CRIME AND JUSTICE
Crime against baby horrifying
It is absolutely horrifying to read about another incident of teenage violence, but even more so when the victim is a 1-year-old baby girl! What are these two teens at the very young age of 14 thinking? How did they come to such a point in their lives that this act was an OK thing to do? What are their parents doing to instill values and morals when rearing these children?
I have two teenage boys and an 8-year-old girl, and I have raised all three of them by myself. My children could never harm another living creature, let alone a helpless baby!
Have we, as a nation, forgotten about the importance of teaching our children the difference between right and wrong? Have we, as parents, shrugged off our most natural duty to our children - to help them become decent, caring human beings who contribute good to society?
Parents, let’s all accept our responsibilities that we chose to take on when we brought these children into the world. I beg of all young people: You know the difference between good and evil. Start taking the steps necessary to do the right things.
To the two boys: Raping a tiny child can hardly be a gratifying act, be it sexual or otherwise. It did not make you two men; in fact, it showed what cowards you are. But I certainly hope you are tried and convicted as men. I hope you both end up in a state penitentiary. I’m quite certain you would be very popular among the other inmates. Lisa K. Castaneda Spokane
Heinous crimes need more coverage
Imagine yourself as a 12- to 15-pound baby tied up on a bed in a totally vulnerable position with no one there to protect you while you are beaten and raped by two sociopath giants. To a 1-year-old child, a l4-year-old must seem like a giant.
Recent reports of children and toddlers being raped and beaten are alarming and despicable. Even more alarming is the lack of empathy given by the media in providing coverage for such heinous crimes.
There has recently been a plethora of media coverage regarding the boxing match between two consenting adults (Holyfield and Tyson) who made the choice to beat the heck out of each other, for which they are paid incredibly well. The coverage, however, on abhorrent crimes against children has been minimal.
The article “Woman faces cruelty charge for giving fawn pierced ears” was several paragraphs long, as compared with the brief paragraph dealing with a precious child who had no recourse and was brutally beaten and raped by two adolescent males.
As a society, we are all responsible for not reacting in an aggressive manner that a baby is mutilated and beaten. All parents and child caregivers must teach our children and adolescents that we do not tolerate such behavior in any form, nor will we tolerate any type of abuse of children and women. Children and women should be revered and respected for their many talents and gifts. Instead, the media still depict women as sexual objects and the average American is desensitized to violence against children and women. Mary A. Dietzen, Ph.D. licensed psychologist, Spokane
Second Amendment applies to militia
Stan E. Hutchinson (letters, July 13) not only argues against gun safety in Initiative 676 but also expands the National Rifle Association’s big lie that the Supreme Court has repeatedly stated the right of the individual to own and carry firearms. The Supreme Court has instead repeatedly ruled that the Second Amendment applies only to the militia, not individuals. Walter A. Becker Pullman
Anti-gun arguments worn out
If Edward Keeley (letters, July 9), Spokane’s chief gun abolitionist, endorses Initiative 676, then it’s a gun-control measure.
After assaulting pro-gun writers, Keeley really explained nothing about Initiative 676. How much will it cost? What sort of new government bureaucracy will be required to administer it? Why do we need Initiative 676 at all? Is it a form of gun owner registration?
Keeley ignored the fact that the National Rifle Association could present gun safety classes for free without placing Initiative 676-type restrictions on Washington citizens.
Thousands are alive today, including three Washington state grandmothers, because they had instant access to their loaded handguns. Now, Keeley and the backers of Initiative 676 demand that handguns be unloaded and locked up.
Keeley’s worn-out arguments that guns are like motor vehicles, and that only state militias may bear arms, are absurd.
Washington state residents need to beware of anti-gun snake oil salesmen telling lies and trying to sell bogus goods. They’ve intentionally designed Initiative 676 to harass, impede, delay and frustrate the legitimate gun buyer. Lu E. Haynes Kettle Falls, Wash.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Good old days not so great
The Republicans are obsessed with giving us a balanced budget and deregulating industry and environmental controls.
They wanted to make meat products easier for us to obtain, so they minimized the meat plant inspections that were costing the industry around $245 million a year. The inspection costs were reflected in retail prices, but after inspections were reduced, did the meat prices drop, too? Of course not; the industry just increased profit margins. However, a nationwide E. coli epidemic erupted. Coincidence? I think not, as news reports indicate it’s still a major problem.
In October 1982, Ronald Reagan signed a bill deregulating the savings and loan industry - soon costing taxpayers more than $200 billion in the bailout. Incidentally, when Reagan deeply cut top-bracket taxes and corporate taxes, while drastically increasing military spending, he tripled the national debt - after campaigning on a balanced budget.
Now the GOP, under the guidance of Rep. Tom DeLay of Texas, has rewritten the Clean Water Act, with the help of a few lobbyists - only 350 of them from the chemical, mining, petroleum, auto and steel industries. These gentlemen also contributed more than $40 million to them for the privilege, and the largest recipient was good old House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The present balanced-budget rhetoric is similar to Reagan’s, as they want to slash the capital gains and inheritance taxes - to be offset with cuts in Medicare and other entitlements. The GOP must be very nostalgic, as it strives to return us to the good old days when its similar legislation created the Great Depression. Andy P. Kelly Spokane
Gov. Locke showing true colors
Once again, liberals, led by Washington Gov. Gary Locke, have shown their true colors. Reviewing Locke’s actions of the past 30 days:
He vetoed the temporary workers housing bill which was the product of a diverse task force charged with helping solve the difficult problem of adequate housing for farm workers. Locke’s veto was against the wishes of Sens. Margarita Prentice, D-Seattle, and Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, who were co-sponsors of the bill. Even liberal Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., personally urged him to sign the bill. Locke vetoed this bill at the request of the United Farm Workers and the AFL-CIO. Payback time for the unions.
He volunteered a day of his taxpayer-paid time to make phone calls on behalf of a new $400 million Seattle Seahawks stadium. Could this be called tax breaks and corporate welfare for the super rich?
In Spokane on June 20, Locke called for a raise in the fuel tax by 7 cents per gallon.
Apple growers had disastrous returns on their 1996 crop. Killing hailstorms have just swept through north-central Washington, wiping out many cherry, pear and apple crops. The last thing growers and independent truckers, who haul Washington-grown fruit, need is a fuel tax increase.
Locke’s recent actions simply show his true colors and reinforce the love affair that liberals have with big government, big business and the super rich. Liberals could care less about small business people and the hard-working middle class of this country. Robert Brody Wenatchee
McGovern just keeps popping up
Comes now - yet again - George McGovern, like a breeze from some long-forgotten landfill (“Roundtable,” July 11). The guy keeps popping up just when you think he has attained the obscurity he so richly deserves.
Forget (as he urges) personal characteristics of the president of the United States? Sure, if you believe it unimportant that the leader of this nation - the most honored American, the very symbol of all this country should be - has among his personal traits financial dishonesty, political corruption, selective memory in the courts and a cynical patronization of the American electorate. And if McGovern doesn’t want to count marital infidelity, fine. When it comes to Bill Clinton, there are already enough moral failures.
In 1974, McGovern and his Democratic Party didn’t neglect Richard Nixon’s personal sins, which were many and real. I notice that he doesn’t mention Nixon in his ruminations, a strange omission since Nixon was driven from office not on policy issues but on personal failings and lack of character - dishonesty, political corruption, selective memory, patronization of the electorate, if I remember correctly. If McGovern’s addled thinking had ruled in 1974, Nixon would certainly have completed his term.
Despite Nixon’s many policy successes, I never believed Nixon to be qualified to be the most important and powerful person in America. I disliked him immensely. Yet I voted for him in 1972 as still being more qualified than McGovern. McGovern continues to justify my vote, 1,000 percent. John A. Hols Spokane
CITY OF SPOKANE
Bike thefts a real problem
My family and I moved to Spokane in October from out of state. Before moving here, I had heard of the Yellow Bike program in Portland and thought it was an intriguing idea. However, when I heard of the plan to launch the Lilac Bike program here, I had reservations. Not that it still isn’t a great concept for those who have no other form of transportation, or that it wouldn’t be fun to just come across a Lilac Bike and hop on for a spontaneous ride.
But in the short time of our residence here, my family has already had four bikes stolen: two from our fenced back yard containing a 90-pound German shepherd, one stolen from NorthTown Mall (the lock was cut) and the other we recovered by driving around the neighborhood.
Please don’t get me wrong - my family loves Spokane. We think this is a wonderful place to live. It’s just that this city seems to be pretty hard on bikes. It took us a while to get used to that idea and we’ve paid the price.
It would be great if we could still have a Lilac Bike program. I don’t know what the solution is. Perhaps a meeting of minds could come together and begin to deal with this overall problem in our fair city. A program like the Lilac Bikes will never work until we deal with the root concerns of this issue. Harry P. Rosenkrantz Spokane
DOT needs to better use funds
The Idaho Department of Transportation has announced plans to spend millions of tax dollars to lower the roadway surface of Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene. It believes the expenditure is necessary to prevent costly accidents that occur when trucks hit freeway overpasses.
The department wants to raise the overpasses or lower the roadway to achieve minimum clearances of 16 feet. The maximum legal height for trucks in Idaho is 14 feet. The majority of trucks that travel through the area are 13 feet high. According to the department, the lowest overpass in Coeur d’Alene is 14 feet high. Truck traffic streams through on a daily basis with room to spare. There are occasional overheight loads, but they comprise a fraction of total truck traffic.
Our taxes have already purchased an early warning system that alerts drivers of westbound overheight trucks to exit I-90 and use other streets. A similar system could be purchased for warning eastbound truck drivers.
If memory serves, the last two accidents involving overheight trucks in Coeur d’Alene did not involve professional interstate oversize haulers. One accident occurred when a contractor pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with a backhoe hit the Government Way overpass. More recently, a logger loaded an empty pole trailer on his truck and forgot his bunk extensions were still up. He hit the same bridge. Some accidents cannot be prevented, even with 16 feet of clearance.
I suggest the Department of Transportation either find a better use for its money or return it to the rightful owners. Robert A. Robinson Hayden Lake, Idaho
What’s happened to professionalism?
We would like to thank and say we are proud of all the taxpayers, patients and just concerned citizens who attended the Silverton Hospital board meeting to try to share their feelings and support on the eviction issue. Even though we each were rudely interrupted whenever we tried to speak, we were respectful by not interrupting them. We all share the shock at the unprofessionalism displayed toward the taxpayers. It was wrong that the boardroom was pre-lined with employees, volunteers and their family members to make sure only a handful of us could get in. Several elderly and the sick who requested to have a chair to sit down on or to move the meeting to a larger room were told rudely, no, that it was their meeting and they would run it their way.
They not only hurt people who only wanted to exercise their rights as taxpayers, but most of the people who used the facility and were hassled for standing up also can’t help but wonder what the same heckling employees will do to them if they were to use the facility again. This was to be a board meeting, yet, as quoted at the beginning of the meeting, the board was going to turn this into “fun time” instead. It’s a shame that these men and women, not only of the hospital board but also the employees, forgot the definition of professionalism. And to the employee who called me that evening just to say, “Ha ha, you lost, we won …,” would you tell me just what did you win? Brenda J. Auld, spokesperson Taxpayers Association,Wallace
Billboards are ugly
Yes, to quote Bob Templin, the issue of billboards is a no-brainer. They are ugly! Lady Bird Johnson, where are you?
I wish I were the good Dr. Sarvis of the “Monkey Wrench Gang.” Rather, I protest by never patronizing the establishment of any billboard offender.
Perhaps billboards are the reason travelers never linger long in our area. All a billboard does is solicit money and announce we care little about the beauty of our area. Janet G. Callen Coeur d’Alene
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