebellion. The Union army initially fought to suppress the above rebellion, not to emancipate slaves. Only after Gettysburg was emancipation put forward as a war aim. I suggest Dun read esteemed Princeton University historian James McPherson on this topic. This is not to deny that the consequence of Union victory was emancipation, but McPherson asserts that only 20% of Union soldiers were truly abolitionists and most fought to reunite the nation.

Racial literacy must rest on facts with appropriate context. If Dun cannot see that generational slavery profoundly impacts many Blacks to this day, then my comments will fall on deaf ears.

James McCarthy, Omaha

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