thumb DOWN for ... WAY TOO MANY. It’s hard to keep up with the violence. The latest is the death of 59-year-old Ernest Gutierrez, who police say was killed by the hands of his son-in-law, Mica Murray. He was allegedly choked to death.
By our count, that makes three homicides this year alone. According to FBI statistics, the national homicide rate is one per 20,000 people; here in San Miguel County, the rate this year alone is one in 10,000. And there have been at least 10 homicides in Las Vegas since May 2007.
With such a per capita comparison, this community is more dangerous than most cities in the nation. The reasons are as varied as the deaths, but it’s time we took a serious look at what’s wrong. Time to shake our Wild West heritage and end the violence.
thumb UP for ... CHARGED. Finally, nearly two years after the terrible and tragic deaths of Damian Ortiz and Stephanie Dimas, police have arrested two brothers for their deaths.
Those who knew Ortiz and Dimas will tell you they were warm and vibrant young people with promising futures. And while nothing can erase this tragic incident, justice needs to be served. Perhaps we’re one step closer.
thumb UP for ... AT LEAST ONE. We wish both Las Vegas high school football teams could both have climbed into the win category last weekend, but at least one did — Robertson, in a 25-12 win over Moriarty. That puts the Cardinals at 1-2 so far this season, while West slipped to 0-3 with a loss to Tucumcari.
Meanwhile, Highlands is also struggling with an 0-3 start on its season, so the gridiron isn’t the most uplifting place to be in Las Vegas these days. But, hey, mark down one win for the home teams so far, and hope for more this weekend.
thumb UP for ... LOTS OF RAIN. Has this been great weather or what? And with the city reservoir dipping to 70 percent of capacity recently — low enough to start making people nervous — these rains and thunderstorms have been right on time. As of Tuesday, storage had risen to 75 percent.
Now let’s see when the first winter weather hits this season. Here’s hoping the snows come early and often.
thumb DOWN for ... NO CHARTER SCHOOL. We can understand why the state denied Luna Community College’s request for a charter school, given the opposition to it by area school districts. And we can understand the opposition, given that Luna did a poor job of conferring with any of the area school districts. It was poorly handled, plain and simple.
But let’s remember a couple of points here. One is that a well-run charter school would add to, not detract, from the educational opportunities of area children and youth. And another is that the threat to enrollment at area school districts — that is to say, money — isn’t a good enough reason to be against the idea.
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AND WE QUOTE
“What District Attorney Donald Gallegos and Prosecutor Leslie Fernandez are saying is that if a teacher knows that a female student is forcibly held down by several male students and sodomized, then they have no legal responsibility to report the crime because it was not committed by adults. We allege that the only reason this is different is because these are sexual assaults committed by boys against boys.”
— Parents of one of the victims in the assaults at a Robertson High School football camp in August 2008, after failure-to-report charges against two school officials and two former coaches were dropped.