Friday, November 03, 2017 1:00 am
Balloons poor symbol for victim tributes
In no way am I disparaging the heroic work of Fort Wayne Police's Victim Assistance. I take issue, however, with an event they annually hold to commemorate Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The balloon release is an occasion to support victims and survivors, but it is also a show of mass littering and danger to wildlife.
I have never understood why people don't support throwing trash on the ground, but somehow if it is colorful and goes up in the air for a brief time, it is a cause for celebration. Latex balloons have been shown to take between four months and several years to decompose, can travel more than 1,000 miles to the ocean to choke sea turtles and contribute to “trash islands,” and can harm livestock and wildlife locally.
I believe supporters of victims of violence would not willingly support the negative effects of balloons if they were presented with these facts, and that it's not a proper way to honor those who have been touched by violence. There are so many other ways to symbolically show respect to the cause without harming the environment and animals: blowing bubbles, floating flowers, flying streamers or kites, lighting candles, blowing pinwheels, drumming, singing, etc. I urge the discontinuance of this and other such balloon releases.
JEERS to The Journal Gazette. On Oct. 17, I was quite surprised to see the obituaries printed in the Living section of the paper. That is just not right!
Body-search charges a familiar narrative
The article in The Journal Gazette on Oct. 11 with the headline “Woman sues police officer over search” left me hoping I had completely misunderstood the events reported.
In May, a woman who works as a probation officer for Allen County went to CVS with her baby in her car and saw her cousin in the back of a police car. Her cousin asked her to contact his family. After this, the woman was bent over the police car for about 15 minutes and handcuffed. She was cavity searched by a female officer in the presence of three male officers, then she was cavity searched again in the back of the police car.
I ask myself whether all women in Fort Wayne should be terrified of coming to the attention of our police in case they end up being treated in this way. There might be instances in which such a humiliating and physically invasive procedure is seen as necessary, but I question whether this is one. And to have this procedure carried out in such a public way, in my opinion, can never be seen as necessary. It can only be terrifying and traumatic.
In general, I have great respect for the police officers who keep our community safe, often risking their lives and dealing with many high-stress situations. But I cannot accept that a woman in our community was treated this way. The fact that the woman is African-American makes me wonder even more: In a time that inequality between the races is creating greater rifts in our country, I begin, to my sorrow, not only to conceive more clearly of the challenges faced by African-American men in our society, but also to understand the particular fears that can be experienced by African-American women.