Reading Gene Scothorn’s letter in the Nov. 26 Press-Banner (“A farce of an argument”), I was alarmed at the contempt he displayed toward Heather West in his response to her commentary (“Sheriff should rethink priorities,” Nov. 19) concerning an apparent approach and arrest of a person imbibing in public.
His initial argument is fair enough: A police officer's job is to enforce the law, not “enact laws” or “sit in judgment of offenders.” Being a police officer is a tough job, and even if we take Ms. West's humanist point of view and wonder why the sheriff approached an individual who was not causing a disturbance, we could speculate that the officer knows the individual and knows that after a few of these "cocktails," this person gets abusive or even hostile. It is a police officer's job to enforce our laws, plain and simple. Mr. Scothorn has a good point and should have stopped there.
My concern is with the tone and method in which he continues to attack Ms. West. Mr. Scothorn distorts Ms West's position by supposing she would support his own nonsensical assertions: "(Drinking alcohol from a paper cup) is, I suppose, a step up from brown paper bags — which (Ms. West) would probably reject as environmentally unacceptable." He berates her for using "liberal logic" and generally attempts to belittle and mock Ms. West for writing her letter. It is as if Mr. Scothorn feels Ms. West has no right to have her opinion, let alone express it, as he closes with, "the only thing more farcical than Ms. West's commentary is the Press-Banner's decision to print it." This acrimonious attitude is the bane of our democracy.
Obviously, Mr. Scothorn feels he has a right to his opinion, and I agree; however, I too have an opinion, and I think Mr. Scothorn was, at best, very disrespectful toward Ms. West. To me, Mr. Scothorn, your priggish diatribe only marginalizes your stand, and I must say, your world view, as expressed in your letter, is incredibly narrow and somewhat underdeveloped.
Tom Johnson, Scotts Valley