Letters to the Editor

Letters: Feb. 3, 2019

We need to change ‘lemming attitude’

Seventy-one percent of Americans say that extreme weather events in the last few years have convinced them of global warming. We need a forward-looking president and a for-real EPA director to inspire and encourage us to use the least polluting practices, the greenest sustainable resources and the smartest desalination. We don't have time for political posturing. A move in the right direction might not solve our environmental problems quickly, but it would be better than the lemming attitude of the people trashing the planet.

Michael Kiefel, Walla Walla

Thanks for helping during shutdown

The federal government shutdown has been on the minds of many – whether in denunciation or support.

My message today is prompted not by the need to take one side over another, but rather to recognize those who have taken it upon themselves to do something about it. As the proud wife of a Coast Guard veteran, the daughter of an Army veteran, daughter-in-law of a Navy veteran, descendant of Revolutionary War veteran, and personal devotee to social service, I want to publicly share my appreciation for those who serve our country in positions of social service and their family members, especially those that may have been touched by the recent shutdown.

I am sincerely humbled and proud to be part of a community that steps up to assist our neighbors and friends by providing their donation of services, food, gas cards and more to help those affected by this very unfortunate situation.

Thank you to all individuals and businesses involved in this effort, and thank you for confirming that teamwork and tenacity can overcome any challenge.

In deep appreciation,

Jody O’Connor, Kennewick

Measles quite highly contagious

Measles is likely the most contagious airborne disease. The virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace where an infected person coughed or sneezed. If other people breathe the contaminated air or touch the infected surface, then touch their eyes, noses or mouths, they can become infected. Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90 percent of the people close to that person who are not immune will also become infected. Between 1855 and 2005, measles has been estimated to have killed about 200 million people worldwide, while measles vaccine is estimated to prevent 1 million deaths per year.

New research now finds that measles erases the immune system’s memory, leaving patients vulnerable to other infectious diseases for up to three years afterward. Measles vaccination also seems to reduce childhood deaths from other infectious diseases, protecting against not just the measles virus, but also many other diseases. As countries have introduced national measles vaccination campaigns, childhood mortality from all infectious diseases, not just measles, dropped by 50 percent. So vaccination may be the single greatest public health intervention worldwide, resulting in the largest reduction in childhood deaths, perhaps except for clean water and antibiotic therapy.

Wesley Luckey, Kennewick

Banning by law simply won’t work

Alcohol was made illegal — didn’t work. Certain drugs are illegal, which hasn’t stopped their use and abuse. Cell phone use while driving is illegal, yet still frequently observed.

Studies showed a federal ban on so-called “assault weapons” had little, if any, effect on criminal activity. Yet during the past decade, many new restrictions on legal gun owners have been proposed. Will most obey the law while some choose to ignore it as an infringement on their rights — in this case one protected by the United States Constitution’s Second Amendment?

A concealed pistol license is comparable to any insurance. It is hoped a fire never breaks out at home, but insurance is carried in case it does. It is also hoped that a concealed pistol will never be needed, but it is available if needed.

It still seems a better policy to use resources to identify and treat those individuals who have a desire to hurt others rather than further restrict law-abiding citizens — in this case owners of firearms.

Jim Davison, Waitsburg

Border wall is not conservative idea

Conservatives should oppose President Trump's border wall. It is cost prohibitive. There are the steep costs of construction, land acquisition, litigation and maintenance. Those maintenance expenses continue in perpetuity. We will maintain a wall along the Mexican border that is longer than 34,000 football fields. We have a much lengthier set of borders with Canada. If our borders must be made secure with a wall, then we must not forget our borders to the north. Stop! What will the effect of such walls be on our trade with other nations? There surely will be trade externalities associated with ill-advised and odius walls. That is an additional annual cost that has not been considered, just as walls with Canada have not been considered.

Did the East German wall cause either East or West Berliners to feel more secure? No, and – eventually – that wall came down, because the philosophy that mandated it was flawed. Flawed philosophy – like bad pennies – seems to keep making the rounds.

Richard Redick, Kennewick