Eugene Weekly : Letters : 7.12.07


I had a short story of mine recently posted by your company (“Bloody Hell” Viewpoint, 7/5), and I’m not quite sure that that is a good thing. I wanted my message to give insight from the service member’s viewpoint, not become a message of anti-war. I’m a very proud Marine. I love my country, God and Corps.

I love every person that supports us or hates us. That’s part of why we join — to fight for the rights of those who are either not capable or too cowardly to do it themselves.

Upon viewing your website, I saw a letter to the editor (“Wrecking Crew,” 7/5) from someone who was clearly anti-troop. I was flabbergasted. I can understand anti-war. I even sympathize with some families that have lost their own. But for someone to be anti-troop is just ignorant. And to post a story from someone who calls service members stupid is simply fantastic. Thank you.

Again, I believe in freedom of speech and love that freedom. But how about posting something pro-troop for a change? Why not show some of my brothers and sisters that you care? Or is it too hard to be equal or compassionate?

I know and understand that by writing you, I’m going to accomplish absolutely nothing, but I figured I’d try anyway. That’s the great thing about my brothers and sisters that I work with. When things are wrong, even when it seems hopeless, we try. We don’t give up. And we fight for what’s right. Sometimes it’s a lonely road. But we fight.

Cpl. Grant E. Monge, USMC HLT, Baghdad LNO



As the Oregon Country Fair approaches, I am struck again by its similarity to Christmas in the city’s mentality. Elves are busy working; fancy clothes are being sewn; special food is being prepared and lots and lots of happy intentions are directed towards these three special days. And like Christmas, the fair does not always live up to the fantasy. We can infuse these days with so much hope and expectation that they cannot possibly live up to it. Tragedy can strike someone’s family and create an unhappy anniversary.

This year I plan to have a good time at the fair. I’ve dealt with my old ghosts as much as I can. Still, I send out extra love for those for whom this time of year is the Eugene equivalent of being Jewish at Christmas. There is nothing wrong with you because you have not found happiness at the fair, in Christmas or in other holidays. It’s how we live day to day that counts the most; what we’re like offstage, in ordinary clothes, that matters. You will find your place.

I’ve heard that there is some conflict between performers and crafters because the performers often have to spend money to perform at the fair, and some crafters make enough money to last all year. I do not know how this will be resolved, but as an artist who is not making money at the fair, I still want to support my performer friends. I’m suggesting that we artists who may not have money to give performers give them some of our art. I’ve never been sorry I gave my art away.

Ruby Colette aka Ruby the Resourceress, Eugene



I was present at the Eugene Public Library Storytime on June 13 when the police gave their program. The information presented by the two parents who wrote their irate objections (6/28) was colored by emotionalism and was not entirely accurate. I would like to present the facts as I saw them.

First of all, the “gun” issue: Sgt. Barrong, a soft-spoken, petite policewoman, did not show the children her gun — she simply spoke of it as being a weapon which she carried and had never fired in all her years on the police force, “unlike the police you see shooting on television.” She also stressed the special training required to safely use the weapon and that it was only used as a last resort. She did not say that police are the only people who “get to” use guns. This implies a special treat, which was not stated or intended.

Also, she did not brandish her night stick, but shook it once in order to extend it to its full length. I was standing next to the door and saw three parents leave, not 10, as stated. In reality, when Lisa Barrong was introduced as giving a program on the police and their function, parents were free to take their children and leave. The doors were not locked.

A few other observations: Preschool storytime is a program for 3- to 5-year-olds. Not infants. Five-year-olds are not babies.

The public library exists to disseminate information over a broad spectrum. It is available to everyone in the community.

It is unrealistic for those who hold beliefs not addressed in this spectrum to demand that they be catered to. This is still a free country. Parents can teach their children anything they wish and clarify any inaccuracies as they see fit. It is unfair, however, to expect the EPL or the Eugene Police Department to act otherwise than in the function for which they are intended.

Karen Ecker, Eugene



After reading the Viewpoint by Rachel Carnes in the June 28 EW, I was left somewhat bewildered by the very apparently anti-police slant of her article. My incredulity was occasioned by her disproportionate vehemence and anger at what seems to be an innocent presentation about a police sergeant’s tools of her trade and how she uses them to protect the public.

Talk about a tempest in a teapot. Carnes has overreached in her quest to prevent the police from explaining their occupation to young people. Police try to do their best in their efforts to assure our young people that they are here to protect them from “bad guys.” I heard nothing that causes me concern in the sergeant’s remarks. I would agree with Police Chief Robert Lehner. It seems to me Sgt. Barrong did a very good job of explaining all about herself and by extension other police officers, while gearing her presentation to the understanding of these young children. This is reality. It is what the police must do to protect us all.

A fact check of some of Carnes’ misstatements shows another attempt at overkill. For instance, 10 people did not leave the room as stated by her. Sergeant Barrong did not say: “When bad people fight, sometimes I have to hit them with this [baton], to make them stop.” What was said was: “Sometimes I have to use it to protect people from getting hurt.” The waving gestures with the baton had to do with her explaining that she might use it to move branches out of the way when traveling and moving in thick brush.

Sgt. Barrong never removed her weapon from its holster.

It is certainly up to parents to help their children understand and interpret when they are exposed to what they feel are bad or scary situations. Preventing exposure to these things can never be assured.

Additionally, parents must take care not to project their own fears on their children.

R. E. Walker, Eugene



“Terror” is what those who have no home feel. Those who have no protection from the tyranny of the majority, who cannot protect what they value, may, themselves, turn to violence in a desperate bid for empathy; to say, “Now you can feel my pain.” Judge Ann Aiken’s convicted did not find it expedient to commit arson; they did not believe their actions to be a convenient way to stifle resistance to their cause. What they did was last-ditch, and it was wrong.

That said, I have heard people fear that this labeling of activists as “terrorists” will dangerously dilute the true meaning of using terror for power. But I see it another way, too: This label divides us from people we could otherwise understand as our own sort, people who looked at the apathy of our compartmentalizing culture and felt despair, maybe, or anger or a drive to start another revolution like our own. The Founding Fathers told us not to make the government responsible for our morality. We should not let one judge tell us that those who seek to wake us up before it is too late are now our enemies.

We need a kind of “I am Spartacus” moment, where we refuse to let our own people stand isolated and villainized for trying to revive our better nature, even though their means were criminal. Otherwise we shall find that it is the law, not terror, which has paralyzed us.

Gavain U’Prichard, Lowell



Michael Moore has again challenged our elected representatives and with humor and facts! His Sicko is a convincing argument for single payer universal health care. His best help was from MP Tony Benn saying, “If we have the money to kill people [with war], we’ve got the money to help people.”

We don’t need middlemen insurance corporations in charge of our medical care, and we now know that having insurance doesn’t keep patients from bankruptcy. A quarter of all bankruptcy cases are patients who thought they were covered by their health insurance. Are we embarrased to have the World Health Organization list America as number 37 in providing health care for our citizens? France is number 1.

I think the best part of the film was Moore’s plea for a “WE” instead of “ME” America where we build a caring community. Can we do it?

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



I appreciate Ann Tattersall’s outrage with neighbors who irresponsibly let their cats freely multiply (6/28), but calling her neighbors “clearly psychotic” is unfounded.

As a person who has been psychotic, I know first hand how frightening it can be; I felt overwhelmed and distrustful of those around me, and I needed constant support to survive. Psychiatric criteria define psychosis as a fundamental departure from “reality,” one that affects a person’s ability to function in the world. Irresponsibly letting cats breed does not necessarily make someone psychotic.

Name-calling is not a way to solve problems, especially if it comes at the expense of a whole group of people, namely those who have been or are psychotic. The mentally “ill” are already misunderstood; let’s not perpetuate the problem.

Quinn Robinson, Eugene



They were defenseless, and by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards, wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing, went on a rampage against 33 women.

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to cell bars above her head and left her hanging overnight, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.

Thus unfolded The Night of Terror of Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoguan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. They were initially arrested for blocking sidewalk traffic.

For weeks the womens’ only water came from an open pail. Their food, all of it colorless slop, was infested with worms. When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured this liquid down until she vomited, daily, for weeks, until word was smuggled out to the press.

However, some women still won’t vote this year. Hope you will.

For anyone who wants it, this story was made into an HBO movie, Iron Jawed Angels. Happy summer to all.

Alexandra Myers, Eugene



In reply to Johnni Prince’s letter in the June 28 EW, I would like the community and Greenhill’s donors to know that Greenhill does kill adoptable animals.

In March I took cats I had rescued to Greenhill based on the reassurances from a friend and Greenhill staff that Greenhill did not kill adoptable animals or kill for space. I visited these cats at least twice a week for three weeks. I was reassured each time that they would find their “forever homes” and I didn’t need to worry. Numerous times, I told staff (senior and otherwise) I would take them back into my rescue cattery for any reason. Stray Cat Alliance also offered to take the cats and find them homes. These cats had two adoption possibilities. Greenhill killed them anyway.

Their excuse for killing was for “medical” issues. I’ve obtained the records for the cats, and only one had a notation that it needed teeth cleaning. Greenhill has a fund to pay for this kind of medical care for animals. Opinions I have from three different veterinarians state that dental care is not a serious, untreatable medical condition.

Their website defines “treatable” animals: “Greenhill considers animals treatable if they are not adoptable, but could become adoptable with reasonable effort. Animals that are considered treatable include: Sick or injured animals that need appropriate medical care; and traumatized or unsocialized animals that need behavioral modification and/or foster care.”

Greenhill has refused to acknowledge their mistake, and in fact, didn’t show any remorse for killing these adoptable cats. How many more adoptable animals have they killed that no one but them knows about?

Kathy Norris, Homeless Animals’ Lifeline Organization, Junction City



Can anyone please tell me what “edgy” means? One Eugene bar club seems to think that any view that doesn’t fit into their self-described “edginess” is a misinformed enemy combatant. I’ve written three letters to EW to help stop the commercialization of violence and misogyny in a few (discontinued) weekly commercial ads. My voice has surely been only one among many that do not want Eugene to get any smuttier by publishing coarsening images in the ads of EW.

In retaliation to my remarks, the bar has named and targeted me personally in a dubious ad recently. What bar, especially a bar that thrives on trumping-up a “bad kids — kinky bar” image to sell to Eugene, would ever say about itself: “They have more theme nights than a senior center.” Not one. The only intention of this ad was to intimidate me personally. The ad makes no sense commercially.

Well, as far as “edgy” is concerned and asking the question if views are valid without enough “edgy-life credentials,” I just might have enough: Went to high school with Alice Cooper and gang, sang country and jazz, experienced Woodstock, raised kids, faced death and dying, traveled and studied Zen in Dutch and French monasteries, taught and now live pretty fully with a humble trailer park base camp. I am their ad’s “trailer trash.”

Still, what does edgy really mean: Razor’s edgy? Cliff’s edgy? Reckless? Ambitious? Defiant? Out-of-the-box? Unconventional? Touchy? Tough? Being right here? Escape?

Deb Huntley, Eugene