Letters to the Editor

Jack Wagstaff: Murder defined

In response to July 17 letter “Uniform treatment” regarding the July 14 news article “Senators want tougher penalties for attacks on police”: By referring to the police shooting of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile as “murders,” the letter writer is effectively doing what he opposes by rushing to judgment and assuming malfeasance based on his perception as a nonexpert.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “murder” as “the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.” The writer compared the aforementioned shootings to Dallas as if they are equal killings when they are, in fact, not.

Evidence classified the killing of five Dallas police officers as murder while the writer, among others, has labeled the killing of Sterling and Castile as murder based on mere perception before all the facts are known.

Just as police need implicit bias training to avert the consequences of assigning labels to black Americans based on perception, perhaps the public needs training in law enforcement use-of-force and procedural due process if we wish to avoid the consequences of inflammatory rhetoric – the senseless murder of five Dallas police officers – precipitated by perception.

Jack Wagstaff

Durham

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