Re: Feb. 25 article, “Advocates join effort to fix Austin police DNA lab problems.”
I was shocked to read that the Austin Police Department has had its DNA lab closed for nearly two years.
Even when our criminal justice system is fully operational, it has colossal failings rooted in systemic racism. The fact that a crucial component of law enforcement’s ability to determine guilt or innocence has remained absent for this long is unacceptable.
Approximately 20 percent of the 537 people who have requested reviews of their cases have been flagged as having a high priority for scientific review or possible innocence.
While I applaud the formation of the task force addressing the root causes for the closure of the DNA lab, I’m taken aback that it’s taken this long to resolve. Our fellow residents deserve much better.
USSAMA TAHA, AUSTIN
Much of Texas has experienced unusual weather conditions over the past few weeks — and with spring quickly approaching, those volatile weather patterns are likely to continue.
As anyone living or working in a flood-prone area knows, we can hope for the best when spring showers start to fall — but we also need to prepare for the worst. That’s why it’s important to take the steps before, during and after severe weather that can help you and your family stay safe and recover as quickly as possible from damage.
Protection from windstorm or hail damage for cars is covered under the comprehensive portion of the automobile insurance policy. However, flood damage is not typically covered under homeowners or commercial property polices, and needs to be purchased as an additional policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.
When severe weather strikes, insurers will be here to help you rebuild.
JOE WOODS, VICE PRESIDENT OF STATE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS FOR THE PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, AUSTIN
Re: Feb. 25 article, “Giving City: Need cited for providing foster parent info in Spanish.”
Given that 40 percent of children waiting for adoption in Austin are of Latino heritage, it is baffling that the Department of Family and Protective Services has neglected to offer Spanish-language foster and adoption trainings in Austin. Unlike other Texas cities that offer this training in Spanish to increase diversity in their pool of families, Austin is behind the curve.
Latino children placed in Latino families may feel some sense of comfort that their new family resembles them. These Spanish-speaking families who share a child’s ethnicity can immediately enrich and welcome them with traditions and rituals. In addition, since family reunification is an important goal of the foster care system, these diverse families can build a stronger cultural bridge toward better understanding with biological parents who seek an opportunity to raise their children again. Recruitment of these families is vital in Austin and the rest of the state.
DEANNA MORRICE, AUSTIN
Re: March 4 letter to the editor, “Shooting survivors aren’t safety experts.”
The letter writer omitted a few truths.
The Florida school kids who survived are hoping against hope that something sensible will come out of this tragedy. They don’t claim to be experts. They do claim there’s too many assault rifles and that schools should be a safe place to learn. But, according to the National Rifle Association, that’s not possible.
The overwhelming majority in the country want changes, but the Congress has been bought and paid for by NRA blood money. Maybe after the November elections change will happen. We can always hope.
IRVING HUGHES, KYLE
Arming teachers is the most illogical argument ever:
■ We don’t have enough money for education as it is.
■ It’s ludicrous to think a teacher can stop a shooter with an assault weapon.
■ A shooter could easily overpower teacher or shoot him or her first.
■ A locked-away gun could easily be stolen.
■ What if a teacher doesn’t want a gun? Will they be the target, since President Trump thinks cowards won’t come to a “hardened school?”
■ Guns in school will be no deterrent. Often, shooters want to commit “suicide by cop.”
■ Police cannot legally take away weapons before a shooting, nor can they put anyone in jail for thinking about killing people. So, really, what preventive methods do they have?
■ The well-armed security guard did not go into the school, so the “good guy with a gun” is another fallacy.
DYAN DAHLBERG, AUSTIN
Re: March 2 letter to the editor, “Arm our teachers and stop the killers.”
Can’t you imagine chemistry teacher Mr. Brown, popping up bare-chested from behind the counter with the Bunsen burners, snarling Rambo-style and spraying would be killers with machine gun fire?
Or Mrs. Jones from English lit, taking out an assassin as she flies by full extension firing with both hands?
Texas doesn’t even pay teachers enough for the job their supposed to do — teach!
How about we stop the bad guys before they get to the school?
ROBERT ELLIOTT, KYLE