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Safety, protection of all should be law's priority

Posted: Thursday, April 08, 2004

I recently wrote an editorial concerning my view on the "law" around here and was happy to receive so many positive responses! First, I never expected that so many people feel the same as I do. If you didn't get a chance to read it, I was writing about violence against my family and my concerns with the men and women who are here to "Protect the Last Frontier," who are also part of Department of Public Safety, the Alaska State Troopers, the police department and finally the court are focusing on. On the home page for the Kenai Police Department, there are these statements: "The department stresses training and education of its officers in order to remain responsive to community needs," "Our mission, together with the community of Kenai, is to make our city a place where all people live safely and without fear" and "Core Values: Empathy and compassion for others."

With these statements being said, why is it that there are so many women living in fear here in Kenai-Soldotna? Why are these men who abuse allowed to do so. Why are calls for help treated so lightly? When a woman finally gets to the point to call, it's already gone too far. Most women you talk to who live in fear have taken the abuse for years or months and finally decided she needed out. The problem is these men are slapped on the hand and given a "restraining order" and light jail sentences. Then they are free to abuse again. Men who abuse will not just stop because someone tells them they shouldn't do it. They will find another woman who they can control and do it again. These women get raped, beat, mentally abused and finally killed.

If you go to the Women's Resource and Crisis Center, you can find many proven statistics of men who abuse. It's such a proven fact; why are they allowed to be living in the community? Why are the men and women who are here to "protect" us not doing a better job? Estimates from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) indicate that over 1,000,000 instances of violent crime against persons were committed by current or former spouses, girlfriends or boyfriends in the United States in 1998; at least 791,210 such crimes were committed in 1999.

Meanwhile, there are many people living close to poverty level, who can't afford food, rent and driving cars that they pray get them where they need to go. They are good people out to make the world a better place. These people have no violent history, work low paying jobs and most have young children at home to support, trying their best to love life and the people around them. Get pulled over in a "routine traffic stop," they find out they have no insurance and no matter what the circumstances are could get their vehicle towed and a hefty fine, then a short time period in which to get insurance. The officer says because its "their job," they have no choice in which to issue these penalties. The fines and money forced to pay set us farther back more in debt, trouble getting to work, less food, more stress.

Wouldn't it be in the best interest of the public if the law enforcement and the court system spent more time and money on the safety of the people? Getting the violence off the streets, enabling the kind loving people among us to have a good life? How many of us are there? There are a lot more kind people around than those who are out just to cause pain. Isn't it about time we stood up and said something about it?

People around here are beginning to live in fear, this is not the town it used to be. How many people actually look you in the eye and smile? How many times do you walk by a stranger and they ask you how your day is going or say 'hi'? Try it, next time you're in the grocery store look around at the people and try to make eye contact and smile, see how many you get back. Although the percentage of us dropped, there are enough of us who love people to make a difference if we are allowed to do so. The law could quit spending so much money on wasteful issues and make sure to do their best in first getting rid of the violence, and we as the public should be willing to help.

People told me I had a lot of guts to write what I did, afraid that I might have trouble with the law after saying what I felt. My response was, I have nothing to hide and I have no fear of them. Frankly I still believe there are a few good men left! To those officers who hold up those good values, thank you! You are very appreciated. May God bless you in all you do! Ephesians 6:10-18

Nellie Parazoo

Kenai



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