March 11, 1996 in Nation/World

Letters To The Editor



GSL rule illogical and unfair

It’s nice to see debate has finally gotten publicity.

The March 5 letters, “Parent’s opinion debatable” and “GSL rule makes sense” appear superficial and menial. William Gast (Roundtable, Feb. 24) was attacked for expressing his disgust with rules imposed on the Mead debate team. His opinion was anything but rude. By attacking him for his opinion, the first author became the rude writer.

In her letter, Phoebe Trombley of Gonzaga Prep stated that “we are representing the Greater Spokane League.” If students’ successes are limited and are forced to make way for those less qualified, is it really a good representation of the GSL or is it merely poor sportsmanship?”

This rule has limited the success of students because of the district in which they happen to live. Furthermore, many students may never know if they earned their spot at state or if the opportunity came to them because of this rule.

Nienke Crick stated, “one school is allowed to dominate because of team size” and followed with “Hard work, not team size, sends students to state.”

Gonzaga Prep has as large a team as Mead, so certainly team size is not what causes a team to dominate. The team merely helps its members to succeed. It is state individual events, not state team events.

When Mead’s football team isn’t doing as well as Central Valley’s football team, CV isn’t forced to take some less- qualified players from Mead with them to state. Why should this apply in debate? Aimee Winslow Spokane

Rule proponents cut no ice

I am responding to two letters on debate policy (“GSL rule makes sense” and “Parent’s opinion debatable,” March 5).

The writers advocated the Greater Spokane League’s new policy that limits to four per event the number of people a school can take to state. Both said that under this policy the most-qualified speakers will go to state.


Under this policy, some qualified speakers will go and others will be replaced by less-qualified speakers. The GSL will not be represented by true excellence.

In her letter, Phoebe Trombley compared debate to sports and said that similar methods of limiting state applicants occur in sports. If this were true, GSL sports would follow this procedure: Since Gonzaga has had a really good football team for the past 10 years, it is time that they step aside and let North Central go to state.

Does this sound fair?

Nienke Crick wrote that his daughter and three of her teammates went to state with really high scores. If they had such high scores, why is this policy needed? With very high marks they should have qualified to go to state on their own.

Finally, Crick said that “Hard work, not economic status or team size, sends students to state.” Exactly. Teams don’t decide who goes to state, individual performance decides. Therefore, people who work the hardest and do the best should represent us at state, not those who feel they are disadvantaged by team size or economic status. Elysia Hanna, Mead debater Elk


Keep us informed of Evans case

I read, with a lot of sadness, the recent stories in The Spokesman-Review about the murder of Russ Evans. My heart goes out to that family. How they must have suffered over the last seven years, having lost a son so tragically, and then not seeing any action taken in terms of the killers being brought to justice.

My questions are:

Why didn’t the prosecuting attorney, Jim Sweetser, have the common decency to return the family’s phone calls?

What have the police done with the evidence produced by the family’s private detective?

My expectation is that The Spokesman-Review will continue to monitor this case so that it isn’t just forgotten. For the sake of the Evans family, we can’t let that happen. Barbara Shaw Spokane

Blood taints marshals’ awards

With the recent awards presented to five U.S. Marshals for their actions at Ruby Ridge, I question what acts they did that justify such recognition?

None of these five admitted to the killing of Samuel Weaver, but several admit to shooting Striker, Sam’s dog.

Lon Horiuchi shot Vicki Weaver in the face. This is a designated target area trained snipers strive for, although hijackers with hostages are the common targets. He “missed” by two feet.

Now it seems to me that if these officials won’t admit to murdering Samuel, or take credit for the kills they made at Ruby Ridge, except for the dog, then do we assume their awards are for intentionally taking the dog’s life?

The spectacle of murder, injustice, conspiracy, lying and governmental cover-up permeated every aspect of this enforcement action. If not, then Kevin Harris and each surviving member of the Weaver family would not have and share the views of millions of Americans, as well as people in other countries.

I can only imagine the award ceremony had the baby been killed along with her mother.

The Ruby Ridge murders will never be forgotten or forgiven, and the tarnished awards of merit given the the U.S. Marshals will never shine brightly through the mist of blood that coats them. Ken Brown Post Falls


Errant youths handled badly

When people want to try a child as an adult, they evidently feel that 14-year-olds are of legal age for drinking alcohol, voting, driving, not wearing motorcycle helmets, deciding whether or not to go to school, abortion, marriage, war, etc.

It makes me sick when, after a child commits murder, the topic is whether or not to try him or her as an adult. With double standards like this we are telling our kids there is law and there is a way around the law.

Each of us as parents must be responsible for our kids. We must make sure our kids are accountable for their actions.

When a kid does commit a crime, he or she should be held accountable with a punishment that is consistent with their age, mentally and physically.

A child’s mind changes so much from year to year that a 14-year-old killer could turn into a 15-year-old who is truly sorry for his actions, and the following year be counseling other kids about having respect for each other and the damage that ridiculing other can create.

Wouldn’t a jail sentence with monitoring for remorse and maturity be better than throwing our children into prison for a long, set sentence as if they are supposedly mature adults?

It sounds to me like home life may not have been so much the problem with Barry Loukaitis as classmates not being taught respect for others less fortunate than themselves. Rick Nelson Mead

We mustn’t sacrifice basic freedoms

For years numerous and fervent assaults have been made on the Second Amendment in the name of stemming violence. Kenneth Stern now attacks the First Amendment’s freedom of assembly provision, citing the fear of future violent acts as justification.

In “Militia ‘preparing for war”’ (Feb. 27), Stern calls for laws banning right-wing militia groups. How will we define these? Is a group of hunting buddies who all voted for Ronald Reagan and who meet over a beer breaking this new federal ban Stern wants?

Hey! Right-wing, they own guns and they are in a group - quick, call the thought police!

Freedom of assembly gives individual freedom of speech the power and solidarity to bring about change. Could the civil rights movement have been as successful if Dr. Martin Luther King’s followers had been denied the right to organize? Can democracy and freedom be dangerous? Yes, if people become lazy or complacent.

Have groups like the KKK or Black Panthers dominated the nation? No, because people of good character assembled, spoke, were heard and acted to reject their litany of hate.

All ideas in a free society must have the right to be heard. People must have the right to gather and talk with people who hold similar beliefs, and to form political, social or religious organizations.

Laws compatible with the Bill of Rights exist to combat the violence while preserving our freedoms. But, if our fundamental rights are sacrificed in the name of curbing violence, the right-wing militia groups will be the least of our worries. Gregg A. Leibert Chewelah, Wash.

Technicality shouldn’t abort case

I see in The Spokesman-Review that we have let another alleged criminal out on the streets to possibly prey on innocent citizens (“Prosecutor’s error forces judge to drop rape charge,” News, March 6.

The second-degree rape case against Tony Ledenko was dropped after a deputy prosecutor was unable to be at the trial. The prosecutor says that Ledenko’s attorney had agreed to a postponement, but when she returned she found that the necessary waiver had not been secured.

So what? What do these technicalities have to do with whether Ledenko is guilty or not? After all, witnesses saw him drag the woman by the ankles into his room.

When police, prosecutors, district attorneys, etc., violate these irrelevant technicalities, such as misreading the criminal his rights, not allowing a phone call in the allotted time, etc., the officer or attorney in question should be reprimanded for the violation. End of story.

The defendant should go to trial to find out if he is guilty or not. Michael Wiman Spokane


U.S. interests being sold out

Re: “Trade deficit at 7-year high … Gap with Mexico is largest ever” Spokesman-Review, Feb. 29)

The U.S. trade imbalance has gone over $11 billion, according to the Commerce Department. What was in 1994 a trade surplus for us in Mexico turned into a $15.4 billion deficit overnight.

Apologists are quick to smooth over the facts, suggesting early shakeout effects from NAFTA do not portray a long-term picture.

The truth is that it could very well get much worse for us. Even if Japan cuts back on imports to us, China, Mexico and Canada are taking us to the laundry. Why is this?

Mexico and Canada are on the ropes economically, and we’re supposed to bail them out. Our loss equals their gain.

If you think American factories relocating to Mexico and Canadian lumber flooding across the northern frontier are healthy, you may wish to vote for NAFTA and GATT sell-out candidates in November.

My vote will go to a person who refuses to sell us out at the expense of political expediency. Bob Spaulding Post Falls

Letters reflect brainwashing

The letters (Perspective, March 3) from school children reflect the brainwashing occurring in public schools.

Note that the big concerns were animal rights (let’s not eat them!) class envy (athletes are overpaid), pollution (we are destroying the environment and animals are dying because of humans), animal rights - again - (it’s cruel to wear an animal’s skin), discrimination prevails in America (why isn’t there a woman president?), minding other people’s business (“no smoking” laws for the world!), and telling people to “be fair” (when life isn’t fair).

These letters were supposed to represent the wisdom of children but, unfortunately, they only represent what children are being taught: animal “rights” are more important than human rights; all Americans are racist, sexist, bigoted, etc.; humans are basically evil (they want to destroy the environment), and that it just isn’t right that some people make a lot of money.

The underlying attitude seems to be that we must give government the power to solve all our problems. Until we reject the very idea that government agencies and programs will improve the world, our government will become more dictatorial and anti-freedom.

Children and adults should know that government doesn’t work (as Libertarian candidate for president Harry Browne states in his latest book, “Why Government Doesn’t Work”). Look for it in your book store and vote for freedom in the next election. Janice Moerschel Spokane


Quit moralizing and save lives

After reading the March 6 article, “Report issues sobering statistics on teens, AIDS,” I was amazed to read there are people who feel educating teens on AIDS prevention will encourage these same young people to take up the bad habits they are warned against.

Would we actually consider holding back safe driving education for fear some young ones would take up driving through red lights or driving at night with their lights off? It’s ridiculous!

We need to drop the morality issue completely and educate all our young people on the extreme dangers of this virus. AIDS kills, and anything we can do to prevent it is our moral responsibility. Susan Simonds Spokane

Diet can be healthy and frugal

This is in response to Gail Nitta’s March 5 letter about the high cost of organic food.

It is true that organic and pesticide-free food is expensive (I will skip for now the long term cost justification of lower medical bills). It is, though, quite easy to prepare and eat healthy meals that are also cheap.

Skip the meat or cut way back. It’s expensive, high in fat and just not necessary.

Buy good-quality brown rice or mixes of wild and brown rice. They are available in bulk at many chain grocery stores.

Eat lots of pasta. I have fun with different shapes and colors. I mix my rice or pasta with a little cheese, maybe some herbs, tomatoes, whatever I have around. Eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies. They are expensive in the winter, but much more satisfying and vitamin-packed than the canned variety.

Buy a good vegetarian cookbook like The Moosewood Cookbook. The recipes are simple, with easily found ingredients, and you can add a little meat on occasion if you want.

Changing habits is the hard part. But once you find some new recipes and get used to eating a little lighter, you’ll feel much better. And yes, I love chocolate, too! Carol May Spokane


Armchair judge sadly mistaken

I am responding to Bill Arnold’s Feb. 17 letter pertaining to Gavin Ritzler’s murder case.

He is correct that the reporting of this case was horrid. Unfortunately, we have no control over how the media choose their wording.

The two people Arnold bashes are very close friends of mine. I feel that Arnold and anyone who agrees with his opinion should walk a mile in their shoes before passing judgment on them.

Ritzler has never whined about taking responsibility for his actions. His punishment for his crime has never been a real issue for him, I believe. What has is his concern for Rea Holbrook and sense of loss for Kory. But this goes to show how our society is quick to crucify someone.

What happened to Kory was tragic. He was a beautiful child, and he touched many people’s lives. But to then judge a mother as Arnold did Rea, saying she should be charged with criminal negligence, is ludicrous.

If you don’t know them, you don’t know what wonderful people they are, or what a wonderful child they raised. Becky Gleese Spokane

No need to have a hissy

Great balls of fire, Pete Bromberg! (“Story was complete waste of space,” Roundtable, March 6). What is your problem? The woman used a 410 shotgun to remove a callus from her big toe. Drunk, yes. Callus gone, yes, and then some.

Your letter and mine waste space, but I do believe we have to read or hear about the idiosyncrasies of the human race. Pathetic yes, but it started my day with a chuckle.

Thank heaven she wasn’t constipated. No telling what could have happened. Lighten up, Bromberg. Alice McWilliams Spokane

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