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Opinion >  Letters

Letters for June 9, 2022

UPDATED: Thu., June 9, 2022

Haskell releases criminals

Prosecutor Larry Haskell has recently been ranting about “liberal judges” releasing dangerous criminals from jail. He’s spewing this fiction because he is facing a tough re-election bid due to racist statements by his wife and his own failed policies and leadership; Haskell recommends releasing more criminals than anyone.

According to records available through the Administrator of the Courts, Haskell has filed 36,756 felony cases from 2015-2021. His office only took 1,130 of those cases to trial, a paltry 3.1%. That means Haskell dismissed or plea-bargained 97% of the felony cases he filed.

The Spokesman-Review from May 18 gives examples of the deals Haskell hands out.

Michelle Anderson, arrested for drive-by shooting. Judge set $100,000 bond; her standard sentence range is 15-20 months in prison. Haskell reduced the charge and recommended the lowest possible sentence of three months, essentially releasing her from jail.

Savanna Merrill, arrested for assaults with firearm. Judge set $250,000 bond, but Haskell agreed to release her. Her standard range was 13-17 months plus potentially six extra years for being armed. Haskell plea bargained the case to nonviolent charges and recommended 11 days in jail.

Shonto Pete, arrested for felony DV assault. Judge set $10,000 bond and refused to reduce it. Standard range was 53-60 months in prison. He had eight prior assault convictions. Haskell plea bargained and recommended 87 days in jail, which released Pete.

Set aside his rants and remember these real facts come election time.

Jeanne Pluth


Semi-automatic rifles must go

In the 1930s, the federal government basically outlawed fully automatic weapons because of the mayhem caused by gangsters using them. Now it’s time to ban semi-automatic rifles for the same reasons … only now it’s often children being killed instead of lawmen or rival gangsters. I’m a Vietnam infantry combat vet with two purple hearts to prove it; I own two guns. I have no problem with hunters using time-honored fine rifles or citizens owning handguns for protection. But semi-automatic assault rifles have to go. Their purpose is to kill many people quickly … which has no place in ANY civilian culture. They’ve become ridiculous symbols of power for boys of all ages, public intimidation and danger to us all. Here’s my proposal:

1. Bolt action rifles are the only rifles available for sale, effective immediately.

2. Those who now own ARs – defined as any rifle with a magazine that isn’t bolt or pump action – may not carry them around in public, hunt with them, nor use them at ranges or elsewhere.

3. Those who use an AR in any crime will face a mandatory federal felony sentence in addition to whatever else their crime involved.

4. Those who now own an AR are totally responsible for its misuse and will face a mandatory federal felony sentence unless they had earlier reported such weapon stolen to lawful authority.

Bob Gregson


Let’s be reasonable about weapons

Once again, we have some dead schoolchildren, killed (once again) by a crazed person with an automatic weapon. An AR-15. Assault rifle. Able to shoot bullet after bullet after bullet in rapid succession. But it’s not an illegal weapon, no. It seems one can fairly easily obtain this killing machine. For that’s what it is – a military weapon, to be used in WAR. Let me repeat: It’s a weapon of WAR.

Once again, we hear the words, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.” Really? Really? Is that the best we can do?

I’m angry. And I don’t know what to do with my anger. Surely, we can do something. The Founders, in the 18th century, had no concept of such a weapon of mass destruction. They loaded a single ball in their musket, tamped it down with gunpowder and then fired. Perhaps if that were still the nature of “arms,” those children might have had a chance at survival. Instead, an animal mowed them down one by one by one.

There is no need to give up our “God-given right” (for some) of owning a gun for hunting or protection – but can we just be reasonable about the type of weapon we allow?

Leslie A. Smith


I remember the truth

In response to “Remember the Truth” (May 9), I remember hearing about coat-hanger surgery.

With all the polarization in politics, has anyone noticed a pattern? Every time a race starts heating up and promises are made, abortion is mentioned. We already have a law that has federal restrictions to protect the most vulnerable and was created from “compromise” … by both sides. It suggests that when things become too challenging, the party will play their wild card (abortion) to stir things up and guarantee them more votes. Is it to distract us from things politicians want to do without getting caught, especially with abortion being such an explosive issue?

A “bully” is an insecure person(s) who can’t control their own, so reaches out to control others. Women are probably the safest group to scapegoat since we’re looked at as not quite equal. We discourage our children from this behavior but adults can act that way?

So, women have the right to vote, but now it won’t be an equal vote.

We encourage our youth and soldiers to get mental health help (suicide). What about our women? If women’s’ rights to have children are controlled (mental health issues), there will be many unwanted children. Unwanted children are abused. Those scars trickle down generations. Counselors and other professionals can testify to the devastation that domestic violence causes. Do we want unwanted children abused because a principle is more important than reality?

In this country, we are all freely given choices. If we are given this choice, we are also given the adult responsibility to accept others’ free choices also. If we are so uncomfortable with others not thinking, acting or being different, maybe we need to move to a country dictated by a leader who controls how we believe and choose.

Are individual needs greater than we as a united nation?

Carol Echtenkamp


LBGTQ+ a choice?

Nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the Florida state Legislature passed a law banning teaching about sexual orientation (LBGTQ+) or gender identity in classrooms K-3. Never mind that the Florida Department of Education says that such a curriculum is not being taught. Thus, the Legislature there is passing a law that only exists in inflamed political rhetoric.

The bill assumes that being any orientation besides heterosexual is a choice. My question to those who say that it’s a choice is, “When did YOU make that choice?” The answer is almost always that they did NOT make a choice. Thus, they contradict their “choice” belief.

Vocal homophobic leaders, especially pastors and therapists who have railed against gay/trans, etc. lifestyles, have been discovered in gay relationships.

In first grade, I fell in love with a girl. I didn’t think, “Will it be her or that little boy?” I have friends who fell in love with people of their same assigned gender.

Biologically, sex is a spectrum/continuum, with those in the middle (1.7%) sometimes being impossible for a doctor to tell. Sexual orientation is also a continuum. That’s what LBGTQ+ represents. The plus represents orientations not defined in the letters. Persons are widely diverse.

These are born-with orientations. Each person’s task is to find theirs and live their life in a fulfilling way. Adults must guide younger ones on this journey.

Robert P. Crosby

Former Certified Sex Educator by AASECT


Baby killer

A recent front page of The Spokesman-Review (May 12) included a picture of our Sen. Patty Murray promoting the issue of retaining the existing situation regarding the Roe v. Wade abortion issue. This issue, from my point of view, is complicated, because of situations such as rape, incest, or continuing a pregnancy that would cause the death of the mother or deformity of the fetus.

But in a normal pregnancy, when a woman had the choice of preventing the pregnancy by not having sex or contraception by several methods … then I believe that abortion is “killing babies” period.

Now, I served my country in Vietnam, then I returned through the Seattle Air Portal after serving as an Army aviator as a chief warrant officer with the 220th Aviation Company in Danang, attached to the Marine Corps and also serving the Special Forces and ARVN in February 1967. When I exited the aircraft with my fellow military associates, we were met not with a welcome home sign, but with a mob of young folks, mostly young women carrying signs saying “baby killers” and the like. I NEVER killed any babies, though I did my very best to remove as many North Vietnamese enemy from the battlefield as I could. These political folks that met us were of the same bent as those that now want the right to kill their babies.

Who are the baby killers now, Sen. Murray?

Norman S. MacPhee

Nine Mile Falls

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