Showdown on I-95 is a reminder of what good policing is
The peaceful resolution of the potentially explosive incident that occurred in Wakefield on Saturday was a clear victory for policing (“Hours-long highway standoff ends peacefully: 11 arrested after group with weapons stockpile said they were going for training,” Page A1, July 4). Colonel Christopher Mason and the Massachusetts State Police and their regional partners acquitted themselves in a manner reflecting the highest ideals of professional law enforcement: preparation, skill, teamwork, and perhaps most important, restraint.
Amid the crescendo of criticism that has befallen the American police service over the last few years, the incident last weekend on Interstate 95 is a reminder of what good policing is, and that most police officers are dedicated, courageous, and committed to their jobs. It is imperative that the police reform movement ensure that these officers are supported, that they are provided with quality training and competent leadership, and that they are recognized and valued for the crucial job that they do.
Massachusetts Association for Professional Law Enforcement
Our state’s gun laws are there to protect us, thankfully
A visiting assistant professor at Kenyon College, quoted in Sunday’s front-page article, says, “I’ve sure seen a lot of people on the news, dressed in military uniforms with weapons, talking about citizenship, and I don’t see a lot of those people getting arrested . . . but these guys are immediately locked up.”
I don’t think he has seen these groups in Massachusetts. In Michigan, where gun laws allow open-carry, there were any number of unstable-looking men who walked into their State House, with long guns slung, and threatened lawmakers, employees, and visitors just by their presence. This should not be allowed anywhere. There have been many outrageous cases in the news this past year that are examples of states’ laws being too lenient on gun possession and use. However, we cannot become complacent to these acts.
After years of grass-roots efforts by residents and organizations in Massachusetts, the Legislature has implemented good and sensible gun laws. I am thankful for that, and for the exemplary behavior of the police in handling a potentially terrible situation in Wakefield last weekend.
I’m glad that the mother of the leader of this Rhode Island-based group, Rise of the Moors, said her son has “no ill will in his heart” (“I-95 standoff, arrests stun suspect’s kin,” Page A1, July 5). I understand that men of color feel vulnerable in many situations in our society, but even if a “sovereign citizens” group doesn’t want to follow any of our laws, its members must acknowledge that they put themselves and others in high-risk situations. You cannot carry long guns, possess high-capacity magazines and numerous handguns, and wear body armor and not be looked at with suspicion.
Not surprised to learn group leader had military background
When I first read about the group of heavily armed men being arrested in Wakefield, my first thought is that they must have had a military background. Sure enough, the leader served for years in the Marines. I was also unsurprised that so many people involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the US Capitol had military backgrounds. Although I am not a social scientist, my observation is that if you train people to fight in wars, there might be problems when they return from their service. While stationed in the military, men and women have a noble and valiant purpose: protecting the United States from terrorism, violent extremists, and other threats. It gives them a sense of belonging and being part of something greater than themselves.
However, when service members come home, they often go back to old jobs and old problems — sometimes exciting, but often not — as well as relationships that may have frayed over time.
My suggestion: more emotional support for returning troops as well as more societal awareness of the problem. Otherwise, we may all suffer the consequences.
He’s not buying the noncitizen argument
Carolyn Essex, a follower on the Facebook page of the Rise of the Moors, says that essential to the movement is the belief that “Black people are not really citizens of the United States” (“Wakefield suspect worked at R.I. farm,” Metro, July 6). Come now! Does Jamhal Latimer, who calls himself Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey, live in the United States? Does he drive its roads and cross its bridges? Does he work in its economic system? Does he shop at its markets and eat its food? Does he enjoy the freedom to say what he wants and the privilege of going wherever he pleases? If Latimer doesn’t welcome citizenship, then he must abandon these rights and leave.
Weary of racism, she can understand group’s motivations
I propose that the standoff on Saturday ended peacefully not just because the police remained calm but also because the members of the Rise of the Moors stayed calm.
Consider the difference in the charges and bail between members of this group and the blatant domestic terrorists who stormed our Capitol. The members of the Rise of the Moors probably got sick of the racism they face every day in this country and decided to form a group for themselves.
I don’t think these men were planning a war on the United States. They were planning a war on racism. I’m old, I’m white, and I’m tired of racism, whether it is subtle or obvious. I’m just tired of it.
The law wins
Any time I see mention of any of the “Your laws don’t apply to us” groups based on some obscure philosophy of sovereign citizenry, I immediately recall the chorus of an oft-recorded song: “I fought the law and the law won.”