Letters to the Editor

Letters: Feb. 24, 2019

Thanks to all who helped with snow

Words cannot express my appreciation and thanks to the man who shoveled my driveway and sidewalk, to the three men who dug out my car, and to the mail and paper carriers. Thank you so very much.

Barbara Wood, Richland

’Emergency’ aims to thwart Congress

The president declared an emergency to overturn what he believes is an inadequate decision by Congress. Unfortunately, the law does not define an emergency. An emergency is a sudden, unforeseen combination of circumstances that require immediate action. Congress should decide how to act; then the president should administer accordingly.

The executive can declare an emergency if there is inadequate time for Congress to meet and establish a proper response. Congress indeed met and budgeted what it deemed adequate. Trump says the amount is insufficient and constitutes an emergency.

It is not a sudden, unforeseen circumstance. It is a desired different response that is the alleged emergency. The Congress decided that people wishing to seek asylum should follow a procedure and those entering for other purposes or means should be barred from entry or penalized. When they do so, they must ask for asylum as they enter the country. Trump apparently thinks they should make the request before they enter, not as they enter – as the law provides. Congress has merely made a decision with which the president disagrees. The president should not be able to declare an emergency in order to overturn an act of Congress.

Jerry Greenfield, Richland

Safe disposal of needles needed

My comments are offered in support of the continued presence of the needle-exchange program housed in downtown Pasco. I must struggle once a year to find a safe way to dispose of epipens, prescribed for my wasp sting allergy, to prevent death from anaphylaxis. I want to be responsible by not sending the needles and potentially lethal medication contained within each epipen in my household garbage! Again, my disposal process is difficult. Consider the benefits to public health if all needles are disposed safely.

Margaret C. Ellison, Pasco

Living the dream of NRA in USA

What a country! We’re living the NRA dream. Good guys with guns gunning down bad guys with guns every day. It’s so inspiring seeing the police in their cool battle gear rushing to the scene of the latest mass shooting. Makes you proud, doesn’t it? Oh yeah, there were some innocent people shot to death before the good guys got there, but oh well. If we can live with more people shot to death in the USA than in all our wars combined, what’s a few daily more. After all, what’s more important, our gun rights or 1,800 or so kids under 18 killed by guns annually. No contest there till you pry my cold dead fingers.

And how inspiring to see our sheriffs refusing to enforce a gun law they don’t like. Such a great example for us all. Law enforcement officers don’t have to enforce laws they don’t like. Just because a few lives will be saved is no reason to enforce rational gun laws. Every person who pays dues to the NRA and supports the NRA’s guns and ammo for everybody all the time agenda has a lot of blood on their hands. Living the NRA dream!

Edward Rykiel, Richland

We ought to help addicts get clean

I couldn’t disagree more with the needle exchange program. What is needed is a rehab facility to help get addicts clean. I speak from experience. I’ve been addicted to prescription opioids twice due to medical issues and went cold turkey and through withdrawals both times by myself at home. It was hell, but it had to be done. It is a week of skin crawling, horrible heartburn and nausea – much worse than the flu. I understand why addicts don’t want to go through it; they don’t want to be sick. But enabling them only makes it worse for them! Help addicts get clean, don’t enable them!

Jim Homan, Richland

Enforce sidewalk snow removal

This winter has been hard on everyone in the Tri-Cities, but the hardest-hit are people who rely on sidewalks — and most of these sidewalks remain piled with snow.

Every day in Richland I see children, the elderly, couples and workers who are forced to walk in the streets, endangering both themselves and motorists. It should be apparent to everyone by now that most businesses and homeowners cannot be bothered to remove snow from their sidewalks, even though they are legally obligated to do so.

It is the city’s responsibility to enforce their compliance, especially during extreme weather when the negative effects are compounded. Anything else tells pedestrians loudly and clearly that their safety doesn’t matter. Let me put this another way: by failing to enforce its own rules, our city is telling vulnerable citizens that it does not care about them, that it will not work for them, and that their lives — and tax dollars — mean nothing.

It is time for our elected leaders to do their jobs. Perhaps fees collected from negligent homes and businesses could go back into municipal snow-clearing costs.

Adam Whittier, Richland

Ask role of drugs in gun violence

Interesting Sunday paper (2/17/2019). Lots of articles on the evils of guns, and who to “blame.” Gun culture, lack of respect for life, the NRA, and politicians. You may want to add the drug culture. I’ve been studying articles on the effects of marijuana. Not easy reading; they’re written for Ph.D.’s. But a common theme seems to be “brain dysfunction.”

A more readable resource is the Imprimis magazine (Jan. 2019, Vol. 48, No. 1, Hillsdale College), “Marijuana, Mental Illness and Violence”. Alex Berenson did much more extensive research than I could, and created a readable summary. His findings include, “…cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses.” And cannabis use “appears to provoke many of them [users] to violence.” And “… people with schizophrenia are five times more likely to commit violent crimes as healthy people, and almost twenty times as likely to commit homicide.”

This would imply we should be tracking the recreational (or otherwise) drugs used by the offenders. Does the database of gun incidents include this? If so, what does it say? If not, why not? If you’re not asking the right questions, you won’t get the right answers.

David Langford, Richland

HIV/AIDS pledge seems overlooked

The president in his State of The Union speech pledged to “end AIDS in the United States and beyond.” This promise has been overlooked in most of the postmortems. There are an estimated 1.1 million HIV positive people in the U.S., globally, HIV infects 36.7 million people and has killed a staggering 35 million people. It is a global scourge.

The good news is we have the tools to diagnose, prevent and treat HIV. The U.S. has also joined the global community in addressing the confounding disease that most often affects people with HIV—tuberculosis. TB is the biggest killer of people with HIV, so it too must be addressed if we are to end HIV/AIDS.

Sens. (Patty) Murray and (Maria) Cantwell, and Rep. (Dan) Newhouse can each do their part to realize the unifying promise of ending AIDS by encouraging funding for the Global Fund, global TB, and access to prevention and treatment for HIV/AIDS in the U.S. This is a bipartisan issue, and it would be great to see their public support.

Stan Moon, Results Volunteer, Richland

Stop interfering in Latin America

President Maduro of Venezuela believes that the United States is planning an illegal, Vietnam-style, military aggression against the people of Venezuela, and that the United States government is wrong to declare an unelected official the head of state when democratic elections upheld his presidency just months ago.

This letter is not about socialism versus capitalism, it is about self-determination of the Venezuelan people. U.S. officials claim to want to help the people of Venezuela: They can do this by ending sanctions, unfreezing accounts, stopping the meddling and intervention in another nation’s affairs, and ceasing to foment the overthrow of yet another Latin-American government. I and many citizens of America feel that the Statue of Liberty already has too many scalps on her belt. Please tell your readers to stop the rape and colonization of indigenous peoples lands here and now.

Frank Ellsworth Lockwood, Membership Coordinator (and Founding Official) of Green Party of the Mid-Columbia, Kennewick

Trump is either a crook or a fool

Ya dee Ya dee it was all bull and everyone knows it. We all want a great country, but this President’s idea of a great country is, “my way or the highway,” and no sin is too much if it is committed by or on his behalf.

Dan, you need to think like a man of integrity and stand up for this country; the President is a hazard and left unchecked will do us all great harm.

Come into the light, if he is truly innocent of any crimes, then he should welcome the investigations into his many entanglements, but then again, his association with all these proven crooks that had managed to get so high up in these same entanglements should have you questioning the man’s ability to ascertain the quality of the people he surrounds himself with.

The way I see it, and you should too, is either the president is a crook or he is a fool. Either way, he should not be president.

Michael Lavering, Richland