Tablet Opinion

LETTERS: Tragic police shooting; Wendy Davis example; Texas and Medicaid

Wednesday’s announcement that the officer who repeatedly shot an innocent homeowner in Woodhaven was no-billed is beyond comprehension. The grand jury appears to have glossed over the incident with no indictment and Police Chief Jeff Halstead, a man whom I have met and previously held in high regard, has ignored the incident and refused to discipline the officer.

Let’s see: They went to the wrong house and a homeowner who had not called the police appeared to be protecting his property against someone claiming to be police. In an instance of horribly wrong judgment, he was gunned down in a hail of bullets from an obviously improperly trained cop.

Aren’t these situations to be handled by a crisis team? Why not back off if he’s got the opportunity? This smells bad. Thank God they haven’t come to my house by mistake. And thank God for the cops who handle such situations properly.

— Ken Orton, Fort Worth

Former councilwoman Becky Haskin accuses Officer R.A. “Alex” Hoeppner and his partner of being rookies and “not adequately trained.” It appears Haskin is unfamiliar with the way the Fort Worth Police Department trains officers.

Being a rookie does not mean an officer is “untrained.” I doubt they’d let someone right out of the academy loose in a squad car. I’m pretty sure Hoeppner had to ride with a training officer before being let out on his own.

I have a problem with her statement: “He just unloaded his gun in rapid fire. That’s what I heard. It woke me up.” If it woke her up, just how does she know how it started and how it went down up to the point she woke up? She added, “There wasn’t any hesitation.” Once again how does she know this?

Rapid fire does not necessarily equate to a lack of hesitation. How does she know what was going on in the minds of the officers and her neighbor, Jerry Waller? It was an accident — tragic but still an accident. Period.

By the way, there’s a reason some police officers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

— Mac McKinzie, Arlington

Wendy Davis example

All Wendy Davis has to do is be compared to the alternative, and I’m in.

Her story is one I want my political leaders to have. I want them to experience humble beginnings and remember the people who helped them achieve success. I want them to know what it’s like to fear the bills, to worry that their shortcomings will limit their children’s potential, to grieve that they didn’t repay all the support they’ve received.

I want my leaders to be kept awake at night by the nightmares of tomorrow’s responsibilities. Then I want them to overcome their failings and give their kids — their state, their nation — a better future, and pay back tenfold everyone who assisted along the way.

Of course Wendy Davis isn’t perfect, and of course she’s ambitious, but she’s from where we are. People in power become insulated, but if they hail from a non-privileged start, then there’s a better chance they will have empathy for others. Nothing is more important than that.

— Teggan Baltensperger,


Texas and Medicaid

Cynthia Allen’s Thursday essay concerning challenges faced by our state’s participation in the Medicaid program raises some interesting points, and some of her suggestions for improvement may be worth consideration. Calling the program a “failure,” though, is not fair, nor is her analysis of the Oregon Medicaid experiment.

In fact, the Oregon experiment found that although the differences were not great (not statistically significant, as statisticians might say) those participating in Oregon’s Medicaid program actually did improve in every single category of health indicator that was measured, compared with those not participating, and the rates of depression among participants were found to be significantly less than non-participants.

Until its flaws can be fixed, the really important Medicaid question facing Texas and Texans is why our leaders refuse to participate in the expansion of Medicaid as provided for by the Affordable Care Act, and are thereby denying approximately 1 million Texans health coverage that would be largely financed by the federal government. At the same time, taxes paid by Texans are used to fund the Medicaid programs available to residents of those 26 states whose leaders already have accepted the expanded program.

— Richard L. Cole,



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