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Looking Back: Past opinions provide perspective

Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.

Aug. 31, 2005, Hurricane Katrina

Twelve years before Hurricane Harvey, a massive storm slammed into Louisiana. An S-R editorial recounted the nightmare:

“The horror of what’s happening along the Gulf Coast is almost unbearable, yet it’s impossible not to watch. Rooftop rescues. Uncontrollable fires. Widespread looting. Floating bodies. Imagine a hurricane roaring through the Inland Northwest, shredding everything in its path, followed by torrents of water from breached dams.

“It’s even worse than that, because the water here would quickly recede. Not in New Orleans, which sits below sea, river and lake levels. The water continues to rise.”

It continued: “The urge now is to rush to the rescue, but emergency officials say to stay away. It’s too dangerous. The roads are gone. Martial law has been declared in some areas. Electricity may not be restored for a month or two. The death toll may not be known for weeks.

“The best way to help is to send money so relief organizations such as the American Red Cross that can make sure that charitable giving is tailored to victims’ specific needs. But make sure you’re contributing to a reputable organization. Bogus e-mails and Web sites are cropping up to take advantage of your compassion.”

It concluded: “In the coming days, the rest of the nation will discover what it must endure because of Katrina. Because of the damage to refineries, fuel costs will certainly rise. Imports and exports will be delayed. Travel plans will have to be canceled.

“Just be thankful that those are your biggest problems.”

Chicago mayhem,, Aug. 30, 1968

An S-R editorial weighed in on the battle outside the Democratic National Convention.

“The Democratic boss of Chicago, Mayor Richard J. Daley, has been subjected to severe criticism – some of it thoroughly justified – for maintaining an armed camp during the Democratic National Convention and for the shocking treatment accorded by Chicago police in some of the anti-war protesters who invaded that city this week.

“The street disorders in downtown Chicago produced a shameful display that has disgraced the city and the nation. The security arrangements inside the convention amphitheater were a source of irritation to some delegates and others who had convention floor privileges. But these were of little general importance in comparison to the mob actions and reactions in an area far removed from the convention proceedings. It should be remembered that while some injuries were sustained by innocent bystanders who may have been a part of the protest movement, these major demonstrations were planned for disruptive purposes.”

It concluded: “The disgraceful incidents in Chicago have been damaging to the Democratic Party and to the whole nation, as well as to the peace officers who may have abused their authority. The gathering and management of the mob there and the handling of the situation calls for something more than horrified exclamations against the conduct of police forces.”


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Top stories in Opinion

Editorial: Washington state lawmakers scramble to keep public in the dark

State lawmakers want to create a legislative loophole in Washington’s Public Records Act. While it’s nice to see Democrats and Republicans working together for once, it’s just too bad that their agreement is that the public is the enemy. As The Spokesman-Review’s Olympia reporter Jim Camden explained Feb. 22, lawmakers could vote on a bill today responding to a court order that the people of Washington are entitled to review legislative records.