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Are the ones quick to condemn police the ones speeding?

Leave it to some from the mass of faulty thinkers to immediately “shoot from the hip” and charge that Saturday’s fatal shooting of Spencer Carmen Mendez stemmed from racism.

The victim was 15 and Latino. We don’t even know the identity of the officer involved and yet the charges fly freely. But that’s irrelevant when there is a gun involved. We’re told Mendez had a gun and didn’t drop it. He may have aimed it. He may have fired a shot. Guns shoot the same way in the hands of a black person, white person or Latino person.

In a way this doesn’t surprise me that people side against the police. Our society likes to ignore the fact that bad behavior has or should have consequences. 

Let’s await the facts before we make judgments, folks.

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Lee Brandt got up last week at the City Council meeting to complain about a lot of traffic and speeders on his street, Hale Aloha Way. He said there are people who “fly” down Acorn Lane, Myrtlewood and Hale Aloha as a short cut to avoid Hatch and Whitmore. He talked about speed bumps and/or wanted stop signs or posting of a speed trailer. Lee talked about seeing one gentleman blow through a stop sign after slowing down to about 30 mph.

Len Shepherd then got up to complain about speeders on Fowler Road in front of Las Casitas Mobile Home Park. He said people who back out of driveways are endangered by people going faster than 25 mph.

I’m telling you that some people are driving insanely and don’t need to be on the road. The very next day I saw a woman blow through a red light – after she dodged the car stopping in front of her for that red light – and weaved to the left to drive through the vacant left turn lane. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

Hey folks, stop means stop. Yellow lights mean slow down, not speed up. Red means no go. It’s not hard. The law is designed for a reason.

Put down the phone, too.

Two days before this I was in front of a man driving down Fulkerth in Turlock. At a red light I could see him in my rearview mirror as he used his left hand to talk on a cell phone. The light turned green and we moved down the road. I changed lanes to the right to get over to make a right turn ahead and lo and below a Turlock Police motorcycle unit swooped in behind him and nailed him. Finally, a cop where you need him!

Ceres Police Chief was asked at the meeting when Ceres would be participating in a multi-agency traffic enforcement saturation. He noted that in a recent conversation, Modesto Police told him that they have only four traffic officers when they had previously 15. Ceres had four and now has one.

PDs in our area just don’t have enough police. Ask yourself why. You might learn how the cities are getting hammered by the cost of generous retirement pensions and you know what political party that is that’s allowed that to happen.

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Of all the issues council candidate Gene Yeakley was concerned about when he stood before the Aug. 13 Ceres City Council meeting was the “disgusting” condition of the cloth-covered chairs at the Community Center.

Interesting approach.

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Often a person who lives dangerously dies dangerously. 

Lonnie Ball, a case in point.

Last week Stanislaus County District Attorney Birgit Fladager released a report that concluded that three Modesto Police officers were justified in the fatal shooting of Lonnie Ball on April 10, 2016 on Lance Street.

I don’t like to speak ill of the dead but Ball was asking for it. His estranged wife called 911 in fear for her life. Ball was armed and cranked out on meth when he started kicking her door in. He eventually gave up and left. Police units intercepted him. He flipped off the officers and drove back to her house, exiting with a gun in hand and moving toward her front door once again. Ball ignored commands to drop the weapon. Officers David Wallace, Kalani Souza and Edgar Villalpando were justified in taking Ball out, the DA ruled last week.

David Wallace’s brother Dennis Wallace was fatally gunned down by David Machado at Fox Grove in 2016.

Her report cites that “The right of self-defense also extends to the right to defend someone else from deadly harm. The U.S. Supreme Court stated many years ago that it was unconstitutional to shoot all fleeing suspects, but in the 1985 Tennesse v. Garner case maintained: “Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where feasible, some warning has been given.”

Now we have yet another unfortunate shooting and yet another investigation – all because someone decided to do something stupid with a gun in hand.

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Now then we go to the case of Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Wall. You may know that Ball and other officers were trying to stop Modesto restaurant owner Evin Olsen Yadegar, 46. Yadegar had been in some sort of argument at a nearby hotel on Feb. 26, 2017 when police were called. Her car was spotted in Ripon where she would not pull over immediately. A slow-speed pursuit went down Main Street and S. Manley Road. The initial report of law enforcement was that Yadegar – who was co-owner of the Barkin’ Dog in downtown Modesto – was trying to back up into officers when Wall lifts his gun close to her window and fires. The dashcam from a Ripon Police Department cruiser shows that she backed up only slightly and that was slowly moving forward when Deputy Wall shot her at close range.

I’ve long been a supporter of law enforcement. But I’ve also said rogue officers who operate outside of procedure and protocol need to be flushed out and exposed.

Puzzling is how the Stanislaus Sworn Deputies Association came out publicly in support of Wall. SSDA President Randon Kirkbride wrote that Yadegar made “an intentional attempt to strike two officers with her vehicle within a second or two prior to any shot being discharged.”

When I saw the video, it appeared Yadegar was not trying to strike anyone. The deputies behind the car must not have thought about that because they didn’t fire at the driver. Wall was on the driver’s side and she was driving away onto Tornell Circle when he fired his gun four times.

Even more troubling is watching the aftermath of the fatal shooting. The mortally wounded Yadegar’s car pulls to the right and drifts leftward into Tornell Circle where Wall runs after it and is barking commands at her as another deputy’s car fails to block it just before it guns off into a house.

It seems strange that Sheriff Adam Christianson put Wall back on the job. A reliable source told me that Christianson called up the San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar  to “bitch her out” about filing a charge of felony voluntary manslaughter against Wall.

* * * * *

Can you believe that New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said “America was never that great”? He and his ilk always put down our great country. As he said it, there were groans of disapproval from his audience. Reaction was swiftly negative and the governor went into damage control, sending his press secretary out to say Cuomo does believe America is great. Yeah, right he does. That’s not what he said. He changed his tune once he got pounded on.

Why do these politicians who engage in divisive identity politics get elected to any office? What is wrong with our education system that produces voters who support people who espouse this kind of anti-America gibberish?

* * * * *

I read with interest a letter to the editor that Turlock City Councilman Gil Esquer wrote in the Turlock Journal, our sister paper. Esquer makes direct comments to Rep. Jeff Denham in which the councilman states that he doesn’t believe a border wall will secure our porous southern border. He cites a cost of $25 million and suggests Denham call for our military used to secure the border.

The Left, of course, opposes any border measure because their idea is flood the country with low-skilled immigrants who depend on government assistance and then vote for Democrats who plan to feed them the rest of their lives here – in exchange for permanent votes and power. That’s the end game.

Equer then suggests a “no man’s land” (is that like trying to make the border line so blurry that politics can be played there?) and that we set up detention centers to “determine whether the people trying to come across are a security threat or an actual refugee.” Is he saying all illegal crossers should be allowed in as refugees?

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The ACLU is screaming like stuck pigs because Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that immigrants can no longer try to enter the country as refugees because they are being abused at home. He wrote: “Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum.” Sessions is, of course, using common sense. Refugee status is normally reserved for people fleeing tyrannical governments, of which Mexico is not. Can you imagine how many foreigners would try to gain entry just by claiming “I’m abused at home.” Well, there is an option, of course, and that’s leaving your significant other and finding somewhere else to live in your own country! I mean, Mexico is a big place.

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Meanwhile in California, can you believe someone felt “threatened” by an ad hung in Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach to get out the word for evangelist Greg Laurie’s “SoCal Harvest”? Apparently an artistic photo of Laurie holding up the Bible made someone feel unsafe. The mall asked for the ad to be redone without the Bible. It was. It too was rejected.

It seems to me this messed up world could use more Bible and not less.

Why is it controversial? Did not some of the greatest movements of our time come out of the teachings in it? I mean, Rev. Martin Luther King believed and practiced the concepts and changed America’s race relations. Our entire country was founded on biblical principles. There is the Salvation Army that feeds and helps the poor – started by a man who was humbled by Jesus’ teachings. And what about Christian William Wilberforce who fought against the slave trade in England? Mother Teresa who was hailed as the greatest servant of our time, inspired, of course, by Christ’s teaching in the Bible. And then there are the everyday heroes who do more for our country and its people than anyone can catalog.

Someone feels threatened by that? What has our country come to?

How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at