Letter to the Editor

Written by admin   // August 19, 2011   // 0 Comments

Uncle of woman who assaulted a county clerk says her actions were wrong, but demands apology from Sheriff Clarke for questioning niece’s upbringing

Dear Editor,

Having had on going communication with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and his office for over a week to no avail, I find it necessary to bring my comments and our communication to public light.

I addressed Sheriff Clarke on August 11, concerning comments he made on Fox 6 News after the incident of the attack on a County Clerk by Miss Shawnise Houston, my niece.

I did not at that time or any time take issue about what happened. Nor did I ever make any excuse for Miss Houston, for I continue to state there are no excuses to be made for her actions.

I made apologies on behalf of my family to the victim who in no way was deserving of what happened to her.

I only asked for an apology for his insult against my heritage (specifically generalizing about the type of home my niece grew up in). However, instead of granting the apology that I asked for, the sheriff wants to continue to make railing accusations and condemnations against an entire group of people.

The issue that I brought forth is not about Miss Houston and what she did. Her actions will be handled by the criminal justice system as it should be.

My issue is about Clarke being asked to apologize for saying: “Courtesy is a virtue and if you don’t have it instilled within and obviously this woman didn’t, and we see this with young kids, and if you don’t have it instilled within you early on then this is how you react.”

As I stated, there are so many outstanding, hard working parents, in this country who have raised their children with great morals and values but their children get off track somewhere and go wrong. Does that mean that all of these families should be criticized and condemned for not instilling the correct principles in their children?

I remember so many times as a child listening to my parents, my friend’s parents, adults in the church, in the community talking to, teaching and warning their children not to go down certain paths. I remember my parents and other parents teaching the principles of Godliness and family values and morals.

But I also remember that I and many of these same kids gave into the peer pressure and desires of wanting to be cool, hip, popular and with the “in-crowd” more than we wanted to obey those things that were instilled within us.

My sister and I came from a two family home where both my parents worked. Home-cooked meals were on the table every night. We were taught godliness, work ethics, manners, courtesy and respect. My sister taught those same values.

So for Sheriff Clarke to not take responsibility for his comments, indicating that all dysfunctional or criminally active individuals come from dysfunctional families who did not instill values is asinine, idiotic and highly unintelligent.

An uneducated, but highly intelligent and wise man, my father once said, “you can take a kid and raise them with a silver spoon in his mouth or take a kid and raise him in the middle of the ghetto and either kid can go either way.” It’s not about upbringing all the time; but about choices.

Thus, let me state for the record that I have not been a perfect individual. I have made some mistakes and suffered some consequences. In spite of my upbringing, I traveled the long, hard road of substance abuse.

When I finally made up my mind to turn my life around, I went away to a Christian ministry from 1993-1994. While there at Teen Challenge I met men and women from every social and economical environment.

They came from homes where their parents were pastors, teachers, lawyers, doctors and yes, even police officers.

The one thing most of us use to reflect on was that if we had listened to what our parents, grandparents or guardians had put in us then we wouldn’t be in the condition that we were in.

It was not our parents’ fault as Sheriff Clarke would have us believe. It was about choices.

While still on drugs, I had a daughter out of wedlock whom I went and got custody of.

Even in the midst of my dysfunction, as a single parent, because of what was instilled within me I was determined to give my daughter a mother’s love and father’s protection. It was that child and my upbringing that made me get the help I needed. Now my daughter is a college graduate, real estate agent and church administrator.

She has never known the evils of drugs or criminal activities. I credit the foundation instilled in me by my parents and elders for leading me back to what I should have always been.

Since 1998, I have been a government certified contractor with only a traffic ticket. Since 2000 I have been a pastor and director a drug rehabilitation ministry trying to help others change their lives. This I credit to God and the parents that Sheriff Clarke condemned.

So Sheriff Clarke if you can look at Miss Houston and say she is what she is because of her family not instilling correct values in her, what do you say about my daughter who was produced from the same matriarch and patriarch line and taught the same values?

I’ve authored a book which chronicles the life of my dysfunction as an individual that had been raised by functional parents. I raised a daughter to be a highly functional achiever.

This speaks volumes to the fact that good people go wrong sometimes, but a strong foundation can bring them back.

In his last letter to me, Sheriff Clarke, in his arrogant rhetoric, reduced this issues to profanity and name calling instead of offering the apology to all parents he had generalized and condemned.

Perhaps in public he should just stick to policing and not psycho-analyzing people where he obviously does not have the expertise to do so.

Again, the issue is not and has never been about making any excuses for the actions of Miss Houston. The issue is the generalizations about an entire class of people and an apology Sheriff Clarke refuses to make.

If anyone would like full disclosure of all the emails I would be more than happy to share them with you. You may email me at [email protected]

Pastor Ray Houston,

Bloomington, Ill.


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