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LETTERS for the November 21 issue

By Staff | Nov 21, 2019

Fireworks or gunshots?

(The following letter was sent to state and county officials.)

At 9:15 p.m. on Nov 13, 2019, five gunshots were heard by myself, my brother and my two daughters. We immediately turned off the lights, locked the doors and hit the floor. We covered our phone light as we called 911 to report this.

Immediately, the dispatcher answered nonchalantly if we were sure it was fireworks and not gunshots. He said there were cops in the area. I asked them to send a crisis counselor to my household. They refused and said we needed to speak to the police.

We made a formal report to the police. They claimed they saw the fireworks in the sky coming from Baby Beach, Lahaina. However, my brother said he could see a light from outside our kitchen window that was consistent with a muzzle flash.

I told the cops how we both heard it was consistent shooting of a gun that went pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. The cop said it was very consistent. And yet fireworks are sporadic and gunshots are consistent.

I felt the police should have looked for evidence of these fireworks, if it was in fact fireworks like they claimed, because they are illegal. But I did feel they were gunshots and much closer than Baby Beach.

Fireworks should be handled very seriously. They trigger people to flee for their life when they feel it could be gunshots.

Honestly, I do feel it was gunshots. It was very close.

The police felt so calm and nonchalant, like it was not a big deal. I know my neighborhood has a lot of drugs in the area, because I just found five bags of meth on Baker Street, right next to my apartment complex, this week and had the cop get the bags so it could be tested.

The drugs in my neighborhood is very alarming. Drug dealers have guns. My brother says every time he walks home from his job on Front Street, he can smell a toxic smell like burned plastic, which is consistent with meth being burned and inhaled.

I wish these cops would treat this neighborhood like it’s their own and take it more seriously. These cops don’t live in our neighborhood. I feel if they lived in our neighborhood, they would guard it better and take things more serious.

If it was fireworks, like these cops suspected, they would find the evidence of the fireworks and have it tested.

I don’t feel safe with these cops. Their dismissiveness of the issue made me feel they didn’t care.

My children can’t sleep. It’s two hours past their bedtime, and they are wide awake. I can’t sleep for fear of the gunshots. This is insane.

If it was fireworks like they suspected, it wouldn’t be so hard to find the trash to confirm it. The cops claimed they saw the fireworks in the air. They claimed it came from Baby Beach. They could shine their light, find the evidence and get it fingerprinted.

But honestly, I feel they didn’t care and dismissed gunshots as fireworks. The shots were so close. And my brother saw a flashing white/yellow light – not a colorful one like fireworks. I heard it.

It is very frightening. I wish the police would do more to check on it. There are undercover cops, too, and they should be working. They usually are working at night. They could help, too.

Fireworks and gunshots are a big deal.

I can’t even get a crisis counselor to my home to console my family of this trauma, because they refuse to come when there are suspected gunshots. My family just has to live in fear.

Please, if you could do more to protect my neighborhood.



Small acts of kindness can have a big impact

My name is Tepua Ho and I am a current student at Lahainaluna High School.

Poverty is and has been an ongoing problem since forever, but small acts of kindness – such as giving a homeless person some spare change or few dollars – could make their day.

You never know what is really going on in someone else’s life, so don’t take that for granted.

I want you to think about maybe donating to a charity; it could change someone’s life for the better.

TEPUA HO, Lahaina


The widening gap between the super-rich and other Americans

Despite the upbeat words from America’s billionaire president about the “economic miracle” he has produced, economic inequality in the United States is on the rise.

Despite the soaring incomes of top corporate executives and other wealthy Americans, the median household income in the United States grew by only 0.2 percent during 2018,?a decline from the three previous years.

Although President Donald Trump has claimed that “inequality is down,” federal data released this year shows that in 2018, the nation’s income inequality reached the highest level since the U.S. Census Bureau began measuring it five decades before.

In 2018, 38.1 million Americans lived below the U.S. government’s official poverty threshold, including many people working at multiple jobs. Furthermore, another 93.6 million Americans lived close to poverty, bringing the total of impoverished and near-impoverished people to nearly 42 percent of the U.S. population.

Naturally, economic deprivation has serious consequences. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 14.3 million households in America have difficulty providing enough food for their families. Low-income families are also plagued by inadequate education, alcohol and substance abuse, and poor housing, health and life expectancy.

Even what is left of the dwindling middle class faces the crippling costs of health care, college education and debt payments.