Opinion: Letter to the Webster Town Supervisor
Submitted By Jean Ott
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Dear Mr. Thomas Flaherty,
I am writing in response to your column posted on the Town’s website on Oct. 7, 2020.
I object to the tone and racist language of this column. Referring to the protesters using language such as “gangland rules of force and intimidation” and “not sure how many actually live in Monroe Country” is racist. I am asking for you to step down from your position as Town Supervisor. I do not want you running the town government that represents me.
As a person of faith, "Black Lives Matter" is a moral, social justice, faith statement, and stance.
The First Amendment gives the protesters the right to protest where they want to. If residents of Sandra Doorley’s neighborhood were frightened, terrified, etc., then they now know what Black Americans have been living with for centuries in this country. I can imagine the Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. and their young children were frightened, terrorized, etc. when angry mobs of White men protested outside their home and when Molotov cocktails were thrown through their windows. I can imagine many Black families being frightened by burning crosses on their front lawns when they tried to move into better housing and better school districts (read WHITE areas). Never mind the families terrorized by the KKK, White Supremacists, and Nazis in this country. (I will not use the prefix, Neo, in front of Nazi.)
You wrote: “Bottom line… They were shaken up by this experience and wanted to know a) how this could happen in the first place, and b) how 'law and order' could prevent it from happening again.” I imagine that Black Americans, Indigenous peoples, and People of Color (BIPOC) has been asking that very same question since White people “discovered this continent” and decided it was theirs to do with as they pleased! Please learn more about the “Doctrine of Discovery.” Please read Lies My History Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen, then White Fragility by Robin DeAngelo, followed by How to be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi. Then tell me you are not a racist and that this country was not built on racism.
I have since learned that the three entrances to the neighborhood where Sandra Doorley and her family live were barricaded on Friday night, October 9, 2020. I assume that was done because of the protest at Hard and Ridge roads? My first question is: Who is paying the Webster police officers? My second question is: Why are so many people angry at Black people for simply asking for the same rights to live, work, go to school, etc. as everyone else in this country? Friday night’s protest was not sponsored by the same group that protested on October 2. Why does protesting that their rights are not being respected spur so much anger and vitriol? The protest on Friday night was attended by Webster residents. I was there! I live in Webster. Oh, and was the naked white guy that danced all over the four corners get caught and arrested? Did you even hear about that? He had a hood on his head to protect his identity, but his junk was in full view. He would stop for a few seconds and wag it about. I bet if he was arrested, he was treated better than Daniel Prude.
So glad I did not complete this letter before this afternoon’s protest. Are you proud of the way your police department, Monroe County Sheriff deputies, and NY State police officers swooped/stormed a peaceful protest? The statement that was issued by the Webster chief of police was inaccurate. They passed by a total of two times to ask protesters to stay on the sidewalk, not multiple times. One of the Webster police vehicles was on the sidewalk by the time it stopped. I am so glad I was not standing there at that time. This was an abuse of police power! It was timed to happen just as we were getting ready to leave. This was a peaceful protest that did not have to end this way. I will never trust a police officer again!
Jean Ott of Webster, New York
***This opinion piece was only edited for grammar, spelling, and format. The content, tone, organization, underlying message, etc. were not modified in any way.***