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Sunday's Letters to the Editor

Sheriff must act

EDITOR: District Jill Attorney Ravitch concluded that the facts supported the perception of Deputy Erick Gelhaus that a 5-foot-2 13-year-old walking in a field with a perceived weapon represented an imminent threat to his life. Gelhaus fired eight shots within seconds of perceiving this threat, resulting in Andy Lopez’s death. This is how Gelhaus responded, despite his many years of experience as a deputy and in the military.

The incident didn’t occur at a school or a crowded public place with potential danger to others. The perceived danger was to this experienced deputy outfitted in body armor.

Accepting Ravitch’s conclusion, one wonders about the state of mind that formed this perception. Questions concerning Gelhaus’ mental state and fitness for duty arise. I would urge Sheriff Steve Freitas to show leadership and address the issue.

This level of response seems far from appropriate, and although apparently not criminal, I believe that Freitas could send a strong message to the community by dismissing Gelhaus, demonstrating that his actions aren’t indicative of what generally is a fine group of officers.

Strong leadership was shown by the Board of Supervisors in creating the task force on gun violence, and the sheriff needs to lead by condemning the actions of this deputy in a consequential way.


Santa Rosa

Young migrants

EDITOR: I read that President Barack Obama wants an appropriation of $3.7 billion for assistance to the migrants. Do we really need to spend that amount of money?

I am sure that there are many recently closed military bases that could be rendered useful. The Army could deploy a battalion to assist these migrants while they await processing for proper deportation. We already pay these members of the armed forces, so the only cost would be feeding and housing, which would be markedly less the $3.7 billion.

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