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Letters to the Editor: 10-22-2015

TIME TO WEIGH IN

Have you protected your right to vote? The Nov. 3 ballot will include three very important issues. They are the Eugene Five-Year Library Local Option Levy, renewal of the Springfield Fire and Life Safety Local Option Levy and South Lane County Fire & Rescue District Obligation Bond measures. 

Voting is our opportunity to make our voices heard on the questions that matter to our communities. We all need to weigh in.

Registered voters must update their registrations if they have moved, have a new mailing address or changed their names. Fortunately, updating your registration is easy and you have until 8 pm the day of the election. You can re-register by going to lanecounty.org/elections and clicking on “Online Voter Registration.” That page has links to the Oregon Secretary of State’s voter registration pages and provides additional information, including a form to check the status of your registration and whether you need to re-register. Another option is going to the Lane County Elections Department office at 275 W. 10th Ave., Eugene. You may have to do that if you have waited until close to the election date.

Rhonda Livesay, Voter Service Chair, League of Women Voters of Lane County

 

CONSUMER CULTURE

The problem with investing in kids (“Give Them a Chance,” Oct. 15 cover story) is what to invest? Indoctrinating them with a firm belief in the consumer culture with its planetary sized swath of ecodevastation won’t secure their security. Not by a long shot. Drying apples and spinning wool, however, promises a more comfortable winter.

Neuroscience will soon discover, I predict, the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex achieve a pinnacle of survival development in a culture of subsistence rather than consumption. Humans habituated to purchasing solutions to all their needs and desires lose not only the immense gratification of invention, but the core ability to produce the beauty and comfort they crave. They think someone else should undertake the tedious, often painful process by which a raw material is converted into something delightful. I furnish the craving, says the craven consumer, longing for something she can’t afford.

Being ensnared by the blandishments of the consumer culture is like being tied to an abusive spouse. That culture is going to beat up the sacred ground with industrial agriculture, pollute the rivers and acidify the oceans. That culture obviously doesn’t care much for children and synthesizes stress as a structural component of its economy. Makes a poor boy crave a safe shelter of subsistence and simplicity.

David Hugh Tyson, Eugene

 

RASOR’S EDGE

Those who know the value (and rarity) of Oregon white oak trees and stands, and those who appreciate the nature and beauty of the Willamette Greenway, may be disappointed to learn that a lovely Greenway parcel containing at least eight large oaks is on the market (or perhaps already sold), and likely subject to development. 

This parcel is adjacent to Rasor Park and is described in the park master plan as the highest priority for acquisition because of its habitat and aesthetic value. Most people assume the lot already is part of the park.

Oaks of this size don’t grow overnight. It would be a sad loss if some or all of these beautiful trees are cut down to make way for development — but this seems inevitable if a home or duplex is built on the lot. The remaining white oak fringe within the park would be more vulnerable to weather and urban impacts. 

This parcel arguably is one of the most valuable to be conserved anywhere along the west bank stretch of the greenway — for habitat value, aesthetics and protection of the riparian edge. Adding it to the city park would ensure that there is a more ecologically functional buffer between existing development and the river.

It will take a major outpouring of community support, including fundraising, if this lot and its white oak grove are to be protected. Please write to Philip.S.Richardson@ci.eugene.or.us and other Eugene officials today. Visit Friends of Rasor Park on Facebook for more information. 

Becky Riley, Friends of Rasor Park, Eugene

 

LEAGUE BACKS LIBRARY

The League of Women Voters of Lane County urges voters within the city limits of Eugene to support the levy for improved library services, Measure 20-235.  

The proposed levy offers more hours, more materials, more resources, shorter wait times for popular items, all at a low cost of about $3 per month for a typical homeowner. The most important aspect of the levy for the League is that it promotes equity in access to library services and resources. It helps our community narrow the digital divide between households with and without internet access. It helps our city provide more equal service across the neighborhoods. In short, it makes access to library resources more fair.

This is the only question on the city of Eugene ballot. It is important to remember to vote — you will not be bombarded with TV ads or phone calls to remind you. Please vote “yes” for our libraries.

Linda Lynch, President, League of Women Voters of Lane County

 

ECONOMIC PRESSURES

I’m writing with regards to the South Willamette Special Area Zone (SW-SAZ). My partner and I recently moved to the neighborhood.

The Willard School (Village School) grounds between 29th Avenue and 27th Place should be excluded from the current SW-SAZ proposal. This site merits its own rezoning review process, separate from the rest of the South Willamette corridor. Once rezoned, the school ground will be exceptionally attractive to developers because it is a large, open, relatively flat space, close to amenities with few existing structures. 

I anticipate that the school grounds will be quickly redeveloped if 4J decides to sell this site, and that economic pressures will make this an attractive option sooner rather than later.

I am also concerned about the speed and volume of traffic on Charnelton Street if it is opened up to cars between 29th and 27th. Every publicly available draft of the rezoned Willard School site includes a connection that would turn Charnelton into a direct route between 29th and 13th avenues. The peaceful character of the street could be destroyed without aggressive traffic calming measures at each new intersection.

Redevelopment of the Willard School grounds has the potential to make or break the quiet tone and livability of our neighborhood. Citizens of all stripes benefit from the unique and attractive features of the site. In particular, the historic oak grove along the northern border, the open playing field and the greenway pedestrian access to Woodfield Station are valuable and accessible to the College Hill, Crest Drive and Friendly area neighbors.

Future rezoning and eventual redevelopment of the Willard School site will shape the essence of our neighborhood for decades. Any changes to this highly desirable and character-defining corner of Eugene should be subject to a rigorous independent review and public discourse.

Laura M. Johnson, Eugene

 

IMPORTANT SERVICES

I strongly support Measure 20-235 for many reasons. Voters’ approval of the library levy will increase needed hours to the downtown library. Additionally, Measure 20-235 restores desperately needed hours to each neighborhood library. 

Our neighborhood libraries provide a learning environment where children are able to explore the wonders of learning in a safe and family-friendly atmosphere. Libraries provide access to education through books, the internet and more. 

It is important that these spaces and resources are made available to everyone. Unfortunately this is not yet the case, which is why our community should also support the library levy.

In terms of cost, the library levy is only $36 a year for the typical homeowner, and it expires in five years. As an educator and chair of the Budget Committee of the Bethel School Board, I need you to stand with me and vote “yes” on Measure 20-235, the library levy.

James I. Manning Jr., Eugene

 

WRONG WAY TO FUND

I have to chime in with support for David Monk’s position in the Oct. 8 letters opposing the proposed Eugene Public Library levy scheduled for the Nov. 3 ballot.

Why is it that big-ticket building projects like the new City Hall now under construction are funded directly from the city’s General Fund? Shouldn’t this instead be funded by a bond measure, like road construction is, since it is a long-term capital asset? 

I thought the General Fund was supposed to be used for ongoing annual expenses, like police and fire, building maintenance, funding of the libraries and, in general, city salaries.

This proposed use of the General Fund seems inappropriate. The citizens of Eugene should get to vote for capital projects that will fund major construction, such as City Hall and the Eugene Police Department building, just like we do now for road construction.

 Duncan Rhodes, Eugene

 

OBJECTIFYING WOMEN

The Bravo! calendar of events Oct. 15 continues a recent Eugene Weekly trend of treating women as their sexualized body parts instead of people. It began with no less than two separate instances of encouraging people to go see burlesque acts in order to see “boobs.” 

More than juvenile prurience, such attitudes reduce women from whole, complex individual people to parts that (mainly) men should view for sexual gratification.

In the latest instance, a photograph of a braless female music performer is described as someone who “titillates” the audience. Again, such juvenile wordplay is more than just unbecoming a professional publication, but an insulting reduction of a talented performer to visible body parts. A male performer, even completely shirtless, would never have such a description applied to them.

The Weekly has spilled a lot of ink about the rape culture on campus and the sexual assault investigation of basketball players — as it should — but you should also look at yourselves and how the words and images you choose to publish contribute to the problem.

Ryan Foote, Eugene

 

BIASED REPORTING

I am writing to protest the biased and misleading article Oct. 15 on President Obama’s visit to Roseburg to meet with families of victims of the recent Umpqua Community College mass shooting. Why only negative coverage and photos in response to the president’s visit? How did the families feel about the private visit? Who were these outsiders protesting? Were they from Roseburg or even Oregon? Or were they gun advocates from other states who made this respectful presidential visit a political one? 

Why were these individuals (who may or may not even be citizens of the state) allowed to speak for Oregon, Roseburg, and/or the victims’ families? Why were they given all of the photo coverage? These gun advocates do not speak for me or for anyone I know in Eugene or Oregon or much of the nation. 

This horrific example of biased journalism presented a shameful image of Oregon to the nation that warrants a published apology from EW to President Obama and citizens of Eugene and Oregon who respect our president and support gun control. As Roseburg’s mayor emphasized in a more accurate article featured on KVAL, “President Obama came here for the families.” 

S.D. Turner, Eugene

EDITOR’S NOTE: As the alternative newspaper in the region, we look for stories and angles that are being ignored or undercovered. While the photos of the anti-Obama protest indeed featured the anti-Obama protesters, the article points out half of the protesters interviewed were not from Roseburg.

 

AMENDMENT TO KILL

The presence of the pro-gun demonstrators in Roseburg [see story 10/15] as President Obama was offering our nation’s support to grieving families was embarrassing to many Oregonians. It brought back memories of demonstrations at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The pro-gun demonstrators seem to view any effort to regulate who is able to buy guns as an assault on the Second Amendment. In their view anyone, including Chris Harper-Mercer or his mother, has a constitutional right to stockpile an arsenal of guns and ammunition. Until Oct. 1, Chris Harper-Mercer was one of them, exercising his Second Amendment rights. He’s gone now, but who doubts that another unstable gun hoarder somewhere is waiting to take his place?

Wayne Ferrell, Eugene

 

THE COMMON THREAD

My husband grew up in Woodstock, Illinois, in 1947. In high school it was not unusual to bring a rifle to hunt or target shoot afterwards. What is happening now? Why are guns being blamed for all the tragic recent shootings? Why is a stigma being placed on the mentally ill? My most creative, brilliant friends live within those realms.

The most in-depth studies being done are revealing a common thread connecting each individual shooter! The baseline to all this violence has been pointing to a negative reaction to prescribed antidepressants and other SSRI medications.

Every one of 27 “shooters” (including six of the latest shooters) has been prescribed one or more of the following: Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Ritalin, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Trazadone, Benzodiazepine or a mix thereof.

A similar warning on all of these medications reads: “Patients who are starting on antidepressant therapy should be monitored and observed closely for clinical worsening: suicidality, unusual changes in behavior such as becoming agitated, irritable, hostile, aggressive and impulsive.”

Will this warning alleviate the big drug companies from all responsibilities? Will this discovery lead to safer medicine for the people who really need it? 

Eve Woodward-Shawl, Eugene

 

OUT OF THE DARKNESS

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in this country. It touches millions of lives — people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds, but the research is clear: Suicide is preventable, and the more people who stand up for suicide prevention and mental health, the more lives we can save. 

If you’ve lost someone to suicide, or you or someone you know suffers from a mental health condition, or if you just want to support a very worthy cause, please join us for the Out of the Darkness Walk to fight suicide on Oct. 24 at Alton Baker Park at 10 am. 

Funds raised support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and its bold goal to reduce the annual suicide rate in the U.S. 20 percent by 2025 through research, education, advocacy and support. 

These walks are truly uplifting experiences, and they grow every year. Hope to see you there.

Sara K. Scofield, AFSP Advocate, Eugene

 

PROGRESS OFFERS HOPE

Sam Porter’s evaluation in his Viewpoint Oct. 1 of the state of mankind provides philosophical hope to Guy McPherson’s glooming predictions. Even more hope comes with the fact that, though not fully realized, the great progress provided by the Millennium Development Goals are a cause for celebration. Abject poverty was cut in half, more children are in school and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are within reach to control. 

The new Sustainable Development Goals offer universal hope in these and environmental areas over the next 15 years. Senate Bill 1911, the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, is a part of this hope. This bill targets ending the preventable deaths of 16,000 children and more than 800 mothers each day. 

We can take action by asking our senators to support it. So let us rise up to humanity’s greatest opportunity to make a difference!

Willie Dickerson, Snohomish, Washington

 

A NEW BEGINNING

Sam Porter in his Oct. 1 Viewpoint responds to Guy McPherson’s dire predictions July 16. He describes in the biblical terms of the apocalypse the end time of the present age. This revelation, the “unveiling of the present age,” is our nightmare from which we must awaken. 

The truth can be frightening, overwhelming and we desperately try to avoid it. It is helpful to understand how our avoidance operates. The Swiss-born psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ famous scheme for the five stages of grief, which follow upon learning that one has a terminal illness, are illuminating.

Denial (this can’t be happening, not to me), anger (how can this happen to me?), bargaining (just let me live to see my children graduate), depression (I’m going to die, so why bother with anything?), acceptance (I can’t fight it, so I may as well prepare for it). 

Slavoj Zizek, in his book The End Time, applies Kubler-Ross’ five stages to our social consciousness and our attempts to deal with the forthcoming environmental and global apocalypse: The first reaction is ideological denial (there is no fundamental disorder). 

The second reaction is anger at the injustices of the new world order (violent protests against the World Trade Organization for example, or the rise of religious fundamentalism against globalization and neo-liberalism in the Middle East). 

The third reaction is bargaining (if we change things here and there, modest environmental reforms, life could perhaps go on as before). 

When the bargaining fails, the fourth reaction is depression and withdrawal, as in the prevalence of the post-traumatic stress disorder today. Finally, acceptance: One no longer perceives the situation as a threat, but as the chance for a new beginning.

We can choose life. Dire predictions notwithstanding, we can still act to ensure a livable world. It is crucial to know this: We can meet our needs without destroying our life-support system on planet Earth. We are living in the End Times and we can begin to perceive the crisis as a chance for a new beginning. There is a wonderful slogan from the Paris demonstrations of May 1968 which should guide us in the troubled time ahead: Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible. “Be realistic. Demand the impossible!” 

The Rev. Gary James, Unitarian Universalist Church, Eugene

 

FOLLOW THE CODES

Safety and land change is the key focus to Oakleigh/ McClure neighbors, and the community! Neighbors and surrounding supports are united.

The Oakleigh Meadow Cohousing (OMC) stated in The Register-Guard Sept. 21 that the property is a “vacant lot lying fallow,” more misinformation by OMC hopefuls. The vacant lot is a green meadow that used to have many more trees until OMC acquired it. Back then, they stated publicly that they bought it to preserve it. This vacant lot lies in the floodplain and Greenway along city parkland and the river. Neighbors didn’t have enough money to appeal the Greenway permit. 

The city should be a better steward of the river. This maximum-density condo project, if built, will set a precedent for developments all along the river. There is nothing “modest” about OMC or their plans. 

The fire code has to do with right of way (ROW), choke point, width of the lane, low traffic flow and other factors. The International Appendix D103 explains things quite well. Building permits play an important role in a PUD. 

The city of Eugene needs to follow codes. Please read and understand the EC 9.8320. We don’t see consistency in the planning department. 

OMC is probably eager to start breaking ground, and putting their life savings into their home. Neighbors would like this battle over, too. Flexibility, following codes and saving 25 cedar trees will close the deal. Neighbors are showing evidence and OMC is offering assumptions. Visit the meadow!

Anne Love, Oakleigh Lane, Eugene

 

RECLAIM DEMOCRACY

Support Local Food Rights is gathering signatures to put the Right to a Local Food System of Lane County Charter amendment on the May 2016 ballot. Why do we need this? Because corporate industrial agricultural power-brokers should not be determining what farming should look like in our county. They don’t value our precious food system like we do. Our local farmers are the experts in matters of farming and have a vested interest in the long-term health of our county’s farming lands. 

We Lane County residents have a right to decide what agricultural activities should take place here in this place we call home. We have the right to save and share seed, as farmers have been doing for generations. We have the right to say no to corporate GMO agriculture that threatens to contaminate our farms and undermine traditional farming practices. We have a right to protect ourselves from corporate harm. We have the right to reclaim our democracy and be the decision-makers and architects of our collective future.

When asked, please sign the petition to ensure the people’s right to be heard through your vote in May. And vote yes! Who decides? We the people decide!

Michelle Holman, Community Rights Lane County, Deadwood

 

NOT SO PROGRESSIVE

It seems to me that your newspaper strikes a progressive chord in the community. Is it progressive to carry full-page advertising for cigarettes, especially ads that include offers for obtaining these cigarettes at cut-rate prices? Impressionable young people read this paper.

Bill Hampton, Eugene

 

 

A STRONG LIBRARY

Only a small percentage of children in our community are able to access free books through the Imagination Library program and Start Making A Reader Today (SMART). While these are excellent programs, a strong public library expands access to books throughout the community and to a broader range of children.

Access to books for continued learning and enjoyment for adults is an important public service recognized since the first lending library was established by Benjamin Franklin in 1731. In addition, it is clear from the research that reading to and with children at an early age prepares them for public school education and enhances their ability to learn. A strong public library supports those goals by expanding access to books for all Eugene children. 

The Eugene Public Library levy will go to support these efforts by expanding service at the main library and branches. I urge you to join me in supporting this measure.

Craig A. Smith, Eugene

 

PAYING OUR HEROES

While I don’t spend much time hunting for bargains, I recognize a good deal when I see it.

As I was filling out my ballot to renew the Springfield Fire & Life Safety Levy, I realized that I’ll be paying 98 cents a week to keep an entire fire station, completely staffed with firefighters, rescue and medical personnel, open and operating for the next five years.

Every time any of us buys a cup of coffee, sips a soda or enjoys a cold beer, we spend more than 98¢. And I don’t even want to think about what we spend weekly for our cable or satellite TV service so that we can watch actors portraying heroes on Chicago Fire — 98 cents a week get us the REAL heroes.

Since the first levy was voter approved 12 years ago, we’ve enjoyed emergency response times of under 7 minutes because of the number of personnel and pieces of equipment that are able to respond from 1 (or more) of the five fully staffed and equipped stations. Closure of one of those stations will result in longer response time in many neighborhoods — extra minutes that are apt to be costly in property damage and well being of the seriously ill or injured. Longer response times might also impact our fire insurance ratings and premiums.

So, please do as I did, set your beverage down and take a minute to grab your ballot and say, “Yes, we want to continue the high lever of emergency service we’ve become accustomed to.”

Kenny Eilers, Springfield

 

PREVENTING VIOLENCE

In the recent Democratic presidential debate the candidates included discussion of gun control and our need for improved health care. I am grateful for the recognition that these issues are on the national agenda. As we here in Oregon are grieving with our Roseburg neighbors following the tragedy at UCC, health care and gun control have been discussed and argued at great length. We all are seeking to find solutions to the recurring incidents involving gun violence and deaths across our nation. 

As a retired registered nurse, I believe that more guns do not make us safer. I do believe that with our state seeking the best way to provide health care as a human right, thus covering everyone, we will eventually see a decrease in the tragic deaths that occur in our homes, our schools, our businesses and on our streets. We will all be living safer, healthier lives because we will have access to a health-care system that provides preventive care as well as treatment for both mental and physical illnesses throughout our entire lives. 

Shirley Kingsbury, Eugene

 

THE REAL WINNER

Who won the Democratic debate? The corporate media has declared the front-runner a winner because she didn’t stumble, but almost all of the social media and focus groups were unanimous that Bernie Sanders was the clear winner. Bernie received $2.5 million in contributions after the debate. Each participant had different goals. Bernie’s goal was to restore civility to the debates and to steer the talks towards real issues like climate change, income inequality, the influence of corporate money and unfettered capitalism. He was clearly successful in that goal and the Democratic Party as a whole clearly benefited from a debate that stands in clear contrast to the Republican clown show.

The American people are hungry for a president that is incorruptible, but that scares the big-money players to death because then they might loose some of their power to bribe politicians and buy elections and they may actually have to pay their fair share. Imagine the people wanting to restore their democracy! Bernie is the only candidate not willing to sell his soul for corporate influence and PAC money; instead he is receiving hundreds of thousands of small contributions averaging $30. Bernie wants to get money out of politics, and wants Wall Street to pay for free college tuition. He wants the fossil fuel industry to pay a carbon tax so our grandchildren might have a future. Could that be why the corporate media is not giving Bernie the attention he deserves?

 Jerry Brule, Eugene

 

INSURANCE HIKE

Beginning January 2016, health insurance will no longer be affordable for Oregonians who buy their own health insurance. My PacificSource monthly premium will increase $318 in January, and that’s with the tax credit. How can this be legal?

Lorin Hawley, Eugene

 

AN ONGOING THREAT

We are a group of Women in Black that have been standing for peace weekly on a street corner in Eugene, Oregon, since before the Iraq War. Today we are writing with an urgent request that you respond firmly to the threats being made by Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu in regards to East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The onslaught on the people of Gaza last year led to massive deaths and wounding of innocent men, women and children and the total destruction of entire neighborhoods. It is all too likely that this will be a repeat performance in a different location. 

These military onslaughts are reinforced by hugely repressive policies from destroying homes and olive trees, the taking of vast swaths of land for settler communities, limitations of travel, embargos, harassment of children on their way to school, the list goes on. These policies do not represent the Israel that we, Women in Black, support. And it is hard for us to believe that they are policies you support either. They are, in fact a threat to the region and to the people of Israel itself.

President Obama has the power to act to end these policies! He can publicly denounce them. He can join others in the U.N. Security Council to denounce them. He can end U.S. military aid to Israel, which already has a huge military arsenal. The U.S. does not need to be the hand-maiden of these atrocious policies.

Obama has courageously overseen the negotiation of the Iran agreement, a significant win for effective diplomacy. Please, urge him to use all the influence that he has to end these Israeli policies.

 Peg Morton and the 2015 Women in Black, Eugene

 

BERNIE VS. THE PUPPET

The Democratic debate was very revealing to me. In one sentence Bernie Sanders brought up two of the most important solutions to critical issues of our times. He wants to implement a carbon tax to prepare and mitigate global warming, which is threatening all life on Earth and campaign finance reform to help our country to become a working democracy. In order to have laws so the people will have the power, not multi-national billion dollar corporations, we need to implement publicly funded political campaigns. 

Bernie is walking the talk as the average donation to his campaign is $35.00 per person. He has a long-term grasp on the most pressing concerns and common sense solutions for our country. He is working for the average citizen and knows our middle class is quickly being dismantled while the wealthy are getting wealthier. If you want to know who a politician will be working for if elected, follow the money. Hillary is another puppet for big money.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter

 

A REGULATED MILITIA

In order to abide by the Second Amendment, thus having a “well regulated militia,” I suggest the following: In order to “regulate” arms and their owners, all men and women who wish to possess a gun must be trained by the military during a period similar to the Swiss system. Those people who enter this “militia” will be required to maintain proficiency and responsibility. Any convictions involving firearms will void the right of that person to possess arms. Such a system would end the present situation, which ignores the mandate for regulation.

Our founders could not have been aware of the coming innovations in weapons of mass murder. There can be no excuse for not adhering to the mandate for a regulated militia.

Robert England, Eugene

 

SICK LEAVE TRADE-OFFS

The new local mandated employee sick leave policy is being implemented by local employers. A good thing, right? Well, maybe not so for many who already have some job benefits. The employment compensation model called paid time off (PTO) for many jobs is actually stripping employees of previous paid holidays and vacations. Supposedly this is being done to meet the mandate for paid sick leave. 

Formerly, many employers offered paid federal holidays and designated paid vacation and sick leave including the ability to “bank” your unused sick leave or even vacations to donate to other employees facing a bigger health challenge not covered by sick leave.

For many employees, that’s now gone. The former benefits have been eliminated by many employers who have decided that “you voters wanted this mandated sick leave so we’re going immediately to a PTO model. You’ll have X paid days a year to do with what you wish so manage your time well and you won’t have a problem.” 

The big six holidays and paid vacations are gone. But there are 10 days you can use for sick leave if you wish! What do you want to bet that people will still come to work sick because if they use their sick leave their paychecks in holiday weeks are seriously messed up. Employers who supported this legislation knew exactly what they were doing.

One has to ask in all this: when will employers realize it is their employees who are making the employers money and further realize that they should treat their employees as valued parts of their business enterprise?

Sarah Katherine Moore, Harrisburg

 

WHY SHOULD WE TRUST?

Should the citizens of a country trust their government and relinquish their arms — when that government has recently: 1) intentionally bombed one of the only hospitals in northeastern Afghanistan, run by Nobel prize-winner Doctors Without Borders, killing hundreds, 2) has a widespread torture program specifically aimed at producing false confessions to justify war, 3) used chemical weapons attacks against civilians — which greatly increased the rate of birth defects, 4) uses depleted uranium instead of lead in ammunition, which can cause cancer and birth defects for decades, 5) sent one of the main creators of the death squads in El Salvador into Iraq to set up paramilitary death squads and torture centers.

You might want to think about this for a minute. Perhaps it’s OK for citizens to trust this government because most of the above war crimes were done to brown-skinned peoples in faraway lands? Most citizens believe that said government would never do anything like this to its own people. 

 Jim Showker, Eugene

 

HUMAN NATURE TO KILL

This has been going on since time immemorial. Should we get rid of cars and trucks, too? Cars are the biggest killer between the ages of 18 to sometime in your 60s. Why not get rid of cars, or greatly reduce them, so only the safest drivers are on the road? You know why? Because people do not want to. Cars are very dangerous; you probably know at least one person who died in an accident or was in one.

Why do we not regulate cars more carefully, so the killing on the road goes down? Because people do not want to give up killing each other. That is the truth; they will never give it up. Wars still go on, murder, abuse and that is the real problem: human beings. 

Even our close relatives the chimps do exactly the same thing; chimps murder other chimp groups, including all the babies, to take over their resources and area. If you get rid of all guns, women would not be able to defend themselves, burglars would take over and the police would just give up (they already have). And if you get rid of all guns, there are plenty of other tools throughout history that have killed a lot of people; they did not even need guns.

 Have we been successful in making all the nations give up their nuclear bombs? There’s your answer.

D.H. Bucher, Eugene