I’m writing in support of Irving Williams’ recent letter regarding the “capture” photos of John D. Williams (no relation), the suspect in the fatal shooting of Cpl. Eugene Cole of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

The photos I’ve seen have only made my heart hurt more for the man. (It was already hurting for the family of Cpl. Cole and our law enforcement community.)

We know that substance abuse and criminal activity are fueled by suffering and shame. That they most often are born out of difficult childhoods, filled with abuse and neglect, that no one would wish upon their worst enemy. And, that treating humans like animals only encourages them to act more inhumanely toward themselves and others. When we treat others this way, it only lessens our own humanity.

This is not how you start the end of the opioid epidemic. And this is not how you prevent the next “cop killer.” It’s how you create one.

We need to begin with compassion. We need to begin with rising above. We need to begin with being the first to treat another human being with respect – especially when you don’t think they deserve it. That’s not for us to judge. Our purpose here is to love one another, not to keep cycles of anger and hatred turning.

Liz Smith


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