D.C. developments troubling for family

I am not at all surprised. Are you?

More and more I am disappointed in what I read by hate-filled folks who embrace every conspiracy plot they are exposed to.

I watched, with tears in my eyes, as my Korean wife watched the disaster at the Capitol, not understanding exactly what she was seeing. She has always been impressed by the freedom of speech in America. I wonder what her feelings are now as she watched the law-breaking abuse she witnessed on Wednesday.

Where is my America? Where are the traditions and the beauty of a nation of laws? Why has it so quickly become a nation divided and hate filled?

I pray every night for my family, the country, and even the president for some sense of honor.

I am afraid of what will happen to my family. My stepdaughter applied for an immigration visa in 2015 and we are still waiting. She has been approved but the president has stopped all immigration visas, so we continue to wait, even though we followed all the rules. The rules keep changing, unless you have the means to circumvent them (Melania’s parents are here). I can’t help but be bitter.

Come on America. We are better than this. Together, we can make America even better than it ever was.

William Blanton

Eau Claire

Trump invited mob bent on disruption

The highest calling in journalism, especially for an editorial writer, is to speak truth to power. But a day after Trump’s attempted coup, a Leader-Telegram editorial offered only damage control.

Faced with this unprecedented attack on democracy, the editorial called for rounding up the usual suspects. And to help us understand who these unnamed “rioters” might be, the writer harkened back to last summer’s Black Lives Matter marches when people “went from being peaceful protesters ... to rioters when they decided to burn buildings.”

Not content with finding equivalents, the writer exonerated those in the D.C. mob who didn’t actually break into the Capitol rotunda. “It is important to recognize that there were people at Wednesday’s protests who never took that step.”

Good people on both sides, I assume. Perhaps they should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Let’s be clear. The mob was bent on disrupting the transfer of power and they came at the invitation of President Donald J. Trump. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump tweeted weeks earlier. “Be there, will be wild.” Trump chose the date when Congress would certify results of the presidential election. For months he lied to followers that the election had been stolen. On the day of the “protest,” he exhorted the mob: “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore” and set them charging down Pennsylvania Avenue. Then he returned to the White House to wait.

As Mitt Romney said, “What happened here today was an insurrection incited by the President of the United States.” That’s how you speak truth to power — whether you’re a senator or a journalist.

John Hildebrand

Eau Claire

State legislators among those accountable

I hold three of our state representatives personally responsible for the attack on the national Capitol on Wednesday.

Ron Johnson, Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald have been party to this horrifying and embarrassing event because they have not only refused to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his self-centered and dangerous behavior, but because they were party to the effort to disable the certification of a fair, legal and valid presidential election.

I expect better of our elected officials.

Steve Betchkal

Eau Claire

Drastic steps need to be taken

Invoke the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.

Relieve Donald Trump of all presidential responsibilities now through the end of this presidency.

Allow Vice President Mike Pence to ensure and facilitate a peaceful transition of presidential power now through the Jan. 20 inauguration.

Remove Trump to a neutral location ASAP so the White House is available for the transition.

Require a media blackout of all Trump communications and lock his Twitter account through the end of this presidency. Pence will hold responsibility to relay communications from Trump if they are appropriate.

There should be no question that encouraging violence to bypass constitutional transition of the presidency is not acceptable. There are enough Democrats and Republicans willing to pass this legislation that there is no reason to set up a commission. Pass the act and allow Pence to sign it and invoke it. It is time to end the chaos from this White House.

John Hempstead

La Crosse

Mental illness a challenging concern

People with untreated mental illness are 16 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement, according to a new study released by the Treatment Advocacy Center. It happened here in Eau Claire on Nov. 22 when 37-year-old Randy LaCoursiere was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy and a State Patrol officer. The details reported in the Leader-Telegram indicated that LaCoursiere was experiencing a severe mental health crisis.

For police, encounters with mentally ill people can be especially challenging because their behavior is often threatening and unpredictable. They can be in a state of psychosis, making it impossible for them to obey regular police commands.

Encounters can be dangerous because, in many cases, the mentally ill person is armed with a gun or knife. LaCoursiere had a knife. So, is the only option shoot to kill? The research indicates there are other options, primarily training that teaches officers to de-escalate tense situations, slowing down interactions with people in crisis, speaking in a calm voice and taking cover so they can safely take whatever time is needed to bring the person safely into custody.

Tragically, Randy LaCoursiere’s life was cut short. Will the Sheriff’s Department and the State Patrol review the actions leading to the fatal shooting, then provide additional training to avoid future killings of mentally ill people in crisis? Law enforcement can and must improve their interactions with mentally ill people, just as we citizens must advocate for better and more affordable mental health services in our communities.

Eleanor Wolf

Eau Claire