Praise be to Hancock
It was a pleasure to read your coverage of Jerry Hancock and his work ("Holy Redeemer," 1/2/09). There are more good people in this world than one might think, but the chance to publicly brag about one of them is rare. Jerry Hancock is one of those good people, doing good work, and caring about the human condition. Thank you for celebrating him.
As for your headline, Hancock doesn't help them "one criminal at a time," but one person at a time. It is the Wisconsin legislative attitude, punitive and avidly followed, that makes anyone who breaks the law a criminal forever. Jerry Hancock works in the penal vineyard to counter that passion to punish. He is a gem.
I appreciated former-police-chief-turned-pastor David Couper's column on police education ("Our Cops Need Reform - Again," 1/16/09). I wish he would address the question of police weaponry. When is it appropriate for the police to carry a lethal weapon? Should his or her everyday uniform include a firearm, and why?
When I attend a city council meeting or a court hearing, I find that police and sheriff's deputies all carry a gun, usually a holstered pistol or automatic.
I see no need for such threat of police power in such circumstances. Why does a police presence in a school require that children be exposed to such weapons?
Couper says he tried to lessen the military image of the police uniform. Wouldn't restricting the wearing of a sidearm go a long way to lessening the image of the police as paramilitary?
Daniel J. Guilfoil
Jazz it up
Regarding your article "Whither Jazz" (1/16/09), the lack of support for jazz (and other music) has little to do with dislike for or indifference to the music.
It seems universally accepted that the ideal venue for live music is the adult drinking establishment. Audiences are usually of two types: People who just want to party and may be annoyed at the extra cost of what they see as unnecessary music; and people who are music lovers and are annoyed at the high cost of the drinks.
These venues don't meet the needs of other people, especially families with young children. By the time a couple pay for drinks, cover charge and sitter, the outing becomes unaffordable, especially in this economy. We need more live music in neighborhood community centers and other areas, where kids can play and adults can wander around while listening to music.
Jazz and other live music favored by older adults will be best served by taking out some of the drinking, driving, parking, childcare and cost necessary to patronize it.