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Life choices led to death

In reading the recent report about the Albina Ministerial Alliance (Pastors lament motel death, March 12), I am concerned about the attitude of some of the Christian leaders in the black community regarding the recent shooting of a young black man.

We need to remember, we were not there! Byron Hammick could have twisted that child's neck in a split second if an officer had made the wrong move. Certainly the 911 tapes and the blood test results, which were released after the shooting, verify that the officers' assessment of the situation was absolutely accurate.

That child's life was in danger! If Hammick had been allowed to kill the child, would the police still have been blamed by this group?

Hammick's skin color had nothing to do with what happened. He chose to ignore the repeated commands of the police to put the child down.

Sadly, Hammick's life choices were responsible for what ultimately happened to him. Did his parents' fail him? Did the church fail Hammick? Perhaps society failed him.

Whatever the answer, ultimately he made his own choices. There is surely culpability on his part in his ultimate death. The color of his skin was not the issue. He was a victim of the choices he himself made!

It is sad to see how some of the black community appear to be looking for a reason to try to make events a race issue. Is this alliance just as involved when young black men kill one another? Are they publicly speaking out against young unmarried girls having baby after baby outside of wedlock?

It is time for reverse discrimination to end. If the black pastors of this alliance are truly ministers of the gospel, in word and in deed, shouldn't they be proclaiming Jesus Christ and his perfect example?

The recently published judgmental comments about the police shooting are unfair, biased and unfounded in facts. They disperse chords of discontent and stir disharmony in our community. 'Blessed are the peacemakers É '

In closing, I do understand the sadness. It is a terrible tragedy for everyone. I know Hammick's family loved him. I know that it is hard for them to accept what he was doing. It is too often easier to put the blame on others rather than to accept the facts.

Please remember that there are two other men involved in this suffering, whose lives are forever altered because of the events of Feb. 22.

I petition you to consider the facts and have mercy on all who are involved. Officers Gilbert and Mosier deserve our thanks for saving the life of a defenseless little boy, not our judgment.

Joan Thompson is a retired teacher and social worker who lives in Gresham; she also is the aunt of one of the officers involved in the Hammick shooting.