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Opinion >  Letters

Letters for June 12, 2022

UPDATED: Mon., June 13, 2022

A more dangerous path

In Todd Bischoff’s recent letter (“On a dangerous path,” May 29) he advocates that the U.S. cease aid to Ukraine and only respond to aggression “when our country is under direct attack,” lest we annoy Russia – the Neville Chamberlain “appeasement” policy from WWII. However, he does allow that we can keep the Ukrainian people in our prayers while they are being bombed, raped and murdered without provocation.

We used to be the country that would come to the aid of its friends when they were threatened. Putin doesn’t want just Ukraine. He seeks to erase NATO and along with China, neutralize the United States.

Democracy is under attack by autonomous rulers like Putin, Xi, Kim Jong Un, and wannabe dictators like Donald Trump. People like Putin count on America being so timid, so afraid of war, that we will be paralyzed. If we abandon our friends and wait until we are directly attacked, who will be left to stand with us? We are stronger when we support each other.

Standing by and doing nothing until evil visits our own doorstep is a far more “dangerous path” to take.

Joseph O’Shaughnessy

Spokane

Uvalde was massacre

In the days following his 18th birthday, Salvador Rolando Ramos legally purchased an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle at a local gun store in Texas along with 375 rounds of ammunition. The bullets from an AR-15 are especially lethal. They shred body organs.

Those 19 school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, weren’t just shot. They were massacred. Some children could be identified only by matching their DNA with that of their parents waiting outside in agony.

This isn’t something new. AR-15 style rifles have been the weapons of choice in 11 mass shootings in the past 10 years.

Republican senators have repeatedly blocked legislation that would make access to these rifles illegal. It’s not surprising, given that the National Rifle Association has spent more than $100 million helping Republicans get elected, including Idaho’s own Republican Sen. Mike Crapo.

Crapo is running for a fifth term this November.

For all of us who are outraged by these monstrous attacks on children and grandchildren, now is the time to act. Sen. Crapo needs to hear from us, repeatedly, by email at crapo.senate.gov/contact or by phone at (202) 224-6142.

Please don’t be silent! Our kids need our help.

Dody Dozier

Moscow, Idaho

Arming teachers is not the solution

One proposed solution to school shootings is more guns in schools. Republicans want teachers carrying firearms to protect their students. As a former high school teacher, I wonder if they have thought that through.

Think about a real classroom situation. Normally the teacher is in front of the class or helping at a student’s desk or involved in a group activity. If an armed shooter comes into the classroom, the shooter’s first target is probably the teacher. It is unlikely that the teacher is standing by their locked-up gun or that the shooter would wait until the teacher has had a chance to go get the gun.

So that means the teacher must carry the gun at all times. With a shooter coming through the door ready to take lives, the teacher would have seconds to pull out the gun and release the safety after determining the person is a threat. The only way the teacher could possibly stop the shooter is to have a round chambered with the safety off. This scenario assumes the teacher is a better shot and will win the gunfight. It assumes that no accidents will occur with dozens of loaded firearms in the school building. It assumes that a student won’t take the gun from the teacher and use it.

I hate the thought of teachers engaging in a gunfight over the heads of the students they are trying to protect. Even trained police officers often fail in that scenario.

Sue Scobby

Newport, Wash.

Wake up

I don’t care if you’re a Republican, independent or Democrat. You need to wake up to the details of millionaire Republican Sen. Rick Scott’s tax plan.

A new federal minimum income tax would raise taxes on almost 43% of individuals and families and would increase taxes by an average of $450 for middle-income households, according to the Senate Joint Economic Committee. A federal minimum tax would hurt working families, seniors and active-duty service members and slow long-term economic growth.

Defunding state and local governments would take away jobs and hurt local economies across the country. The Scott plan to end federal support to state and local governments would defund jobs for public school teachers, police and firefighters.

The Scott proposal to sunset all legislation every five years would create uncertainty for Americans who rely on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits. Forcing Congress to vote every five years to re-enact every law would put vital programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in peril.

Senator Scott is proposing these new taxes because the tax code that the Republicans rammed through Congress during the Trump administration doesn’t work. Deficits are projected to add $1 to $2 trillion to the federal debt, according to official estimates.

When you vote, remember what President Harry Truman said: “Democrats work to help people who need help. That other party, they work for people who don’t need help. That’s all there is to it.”

Mike McCarty

Spokane

Gun control

Much has been discussed about the Second Amendment. When the Constitution was ratified, mostly single shot guns were available. No automatic weapons existed. Those that believe there should be no restrictions on guns should then rally to allow bazookas and nuclear missiles to all be legal as the public’s right to bear arms. Obviously, this is absurd.

At the very least, assault/semi-automatic weapons should be outlawed. The only possible use of these weapons is to kill human beings. Hunting with them would make instant hamburger in the field! Any such weapons, owned, rented, sold, traded or used should be punishable by a severe fine and substantial jail time. Let’s give the citizens six months to turn them in for fair market value. After that, it would be a crime.

Many are quick to condemn the killing of an embryo but not interested in protecting children of school age.

Barry Bauchwitz

Spokane Valley

What will you choose

I, like almost everyone, am in shock over the latest mass shooting.

I can’t get out of my mind a comment made by a retired policeman while being interviewed on TV. He said, concerning upcoming elections, “Who are you going to vote for, your child or your gun?”

I hope every voter asks the same question and comes to the right conclusion.

Richard Taylor

Rathdrum

McMorris Rodgers’ voting record on gun violence

As a teacher, parent and grandparent, I was distressed to learn that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has consistently voted in lock-step with efforts by the NRA to kill virtually every piece of legislation to protect us from gun violence. Most recently, I refer to bills passed by her colleagues in the House in Washington, D.C., to strengthen background checks (bills HR 1446 and HR 8) and protect women from gun violence in matters of domestic disputes (bill HR1620).

Given Spokane’s vibrant Pacific Islander community, I was also disappointed to discover McMorris Rodgers voted against House Resolution 275, condemning the horrific shootings in Atlanta on March 16, 2021, and reaffirming the House of Representative’s commitment to combating hate, bigotry, and violence against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.”

Our representative can take the time to vote for energy-efficient ceiling fans and the addition of sesame to food labeling, but she can’t seem to hear the cries for help from gun violence. Nine terms in office?

My goodness.

Tom Benemann

Spokane

Let’s see some ID

At least the youngster who spends his/her/its/whatever’s graduation money on a brand spanking new AR won’t, in theory, be drunk.

William Baxley

Spokane

Gun registration

A June 1 guest opinion from (retired) Col. Frank Watson (“Some limits, reasonable ones, needed on firearms”) advocates a new constitutional amendment centered on gun ownership restrictions – probably an impossible task in our current state of political separation. I suspect he knows that. Also, in his column he criticized President Biden for “inflammatory rhetoric” about gun control. The president’s words were spot on.

Watson criticized protesters for advocating gun control legislation as “an attack on the Constitution.” Nonsense. They have First Amendment rights.

He questions the definition of an assault weapon. Apparently, the ability to fire off 30 high-energy bullets in just a very few seconds is not good enough criteria.

He criticized the president for wanting laws against assault weapons and requiring background checks for all gun purchases, calling those words an “attack on the Constitution.” Complete nonsense. He quotes the Second Amendment, but only the part about “our right to bear arms shall not be infringed,” and conveniently ignores that it is a subtext of the “well regulated militia” statement.

We agree that limits are needed, but a new constitutional amendment approach is a stall – years and thousands of lives gone before any possibility of results. What we need now is a dual legislative approach. First, outlaw weapons of war for the public. Second, after thorough background checks, register all gun sales, including personal purchases or transfers so that every gun owner is responsible for how the gun is used, not matter who uses it. Thousands of lives would be saved.

Barry Kathrens

Spokane

Gun violence

Elementary school children slaughtered in their classroom; the week before, senior citizens shopping for groceries, chopped down by the scourge of gun violence. Will it ever stop? Are you comfortable living in a country that seemingly is OK with the idea that you may never see your children alive again once they board the bus?

Elected politicians from one party are apparently OK with that. Despite compelling majorities of voters from both political parties in favor of reform, these politicians repeatedly ignore the wants of the voters, instead sopping up that sweet NRA money while avoiding the ire of the vocal fringe minority whom they fear. So the carnage continues unabated.

If you are OK with being at risk of slaughter at school, church, the movie theater and literally anywhere else, keep voting for Republicans. If, on the other hand, you want to make America great again, you know, illustrated by feeling safe when outside your home, then maybe consider NOT voting for them, as they have proved over and over again that they really don’t care how you feel.

Roger Haick

Loon Lake, Wash.

Hidden narrative?

Everyday the media rants about increasing gas and food prices. Of course, Russia’s attack on Ukraine or President Biden to blame. Then we anxiously await the news as to when and where another mass shooting will take place. Next, is the baby formula supply drops 70% and our 5th District Republican representative votes against emergency funding for needed formula supplies. For her, investigating the FDA is more a priority than preventing babies from starving! She also voted against the infrastructure bill which passed and greatly benefited Spokane.

I strongly feel there is a hidden agenda or narrative to the above scenarios. Who controls and supports the huge oil companies? Who owns and supports the gun lobbies, NRA and gun manufacturers? The same for pharmaceutical companies like Abbott. Has anyone looked at the salaries of the CEOs? Especially the oil companies or Abbott?

Personally, I strongly feel we’re being screwed by a certain political party. Russia has a “boat” load of corrupt oligarchs. The same is true here in America. Guess which class of people is getting scammed by a skewed narrative?

I firmly believe Vladimir Putin along with his oligarchs would make outstanding Republicans!

Janet Smith

Spokane

Abortion legislation

If men could get pregnant, legal abortion would have been codified into law as soon as safe medical procedures were available.

Chandra Caine

Spokane

67% Recidivism

Several things came to mind while reading Chan Bailey’s letter (“Sentencing Reform Act,” May 27) written in response to a letter about lifetime supervision. First of all, the whole concept of monitoring someone for the rest of their life assumes people are incapable of change. Everyone should be given a chance, but in Washington state there is no path to end this monitoring.

In the letter, Bailey references Washington State laws and courts but then jumps to a nationwide three-year recidivism rate of 67%. My first thought was that a system that fails 67% of the time is a complete failure! But each state has its own criminal justice system. Washington’s system is unique so we need to look at Washington state statistics.

I did some looking on the internet and found a 2019 report by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy entitled “Washington State Adult and Juvenile Recidivism Trends FY 1995-FY 2014.” Exhibit 9 in this document gives the Washington three-year recidivism rates for adults. The only categories that come close to 67% are property or other offenses. But people convicted of these offenses never get lifetime supervision so they are not relevant to the discussion. The offenses that do get lifetime supervision have the lowest recidivism rates. And unless the current laws are changed, we will pay to monitor people convicted of these offenses for the rest of their lives.

Mark Hernick

Spokane

Resentencing of young killers

“Justice” for killers; not for victims. I propose that motto for our Washington State Supreme Court, which ruled unconstitutional mandatory life sentences of those under 21 and so cold-blooded killers like Christopher Blystone can high-five his lawyers (“Man who killed pharmacy clerk in 1986 resentenced to 40 years,” June 3). His life without parole sentence was reduced and with time served blah, blah, he will probably be out later this year. He is only 52.

He was 18 when he committed murder; if 18 is old enough to join the military and be trained in high-tech weaponry, it’s old enough to take the consequences for taking another life.

Christopher will be able to go to baseball games and see, “Top Gun: Maverick” soon; Steven Foster, his victim, won’t.

Foster was only 20 when his life was ruthlessly cut short. The average life expectancy for a male in Washington is 80. If the judge who did the resentencing had any sense of justice for the victim, then Christopher Blystone should at least serve the 60 years he stole from Steven Foster. He’s only served 36, that leaves 24 more years Blystone should be behind bars, but he won’t. Doesn’t sound like justice for the victim to me.

Paul Tapp

Spokane

Complicit in denigration

Must The Spokesman-Review be complicit with those who work to cast doubt upon the veracity of our nation’s founding principles? Spotlighting Thomas Jefferson, Catherine Buchaniec’s June 5 “We the People” column gave her portrayal of a prime contributor to America’s ideals as an oppressor, hypocrite and quasi scoundrel. A month earlier, George Washington was similarly defamed by “We the People” contributor Lawrence Hatter arguing that Washington’s attributed good qualities were myths.

Pertinent to Jefferson’s character, Buchaniec didn’t reveal that Virginia law prohibited freeing slaves, nor that Jefferson inherited his first 52 slaves and 135 more by 1773, nor how many of the cited 600 slaves were descendants of those inherited slaves, nor what Jefferson feared would happen to penniless, illiterate, freed Blacks, nor how relatively well his slaves were treated, nor the many unsuccessful efforts Jefferson made to change Virginia and U.S. laws in order to curtail slavery, and gradually emancipate slaves.

Instead, by intimation, she left the unenlightened reader to believe that the words Jefferson penned in the Declaration of Independence’s preamble lacked conviction and principle because of the author’s questionable character.

The spirit of disavowing an unprecedented heritage now overshadows the spirit of ’76. Surely none but God is perfect.

But wouldn’t it be more beneficial to our current society, which is in the throes of division and discord, to present these men’s real inspirational qualities and exhortations that defined the country’s liberating, founding standards (though not fully realized) in order to inspire us in our strivings today?

Duncan Bean

Spokane Valley



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