The public must differentiate between bad police officers and good ones – The Virginian-Pilot

Second Amendment

Re “Virginia reacts to Tyre Nichols video release: ‘We need reform and systemic change’” (Jan. 28): After watching the video released by the Memphis Police Department of the attack on Tyre Nichols, it appeared he was attacked by a gang of hoodlums. Those men do not have the right to be called “police officers.” No police officer I know would ever do what those men did.

Anyone with hoodlum tendencies should never be hired as a police officer. A properly run police department screens applicants very thoroughly to prevent those with unfit attitudes from getting into the department.

Citizens who would protest in the streets need to differentiate true police officers from hoodlums who, somehow, get hired by some less discriminating agencies. True police officers will protect your rights, and when an arrest is necessary, use proper techniques they are trained to use without injuring the arrestee.

News reports emphasize that Nichols is Black. Yes, that’s true, but each of his accused attackers were also Black. So, continuing to emphasize that the police attacked a “Black” man is unfair to the many police who are not racially prejudiced. Those who protest against police in general act without giving it much thought are wrong when they protest without separating the “hoodlums” from the “good guys.”

The police who are properly screened, trained and supervised are the heroes who you know will risk their own lives to save yours. They don’t deserve to be attacked or smeared with the same repulsiveness as those Memphis hoodlums. They’re us, your neighbors, community members who we hire to protect us all.

Henry P. Henson, retired chief of police for the Norfolk Police Department, Norfolk

Re “Our American carnage” (Our Views, Jan. 25): The editorial was a powerful statement showing the death toll in our society resulting from our having the gun as a symbol of personal independence. Instead it really reflects our ignorance of the meaning of the Second Amendment and the reasons it was written in 1791.

This addiction to guns is evidence of our unrestrained selfishness. Sensible gun control will likely never occur; Congress has been blinded by the belief that while “going along” they will not lose reelection votes or National Rifle Association endorsements. Instead, they are failing us all.

Tom O’Brien, Duck, North Carolina

Re “Man found dead in yard,” “Man shot, killed,” and “Virginia House Republicans vote down measures on gun control” (Jan. 28): On Jan. 28, there were two briefs written about local deaths attributed to guns. The stories are short, but because it’s an everyday occurrence, it’s barely news.

In the article mentioned above, Republicans in the Virginia House, in coordination with National Rifle Association representatives, voted down every attempt by Democrats to add restrictions on firearms, including tightening gun storage requirements, which would help ensure guns are not accessible to children.

In the same edition of The Virginian-Pilot, “Bill seeks to red flag certain school books,” Republicans advance a bill that would supposedly empower parents to control their children’s reading material.

How can anyone not see the craziness that exists in Virginia’s Republican Party?

Elizabeth Ray, Norfolk



The week’s top opinion content and an opportunity to participate in a weekly question on a topic that affects our region.

Guns and violence have been a growing issue in Hampton Roads. Especially in schools, what happened to this Newport News teacher is horrific, and it’s only a matter of time before something like this happens again. What can communities do to help better educate children and adults? Gun safety should be taught at home and in schools, and with the purchase of a firearm.

This situation could have been so much worse, and schools need to do screenings and background checks to see if parents have a registered firearm in the home, and a form needs to be signed to ensure the gun is out of reach and hidden from their children.

Do better protocols need to be created to respond to a situation like this? What kind of protocols can be put in place for a 6-year-old active shooter? In a recent Washington Post article titled “Va. lawmakers gingerly take up issue of 6-year-old with a gun,” Del. Marcia S. “Cia” Price, D-Newport News, said, “When you talk about gun violence and you talk about Hampton Roads and some of the things the schools are going through, they (Gov. Glenn Youngkin and other Republicans) shy away from the conversation because then they would actually have to talk about the guns, and that’s not fodder for their base.” A very true statement; gun violence has been an issue for years, and there has yet to be an intervention.

Damonee Saunders, Suffolk

Re “MacArthur Center in downtown Norfolk officially is for sale” (Jan. 27): So MacArthur Center mall is up for sale. How about letting the Pamunkey Indian Tribe buy the property and repurpose the complex into the Norfolk casino instead of the property next to the Norfolk Tides stadium?

Problem solved. Easy, peasy.

John Kurec, Williamsburg

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