We see violent and disturbing images every day. Police-brutality videos are now commonplace on social media. We are suffering from an opioid epidemic that is destroying families. And at the perils of the current government, our very democracy is at stake. We are in deep trouble on many levels.

I am writing this letter because of a recent image I saw, one of John D. Williams, the young man accused of killing a Somerset County law enforcement officer.

After a huge manhunt ended in the capture of the accused, ABC News’ coverage included a photograph of this painfully thin, deranged person with his head pulled up by his hair. The message being sent by police was one of authoritative brutality but more disturbing, it was a message of inhumanity.

Just as it occurred in Nazi Germany, the unraveling of law and order, peace and prosperity is subtle and takes time, as people ignore inhumanity toward others. The police in Maine have now shown the world their inhumanity by posing with a sick and suffering, terrified person as if he were an animal in a trophy kill.

Some people don’t think this matters; they see a suspect who was apprehended and feel no sympathy, only disgust. That is exactly my point: When we allow any authority figure to treat a human being with no regard for their humanity, we all suffer. We can’t allow ourselves to become numb to others’ pain and suffering.

We must challenge all the subtle forms of anger, violence and inhumanity when we see them. I can only hope more of us speak up when we see cruelty and brutality – even toward an accused killer – and remember that the atrocities in Nazi Germany happened slowly as people kept silent.

I hope the great state of Maine will remember this, too. Don’t be silent.

Carol Gregor


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