Short takes on the news
Taping the evidence • Police officers are often called heroes, and for good reasons. But, although they tend to be brave and unselfish individuals, officers are still human, not superheroes, and that means they can't see and remember everything. So Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank's decision to equip his officers with body cameras that can film everything the officers see and some things they miss is a good one. The camera footage can be used as evidence and to help investigate complaints leveled against police by providing a picture of every traffic stop and arrest. Attorneys would have access to the footage through a secure online database. Both police and the public will benefit from undeniable photographic images.
Making water safe • Officials in Woods Cross have decided to build a water treatment plant to clean the city's drinking water of tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, a manufactured organic chemical that could potentially cause liver damage or cancer. Although the amount of PCE in the well water used by Woods Cross residents has never exceeded the maximum allowed under Environmental Protection Agency standards, the city's leaders have made the right decision. The contaminant, which water officials believe leached into the Woods Cross underground water system from dry cleaners over the years, could have been diluted by bringing in clean water to mix with the city's well water. But that seems risky. The $4 million treatment plant will do a better job of ensuring the city's water is safe. Residents' annual water bills will go up about $100. That's a reasonable price for peace of mind.
Encouraging bigotry • The latest proposal to modify the Boy Scouts of America policy on gays is like saying boys with attention deficit disorder are OK and can be members, but if they don't grow out of the disorder by the time they become men, tough luck. They can't be Scout leaders. The policy change that will be voted on next month similarly says that the BSA would allow gay Scouts but not gay Scout leaders. The proposal makes no sense unless you believe that somehow boys can choose to become straight when they grow up. And that adult gay men are somehow dangerous, either because they might teach homosexuality to their troops, along with knot-tying and fire building, or because they must be prone to pedophilia. Either justification is ridiculous and shows not concern for boys, but simple bigotry.
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