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Impact of protests on all of us

A makeshift memorial for George Floyd in Carl

A makeshift memorial for George Floyd in Carl Schurz Park next to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's residence at Gracie Mansion on June 3. Credit: Charles Eckert

Powerful words were heard from George Floyd’s brother Terrence [“Thousands rally at NYC memorial to Floyd,” News, June 5]. It is times like these, when things start looking hopeless, that we see the best and worst in people. Looters, arsonists and rioters, be damned. The good people will win out. People are standing together for meaningful change in this country. It does not mean our country is weak. On the contrary, it is what makes our country even greater.

Wanting change, wanting fairness for all, wanting for more people to have access to the American dream does not mean you do not love this country. America’s greatness is measured not only in its military might or in its number of billionaires and millionaires, but in its ideal that the poorest among us are afforded the same basic human rights, liberties and pursuit of happiness as the wealthiest. It may not be an attainable ideal, but it sure is one worth fighting for. Clearly, our Founding Fathers thought so.

James Leykis,


As a retired police officer, I feel for today’s officers, based on recent events. This is how I now see police performing their duties. If an officer comes upon a subject and has reasonable cause to believe he committed a crime, the officer would first need to make a choice. Will this person comply? If not, the officer has two choices: Let him go or, if the officer were to proceed, inquire about any medical conditions. If the subject admitted to a medical condition, the officer would summon emergency medical services personnel for an evaluation. If the subject’s medical condition was poor and he was not compliant, the officer would let him go back into the neighborhood. If his health was satisfactory, the officer would request a supervisor for direction and advice on how to proceed — to protect the subject and himself. A supervisor might not want to make a decision, based on the circumstances and tactics the situation may require. That supervisor would then request a duty captain. No police department could withstand this amount of time needed for decision-making for all arrests. But police officers now need to consider this for each arrest because of potential liability.

John Fallon,

Kings Park

Is this our country? Yes, it is. And do you know whose country it is? It’s the middle class that has worked hard, raised families, paid taxes, obeyed laws and not taken any of the many available government handouts. Yes, it is the vast majority of citizens who realize America is special and want to preserve and embellish it for generations to come. That’s who owns it.

To me, for Newsday’s editorial board to criticize President Donald Trump for trying to protect what we have built, is simply outrageous [“Don’t turn nation into war zone,” Editorial, June 5]. We need protection from looters and anarchists if we are to remain a civil society. Please put petty politics aside. Remember: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Kenneth P. Lebeck,


When neo-Nazis and white supremacists descended upon Charlottesville, Va., the president let it be known that there “were very fine people, on both sides.” During the protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd, President Donald Trump referred to the crowds as “thugs” and then singled out far-left groups as responsible for much of the ensuing violence [“Trump lays violence on ‘antifa,’” News, June 1]. Am I confused, or are there no “very fine” people on either side this time?

Sam Reinkarp,


Many horrendous events have occurred since the death of George Floyd. But one has filled me with the utmost shock — the firing of rubber bullets and tear gas on peaceful pickets. President Donald Trump wanted the publicity of holding a Bible in front of a church, even though he was not invited and the Bible was held upside down. This is reminiscent of the early actions by the Nazis in Germany. So much for freedom of assembly. So much for democracy.

Norman Shainmark,


Recently, celebrities have made statements about “white privilege” and the phrase “all lives matter.” Isn’t racism prejudging someone by the color of their skin? Does being white automatically mean one is privileged? How can you tell from one’s skin color how hard the person has worked in life, what obstacles were overcome? In a recent discussion, I was berated for stating “all lives matter.” I was told that statement is racist and I’m diminishing the Black Lives Matter movement, that I’m downplaying racism and trying to put the focus back on the white race. I was befuddled. I was raised to treat others as I want to be treated, to love thy neighbor and to forgive my enemies. Saying “all lives matter” and believing all lives matter doesn’t take away anything from any other demographic. It’s not a comeback, it’s an agreement. Yes, black lives do matter. We all matter — black, white, male, female, police, civilian — and should be treating each other as such.

Jennifer Saul,


Nassau Legis. Steve Rhoads (R-Bellmore) labeled demonstrators, peacefully walking through his district, as posing a “crisis” [“Hundreds gather for marches on LI,” News, June 7]. Rhoads was flat-out wrong and therefore unhelpful and provocative. We live right near the Merrick Long Island Rail Road station and witnessed two peaceful marches. My husband, Fred, bicycled along Merrick Road from Merrick to Bellmore June 3 following the long line of paraders and saw not one act by demonstrators or police that could be described as creating a “crisis.” It is disappointing that Rhoads would say that. Maybe he should “take a knee.”

Marjorie Harrison,


Everyone agrees that a terrible injustice was done to George Floyd, but it’s time to stop calling these protests “marches.” What they should be called is civil war battles, because I believe there are those who want to overthrow our government. At this writing, I see the current governments as losing the battles.

Russell LaKusta,

Port Jefferson Station