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Opinion >  Letters

Saturday Letters

UPDATED: Mon., June 29, 2020

The truth of the SPD

Thank you Joe Schuable for reminding us about the brutal attack on Otto Zehm here in Spokane (“Treat everyone with respect,” June 22). If only someone at that gas station had a cellphone back then. There were no protests. May I add that the officer enjoyed his full salary and benefits for five years – while on leave – before even going to trial? His fellow officers actually saluted him in the courthouse!

What about Shonto Peete, a native American, who was shot at by an off-duty, drunk Spokane officer because he thought that Peete was trying to steal his truck? He was not. Fortunately the shot wasn’t fatal, but that officer was firing his weapon, under the influence, in a residential neighborhood late at night.

The good news is that there has been much progress within the Spokane Police Department and now the officers wear body cams.

Mindy Harte


Let’s live like they matter

Respectfully, of course all lives matter. But countering “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” distracts us from the issues. I’m sad we still have to explain this.

We are dealing with systemic societal injustice that is entrenched in many of our U.S. institutions, such as our criminal justice system. The very foundation of our criminal justice system is flawed – it was created to subjugate and oppress (watch Ava Duvernay’s documentary “13th”).

We who are white need to stop taking the focus off “Black Lives Matter” with counterphrases. We need to face the systemic injustices of our nation; to hear the stories, read the history that’s been hidden from us. We need to first understand what has been done, before we help in actualizing what CAN be done. For too long, too much has been invisible.

And when we have knowledge, we must ask our brothers and sisters of color what we can do; and listen, again. We’ve never been detained by police simply because of the color of our skin, nor have we had to teach our children how not to get killed by the “protectors”. So we need to hear those stories, and tell them.

Imagine your child has died. Imagine you’re giving the eulogy, speaking passionately about how special your child was. Imagine someone stands up and shouts, “All children are special” … that’s what it’s like to hear “all lives matter.”

Let’s do better. BLACK LIVES MATTER. Let’s live like it is so.

Vicki Weaver


Masks are an act of love

The same day Spokane’s health officer, Dr. Bob Lutz, explained the uptick in coronavirus cases and pleaded with our community to wear masks, I found myself in a Spokane Moms Facebook group. A group member explained that her daughter’s gymnastics class was requiring parents to wear face masks.

She didn’t want to.

The responses ranged from, lie and tell them you have a heart condition, to purposefully wear it incorrectly. The common thread was, they can’t make you wear one.

As I read each response, I grew more disheartened. Wearing a mask is a sign that you care about our community. That you want to help protect it.

Like everyone else, I want to get back to normal. I want my daughters to hug their grandparents tight and feel the comfort of snuggling in their laps. And I want to do this without fear that one of us could be putting the other in danger.

But we can only get to this point when we think of how we can help others. Right now, your selfless act of love is as simple as a small piece of fabric on your face.

Stephanie May


Police unions are the barrier

Three hundred cheers for Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal, who rightly points out that police unions are the single-biggest barrier to meaningful police reform.

New laws are needed to force change, so the litmus test for all legislative candidates is whether they will stand up for change – or simply roll over, again, for the police unions.

Here in the red half of Washington, curbing an intransigent union’s power should be an easy sell.

William Brock


Other more dangerous jobs

President Trump recently stated that the police have the most dangerous job on earth. As usual, he disregarded the facts to suit his purpose. Here are the facts according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the insurance industry.

In 2019, police placed 16th on the list of most dangerous professions in the country. Fifteen other common professions such loggers, fishermen, roofers, garbage men, miners, linemen, ranchers, farmers, agricultural workers, pilots, construction and drivers were more likely to be killed on the job. For example, 987 truckers/drivers died on the job in 2017 compared to 89 policemen. Ninety-one roofers were killed on the job in the same year.

Police have a difficult but relatively safe job.

Terry Neumann

Spokane Valley

America’s hope

With respect to my birth country, I must settle an argument that continues. It was not a bloody revolution in 1776 that founded America, but the vision, grace, love, compassion and tenderness of La Virgen de Guadalupe in 1531. It is with good reason she appeared in Mexico, not in North America.

Mother of the Americas’ vision is for all her children to live in harmony. Those who dismiss this vision as mythology will learn better soon. We are spirits having a human journey, and we will never live up to our highest ideals lest we embrace the feminine vision. One need not be Catholic to see the wisdom of Our Lady, but all are welcome.

Women around the world want to live as women, be appreciated as women, not as toilets to be flushed by a corporate fascist system that makes a mockery of organic capitalism. Sisters, daughters, I urge you never to achieve equality with man by embracing his worst traits. Womankind is the only component between chaos and order. Lest we pawn the queenship of marriage and motherhood for the ruin of man’s current economy, we should hold out for a world where all lives have equal value.

Again, the Americas were founded in compassion by Our Lady, amidst the warfare and strife of that day. Wise women, embrace Our Lady’s vision and do not follow men down the road to ruin in this present day. Thanks for listening.

Heidi Christensen

Liberty Lake

A quote to ponder

With the presidential election just around the corner and reflecting on the Trump presidency, a quote comes to mind from Theodore Roosevelt: “Patriotism means to stand by the country, it does not mean to stand by the president.”

As you vote this November, remember this quote.

Dale E. Weilep


Madsen got it wrong

Sue Lani Madsen has written some whoppers over the years, but her recent self-parody concerning the ongoing Seattle protests might take the cake. Were she interested in anything other than using CHOP as another excuse to project her cloistered worldview onto political events, she might bravely venture out from the hinterland and head to Seattle to investigate. Instead, we get more of Madsen’s poorly researched, predictably reactionary drivel.

As anybody paying attention these past weeks now understands, the Seattle Police Department is chronically belligerent, and there is a reason it has been under federal oversight since Obama’s first term. The East Precinct has long symbolized the department’s outsize presence, and it is where police repeatedly attacked crowds of peaceful protesters with tear gas and flash bangs, crowds which one night included several City Council members. That’s actual political violence.

If protesters wanted to torch the precinct, as Madsen implies, they would have already done so. They seek instead to convert it into a community center and to create an open space for civic discourse, not “virtue signaling” or whatever else she got from TV. Like her ideological fellows, Madsen can’t work out whether to respond to CHOP with smug derision or existential horror.

CHOP is a democratic experiment centered around an alternative political imaginary free of police who brutally enforce their concept of “order.” Its future is uncertain. But to engage in an imaginary requires one to have an imagination. Madsen has long demonstrated she possesses no such thing.

Timothy Herold


A COVID-19 analogy

I am proposing an analogy promoting the use of masks in public. Since the virus is microscopic and has little gravitational weight, it will be suspended in the air for quite a long time. Fine powders like talc are often used as a visual, but talc is a lot heavier than a virus, and thus slowly falls. The main factor that affects the COVID-19 virus is airflow.

So, as an analogy, say you’re indoors and someone flatulates (passes gas). As it disperses, mainly by air currents, other persons will smell it. If you can smell it, you’ve been infected if it was the virus.

With a mask on, you will still smell it. But if the mask were placed over the source, it will mitigate the dispersal to sizable degree.

The mask is to prevent you from SPREADING, not to prevent you from GETTING.

Shawn Larsen

Post Falls

Hybrid fee unfair

The hybrid vehicle registration fee is horrible public policy. This $150 fee discourages driving a car that is good for the environment and lowers highway maintenance costs.

The goal was to offset the reduced gas taxes from electric and plug-in hybrids that can literally go for months without buying any gas. But this fee is extremely unfair for drivers of older non-plug-in hybrids, that only get 25% better gas mileage than a current internal combustion vehicle.

Consider my 2000 Honda Insight, versus a 2015 Subaru Impreza. The Insight gets 50 miles per gallon, the Subaru 40. After 6,000 miles of driving, the difference in fuel used is only 30 gallons, but with the $150 fee, for hybrids the tax is $208.27 and only $74.10 for conventional.

Furthermore, a conventional car weighs over 3,000 pounds while my hybrid weighs less than 2,000. Such a lightweight vehicle is incredibly easy on roads and bridges, and is small and takes up less road space and parking space, yet the state is punishing me for driving it.

For full electric and plug-in hybrids this fee might make sense, as they are not paying their fair share, but for non-plug-in hybrids it is complete nonsense.

Washington should exempt non-plug-in hybrids or hybrids under 2,000 pounds from this tax. People don’t mind paying taxes if they’re fair. The hybrid tax is unfair and discourages people from trying to help the environment. We should be doing the opposite.

Tom Topping


Peacemakers all around

From the beginning, there have been Peacemakers.

They come in all sizes, shapes and colors.

They represent all races and cultures; both genders, young and old.

They pound nails, rock cradles, dig earth, bake bread, drive trucks, fight fires, sing and dance.

They bag groceries, wash windows, build machines and large corporations.

They heal, teach, preach, compose, invent, explore.

As diverse as they are – with personalities as unique as their fingerprints – they collectively share a Code of Conduct: moral principles and a belief in fundamental human rights, often putting themselves at risk in the act of protecting.

They respect and honor fellow humans and cherish this Earth that is home to us all.

Blessed be the Peacemakers!

Claudia L. Smith


We’re all one race

Anyone believing that there are different races on this earth believes a lie. The Bible says in Acts 17:26 that, “From one man (Adam) He (God) made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth.” (NIV) God made the entire human race one race. There are not multiple races, only plural people groups and ethnicities.

The devil seeks to divide and conquer. If he can get you to pridefully think that your shade of skin has more value than others, he is winning the war for your mind. God put into every earthen species an ability to adapt to climate and environment. I am not white (another lie) but of the beige variety. I live in the north, where my body needs to capture whatever sunlight I can to produce vitamin D to manufacture strong bones and to ward off depression. Darker skin shades are needed in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia to block some of the sun’s fierce shining.

To my beige people group: Is your blood a different color than our friends whose skins are medium to dark brown? Put a piece of white chalk next to your skin. Do they match? The color white is not part of human skin unless you are a mutated albino. Place a black sharpie mark next to some African skin. Do they match? We are all shades of brown with some Africans being a very dark brown, but still brown. Any kind of prejudice comes from the pit of hell. Don’t fall for it.

Merilee Moser


Madsen discouraging masks

I see The Spokesman-Review has a new epidemiologist on staff. Your expert from Edwall, Washington, Sue Lani Madsen. She obviously has been trained under the watchful eye of another world renowned expert, Donald Trump. I don’t think anyone has claimed that masks are going to be the perfect antidote for the coronavirus, but they beat the hell out of doing absolutely nothing, which she appears to advocate.

Wearing a mask is somewhat similar to wearing a seatbelt while driving … not needed every time one gets behind the wheel, but when the unexpected happens, it can and does save lives.

I find it very discouraging that this newspaper chooses to print such a negative commentary about our governor and most health experts being wrong about wearing masks. Living in a small town in Eastern Washington, Sue Lani doesn’t have much exposure to worry about, but for those living in more populous areas I think she is dead wrong … and that can be factually as well as figuratively.

I wish you would post articles that would encourage wearing of masks that can possibly save thousands of lives rather than this type of negativity.

Pat O’Leary


Hardship vs. inconvenience

I recently read “The Splendid and the Vile,” by Erik Larson, which chronicled the stoic perspective of Londoners during the Blitz in 1941. I also revisited the hard life of Norwegian immigrants on the prairie in our high school staple, O. E. Rolvaag’s “Giants in the Earth.”

I invite anyone whining about having to wear a mask to protect themselves, and especially to protect their neighbors, to educate themselves about the difference between true hardship and inconvenience.

R. Steven Heaps

Spokane Valley

”The sins of the father”

The directors of the four diversity programs at Eastern Washington University demonstrate a lack of a wider historical perspective in their June 16 letter, “Statement in support of Black Lives …” Their one-dimensional diatribe against a “deeply rooted … history of white supremacy” ignores the fact that many white people were also “deeply” involved in the fight against slavery from before the American Revolution, through the Civil Rights movement and beyond.

Early abolitionists included the Society of Friends (“Quakers”) in both Britain and its American colonies. They and other abolitionists succeeded in having slavery outlawed in Britain in 1807 and in the northern United States by 1804. In the Civil War, an estimated 360,000 mostly white Union soldiers gave their lives to preserve the Union and thereby end slavery. (An estimated 260,000 Confederate soldiers paid for the sins of slavery with death.)

The white ideological descendants of the abolitionists also participated in the Civil Rights movement and continue to do so. Together, “we have overcome” so much. Sure, there is more to do, but shame on guilt-trip peddlers who would trap us in a pit of pathological polemics by wrestling with a “white supremacy” tar baby.

The “original sin” of American slavery is not upon this generation. Ezekiel 18:20 states: “The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father … the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Besides, it’s common sense.

And universal “white guilt” for “white supremacy” is pure racist hypocrisy.

Bob Strong


Maskless in TulsaI watched the president’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and thought how sad it was to see the thousands of people packed together, maskless.

What in God’s name were those people thinking? Did they have no concern about how they were endangering themselves and others with spreading the coronavirus? Surely not all of those people were so foolish that they didn’t care that they might be spreading the virus to their children.

And I say shame on President Trump for showing his total disregard for his so-called followers that he is willing to expose them to illness or death just to massage his ego. Apparently he doesn’t mind risking their exposure to illness or death, as long as they show support for him. Doesn’t he want them around to support him?

Of course, one doesn’t have to go to Tulsa to see people who don’t care about themselves or others. Just go to the local grocery store and see the maskless, careless people who seem to think they are immune to disease. Or maybe they just don’t care. I don’t get it.

Anyway, I thank all the thoughtful, concerned people who care enough about themselves and others to wear masks. Good on you.

Norman R. Coffman


Ellie’s future Does Ellie, the coin-operated elephant outside the White Elephant, have a future home? She deserves a respectable place in her retirement.

After all, she has stood still for decades in all types of weather watching the traffic go by, acted in the role of ambassador to all visitors, and left parents digging in their pockets for change to bring a smile to small children. Perhaps she might like to relocate? Maybe to be put on display in the building housing the carousel downtown? She would feel like she is among her own. Or perhaps she might like to be on display in the lobby of the MAC in Browne’s Addition?

Wherever she goes, I wish her well in retirement.

Eveline Baisch

Nine Mile Falls


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