Colorado Editorial Roundup
The Denver Post, Dec. 25, on remembering the fallen in a deadly year for law enforcement:
Security guards perform an important and often overlooked role in our communities, quietly helping to keep the peace and protect us from harm. Their contributions — and the risks they face in their daily rounds — became all too clear recently with the death of Lucardio Kroener.
Kroener was on duty as a security guard in downtown Denver shortly before 2 a.m. Sept. 28 when he confronted a man who matched the description of a suspect in a shooting just minutes earlier in a neighboring block in LoDo. The victim in that shooting had been critically wounded. The suspect opened fire on Kroener, killing him.
Tellingly, it wasn’t the first time the 28-year-old Kroener had intervened in a moment of clear danger. Two weeks earlier, shortly after his shift had ended, he had helped police find and arrest a man suspected in a shooting on Market Street that had injured three people.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said Kroener was loved and highly regarded by downtown police officers, with whom he’d worked “hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder.” Kroener hoped to become a law enforcement officer or firefighter, his family and friends said.
Dozens of city officers gathered with Kroener’s loved ones earlier this month to honor the young man as a neighborhood hero. Family members said they plan to use $1,000 provided by the Daniels Fund to start a college savings account for Kroener’s three-year-old daughter.
“Luke Kroener twice took action in very dangerous situations with the goal of keeping people safe and helping Denver police arrest shooting suspects,” said Linda Childears, president and CEO of the Daniels Fund.
The suspect in Kroener’s death, 32-year-old Harrison Hall, was later taken into custody in Louisiana on unrelated charges. Investigators credited tips from Denver residents in the arrest.
“Luke is a true hero whose desire to help others was clearly demonstrated through his actions, and it’s heartbreaking for his loved ones and our community that his life was cut short,” Pazen said.
Kroener’s mother, Stephanie Davison, said her son’s commitment to helping others was evident in elementary school when he became the protector of a classmate who was being bullied. “He was always a crusader for the weak,” she said.
This past year has been especially difficult for Colorado’s law enforcement officers. On New Year’s Eve, Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish was killed and four others were wounded when they were ambushed while responding to a domestic disturbance call. Adams County Deputy Heath McDonald Gumm, El Paso County Deputy Micah Lee Flick and Las Animas County Sgt. Matthew Troy Moreno also lost their lives in the line of duty in the past year.
Those incidents, among others, are reminders of the risks that law enforcement officers face on our behalf and the sacrifices and worries their families endure each day so that they can serve. This holiday season, our communities express gratitude to the men and women in law enforcement and join with the family and friends of Luke Kroener — and the loved ones of other fallen officers — in mourning their loss. Their courage lives with us.
(Colorado Springs) The Gazette, Dec. 23, on spread #NotMe to oppose domestic violence:
The #MeToo movement has changed society.
It has diffused a longstanding stigma that traditionally prevented sexual abuse survivors from sharing their suffering and helping others cope with or avoid similar trauma. It has permitted society to talk about sexual abuse, which moves us in the direction of preventing it and helping survivors heal.
Society should start a similar trend and drag into the light the growing scourge of domestic violence, which harms and kills people daily. Stigma, fear, isolation and a variety of other factors keep domestic violence victims in darkness and away from the help and support they need to live free of their abusers.
It is time for a #NotMe social media movement that includes domestic violence victims and survivors, along with friends, colleagues, relatives and acquaintances of survivors who pledge to end the silence and eradicate the stigma.
Let us work throughout 2019 and beyond to help all people live with the peaceful knowledge they can be safe in their homes and safe around their loved ones.
The #NotMe campaign could and should begin right here in Colorado Springs, where a four-part series by The Gazette’s news department documents how the Springs metro area has among the worst domestic violence problems in Colorado.
As explained in Part 1 of the series, Colorado Springs police respond to between 34 and 40 domestic violence calls each day — about 5 percent of their calls for service. Denver, with a slightly larger population, responds to fewer domestic violence calls, which represent only 3 percent of that department’s requests for service.
Part 2 of the series documents how the metro area’s court system is one of the more difficult in which to obtain protective orders against abusers. Judges, prosecutors and court administrators need to change this problem immediately.
Other media have also taken note of society’s continued struggle with domestic violence, and the noticeable absence of anything like a #MeToo movement to ignite a sea change.
The New York Times published an Oct. 16 article titled “Domestic Violence Hasn’t Caught Up With #MeToo. Here’s Why”
Like The Gazette, the Times detailed complications that keep domestic violence a widespread living nightmare that festers in silence behind closed doors. The Times listed:
. Domestic violence victims often have serious safety concerns that keep them from sharing publicly.
. When survivors speak up, they face “heavy-duty stigma.”
. #MeToo has shown the strength of multiple accusations, but domestic violence victims usually speak up alone.
. Victims haven’t seen others hold domestic abusers accountable.
Neither sexual abuse nor domestic violence is simple to resolve. The #MeToo movement has not and will not end sexual abuse. The movement has, however, created a sustainable awareness that reduces the “heavy-duty stigma.” Victims no longer speak up alone, and society is working like never before to hold accusers accountable.
A #NotMe movement could and should achieve similar results for victims and survivors of domestic violence. At the very least, it would let them know they are not alone. It would likely have the additional benefit of reducing the “heavy-duty stigma,” creating a power-in-numbers atmosphere. Hopefully, this movement would motivate communities and law enforcement to make better efforts toward holding accusers accountable.
We hope one or more well-known, reputable victims or survivors of domestic violence reads The Gazette’s series and/or this editorial and starts a #NotMe movement that spreads like wildfire. Promote a simple message, on all social media platforms, that says we will no longer be silent and inactive about the longstanding epidemic of domestic violence. Begin by declaring “I won’t be silent,” or “I won’t take it,” with the simple message ”#NotMe.”
The Durango Herald, Dec. 21, on Colorado being greener with realistic expectations:
Earlier this month, Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility, a publicly traded company, said it would reduce carbon in its energy generation by 100 percent. It said it would achieve this lofty goal in the distant future: by 2050.
This is good news, although 32 years is a long time. We cannot help thinking that by 2050, we also will have colonized Mars and discovered a new source of energy, or at least have built much better batteries to store the old green sources like solar and wind.
Still, the important thing is that Xcel has a plan to do it and is moving incrementally in that direction.
This fall, Jared Polis won Colorado’s governorship with a platform that included a promise to move Colorado to a green grid — all non-carbon electricity generation — by 2040. This had great appeal for voters, especially the Democrats and independents who embrace the science and dire warnings surrounding climate change and expect politicians to do something about it.
Twenty-two years is also far in the future, of course, and would be 14 years beyond the time Polis likely could serve as governor. Yet if there are incremental steps he can get the state to take now, we are all for it.
Polis has been understandably vague on the details, but we imagine he will first have to work with the Legislature to devise a series of carrots and sticks, and encourage other utilities to fall in line with Xcel.
It should be obvious that there are hard obstacles to doing this tomorrow. We are going to need better battery storage to support wind and solar generation and probably better ways to sequester carbon. We are going to need more science and innovation, which can be hastened but not commanded.
Are we being too practical?
Yes, according to the recent U.N. and U.S. national estimate reports on what it will take to outrun some of the catastrophic effects of climate change.
Enter the New Green Deal, which has been touted by recently-elected Democrats in the U.S. House, most prominently by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist from New York (a state that currently gets most of its electricity from gas and nuclear power).
The deal is supposed to be a plan to generate all of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources within just 10 years. How will we do that?
No one knows. Ocasio-Cortez demanded that Congress establish a select committee to work out the details.
“The Green New Deal isn’t anything yet,” energy-industry lobbyist Frank Maisano told The Washington Post. “It doesn’t have any real specifics other than broad platitudes.”
It would be nice if Congress could just legislate a greener world, we think, although it might consider what just befell French President Emmanuel Macron when he taxed fuel to do that.
It would also be nice if Congress could just give us affordable housing that lets us walk to work in always pleasant weather.
The last time Democrats had a House majority, and a committee for a greener world, they succeeded in introducing recyclable cups in the House cafeteria. When Republicans regained the majority, they replaced them with Styrofoam to cut costs.
We may have to recognize that Congress might not be the best instrument for devising and implementing solutions to climate change, and trust our luck and markets. Turn out the lights when you’re not using them, eat a little less beef and think a little smaller and longer when it comes to the pace of change.