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JOE JANIS, San Clemente

The death of Kurt Reinhold was a tragedy, but it was not a race issue, as some are claiming.  This particular death was a homeless issue that our society has failed to address.

Mental institutions are no longer available to help the mentally unstable; overcrowded prisons release criminals into our streets; families and friends become too busy or lack the ability to help their own; and we all expect the government to handle the problem as long as our taxes do not increase and shelters are kept far from us. 

We are all part of the problem. To place the blame on a few deputies that responded to the incident is absurd.

I have ridden with and observed our deputies in action. From my observations, all deputies have been nothing but professional despite the disrespectful people they often encounter.

I was amazed to see many young adults (of all colors) shouting out “Pigs!” at our officers. The anger these young citizens possessed was quite alarming. I commend the officers for staying so cool as a group of intoxicated kids verbally assaulted them.

I was also able to ride with one of the deputies assigned to the homeless; who knew that a month later he would be involved in the fatal shooting? He knew most of the homeless in town (by their name) and was very cordial to them.

He did make one arrest that day of a homeless man who had been camping (naked) near homes. It was a legitimate arrest and was done quite professionally. Most citizens expect our deputies to enforce our loitering laws and to ensure our streets are safe, and then we are the first to condemn them for incidents we know very little about.

Racism and homelessness are two of the greatest problems facing our nation. Maybe it is time we all take some responsibility and not be so quick to place all the blame on law enforcement personnel who are tasked to keep our streets safe. 

We all need to walk in their shoes before being so quick to judge their actions.

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