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Employers don’t make it easy on the jobless

To the editor:

During a recent exchange of text messages with an uncle in Ohio, I mentioned that our unemployment rate here had improved to 12.4 percent. He responded that the unemployment rate in the Cleveland area stood at 10 percent, but that there were “help wanted signs everywhere.”

He went on to say that “people don’t want to work or work for less than they were making.” I agreed with him on the point that there is little incentive to take a job which pays less than an unemployment check.

When I pointed out that many large companies contribute to the problem by excluding applicants who do want to work based on their credit score and/or the answers given on a personality test, he didn’t respond.

A day later the guy who sells me a cup of coffee and a copy of the Review-Journal every morning, mentioned that his brother applied for a cashier job at the same chain of gas stations he works for. He later asked the manager of that store why his brother didn’t get the job. (This man also mentioned he was working a third consecutive graveyard shift alone, which prevented him from stocking the cooler doors with beer and soda.) The manager said that the corporate office told her not to hire anyone whose last two jobs didn’t include cashier experience.

Who knew working at a gas station had become a career position.

JOHN W. BATTENFIELD

LAS VEGAS

Police restraint

To the editor:

I know about the tragic death of Ralfy Olivas who was shot dead by two Las Vegas police officers (“Mom regrets dialing 911,” July 20 Review-Journal). The news report stated that he was armed with a knife and would not obey their orders and advanced on them.

My son knew and worked with Ralfy. Ralfy was of a slight build and a small person who is normally the nicest in the crowd.

I am also a retired Los Angeles police officer. I have been in several similar situations. While I was not there at Ralfy’s demise, I can say that three officers with batons (and possibly a taser) could have formed a circle, retreated and eventually knocked the knife from his hands with their batons. While this tactic involves some sort of temporary retreat, it often results in saving a life.

I do not fault the officers, but I do fault their training. There are better ways to handle these types of situations. Far too often I find local police officers lacking the type of training needed to handle these distraught persons. The Henderson shooting of a mother in front of her children particularly comes to mind, among several others.

While I could have “punched a lot of tickets” in my career, I never did one.

That same type of restraint needs to be taught here in Las Vegas.

ROBERT THORESON

LAS VEGAS

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