As we celebrate Nevada’s 153rd anniversary, looking back at our own history is interesting. The first recorded execution in the Nevada territory was conducted in Dayton on Jan 09, 1863. Allen Milstead was legally hung by Lyon County Sheriff G.H. Moore after being convicted of killing a Lyon County Commissioner. A vigilante hanging was done behind county courthouse in 1864. And in 1901, Sheriff Randall was asking a California sheriff for plans to build gallows in 1902 when the state moved all executions under its control in 1903.
The newest form of vigilantism is taking roots on social media sites, especially as Yerington deals with racism after two kids posted disgusting racial comments. Reading through comments, one would expect a vigilante group to heat up a hot iron and brand an “R” on their foreheads as punishment. The school district has appropriately handled the situation within their administrative policies. Because they are juveniles, the public will not know what actions were taken, nor should the public be entitled to know.
Racism is a world problem and not just isolated to the United States. Racism has been a cause for violence since the beginning of time. Any form of racism is disgusting human behavior; however, it is not a crime unless a specific criminal act is directed at a specific person and the person has the ability to commit the criminal act. Law enforcement has to prove any alleged threat was directed towards a specific person and not just assume it was for criminal prosecution to occur. Thus, it is “hate speech” and protected speech under the 1st Amendment.
There are unintended consequences when someone posts racial or other inappropriate comments/images on social media. They are forever a public record and provide prospective employers with an insight to someone’s thoughts. No law enforcement agency in the country will hire someone who has posted anything with racist content. Every organization that conducts background checks will see them. There will be no college scholarships and no military jobs that requires security clearances. Here is an opportunity to talk with your kids about consequences of posting inappropriate comments.
Lyon County’s Behavioral Health Task Force has done an excellent job in reducing completed suicide deaths from an all-time high of 29 in 2014 to 13 in 2016. The LCSO continues to support this task force with our M.O.S.T program, F.A.S.T.T. treatment in the jail, and crisis intervention training for all of our deputies.
One area that continues to personally bother me is our veteran suicide rates. Lyon County’s five year average of veteran suicides is 33.5-percent with a record high of 46-percent in 2016. Six of the 13 suicides committed last year were veterans. While we continue to be in the longest protracted war since the founding of our country, we will be dealing with veteran behavioral health for decades to come.
And finally, I want to praise the efforts of Deputy Bill McDaniel who was dispatched to a home for a general welfare check. Bill took the extra effort, looked into a garage window, and saw a female hanging. He immediately kicked in the door, lifted her just enough to cut the rope, laid her down and got her breathing restored. Why this young mother would attempt to kill herself and leave two young children behind is a mystery. However, because of Bill’s decisive actions, those children still have their mother.
As always, keep the faith.