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Letters in the Editor's Mailbag.

Byline: The Register-Guard

Health choices restricted

Two actions recently taken by our federal government regarding health care should be noted by all. Most on the mind of Oregonians is, of course, is the U.S. attorney general's attempt to kill (pardon the pun) our Death With Dignity Act by revoking the prescription licenses of doctors who help terminal patients obtain the means of ending their own lives. Also, there was the raid on the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center and the seizure of its finances, medical records and supply of medicinal marijuana. I suspect that a way is being sought to put an end to our own medical marijuana act in Oregon.

While the ethical consequences of laws permitting suicide and the use of marijuana may be debatable, they were in fact carefully crafted laws, affirmatively voted for by a majority of voting citizens to help ease the suffering of the afflicted. We are, in effect, being told that we may suffer and die only according to the processes approved of by the federal government and those who bend the politicians' ears. I find it beyond ironic that patients with chronic or terminal ailments are told that they may neither end their lives nor use a drug that may ease their suffering. It seems to me that a person opposed to suicide would be in favor of additional ways of reducing pain.

When the federal government can offer to all citizens free and universal health care, I will accept its decisions as to what constitutes appropriate medical care.

RUSSELL W. PLATT Springfield

Aren't we better?

A letter writer (Register-Guard, Nov. 5) suggests that civilians are frequently killed in warfare and because of that we should stop wringing our hands over the deaths of innocent civilians. In a further attempt to "put this issue in perspective," he cites the disastrous loss of civilian lives in London, Rotterdam, Dresden, Tokyo and Hiroshima during World War II.

To put this in another perspective, the firebombings of Dresden and Tokyo and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, none of which were of significant military value, were perpetrated by the military of the United States. The destruction in Rotterdam and London were of course wrought by the 20th century's most evil force, Nazism's Adolf Hitler. This is fine company he put us in.

Are we any better? Shouldn't we be?


Infecting society

I just finished reading the article (Register-Guard, Nov. 18) by Charles Levendosky about torture. The last paragraph really got to me: "Torture is never the lesser of two evils. Torture infects a society with a disease from which it may never recover. The foundation of our liberty, of all liberty - is respect for the human dignity of each and every person."

How do we reconcile that need to respect the human dignity of each and every person with the fact that right here at home we are perpetrating the worst torture imaginable: the murder by abortion of totally innocent human beings - unborn Americans? By showing such disrespect for the human dignity of these unborn Americans, aren't we infecting our society with a disease "from which it may never recover?

ANN CRAWLEY Cottage Grove

Maintaining vigilance

Over the past several years, members of Neighborhood Watch have said that we must be vigilant until all residents of our communities become members.

In an address to the nation on Nov. 8, President Bush said some very interesting things about how we as citizens can really help our communities. "Our citizens have new responsibilities. We must be vigilant," he said. "Many ask, what can I do to help in our fight. The answer is simple. All of us can become a Sept. 11. volunteer by making a commitment to service in our own communities. You can participate in your Neighborhood Watch or Crime Stoppers."

He concluded by saying, "My fellow Americans, let's roll." Let's hope that many in our county also heard and will respond to that statement and that we'll see the membership rolls overflowing with a renewed interest in Neighborhood Watch. The president is right. We do need to accept new responsibilities. We do need to be vigilant, and we do need to participate in the Neighborhood Watch program. Lane County, the city of Eugene and Springfield support the Neighborhood Watch system. For additional information about a watch group in your area, call your local law enforcement agency (use a non-emergency number) and ask for the Neighborhood Watch coordinator.


Vida-McKenzie Neighborhood Watch Vida

Taylor has tenacity

Poor Betty Taylor, everybody wants to take her to task for her views. Why?

Taylor was voted into office as a Eugene city councilor many years ago for views and unwavering beliefs that voters admired. The election process allows people to influence government through elected representatives. If voters do not exercise this right, they should either accept the consequences or get off their duffs and make some changes.

Too few people are willing to seek elected office because of the chastisement they must endure if they're elected. Those truly able and gifted for these roles are wise enough not to place their families, business associates and friends in the spotlight for fear of the snide ridicule that Taylor is now enduring.

Armchair quarterbacks, ready with their loud mouths to second guess and exhibit boorish behavior, don't have the character and spirit to step into the limelight. They're too afraid of getting hit by the same eggs that Taylor is now dodging.

Taylor is not perfect, and there are a lot of folks who wish she would either keep quiet or step down. But one has to admire her tenacity and her genuine interest in the future of the city she represents. Good citizens not only support their elected officials, they respect their commitment and the truly difficult job they endure for the sake of the community.

Naysayers should go out and buy some popcorn, a pint or two, settle into their recliners with their TV remotes and leave the hard work to those who care and are willing to make themselves vulnerable.


Time to pull together

Never before have we understood the meaning of the word community more than now. We all continue to be affected by the events of Sept. 11. In these times of crisis we have seen our nation come together. In addition to acts of tragedy, we have seen great acts of love, kindness and heroism, some of which are lodged in our memory forever.

As we continue to deal with the events happening across the nation, there is a growing and dramatic need arising right here in our own back yard. Our economy is in recession. Unemployment is on the rise, along with our utility bills. The cold winter months are almost upon us, and there are many people in our community who are going to have a hard time making it through.

When the economy falters, our families suffer. The demand for virtually all services has increased from food and shelter to after- school programs, family violence support and substance abuse treatment. The Lane County community has traditionally been extremely generous and responsive during times of significant need.

Now we are asking people to give again, and this time to dig deeper than ever before. We need their time and money so that those less fortunate can receive medical care, food and shelter. We need people to support us so that we can support our children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Only with the help of all of us can we meet our neighbors' needs and sustain our community.


United Way Agency

Directors Organization Eugene

Helping the war effort

In the dimming of this twilight war, I have felt, as I am sure many readers have, a sense of powerlessness over the events and policies that are guiding our lives. Nevertheless, I believe there are measures each of us can take to contribute to the war effort and empower ourselves:

1) The petrochemical industry is literally a dinosaur and should be sent to its well-earned extinction. By reducing our need for oil, especially oil from the Middle East, we increase our flexibility. That means getting out of those gas hogs; most of us don't need the kinds of cars we have allowed Detroit to pander to us. Also we should insist on alternatives to petro-based plastics, which are a nightmare to recycle and a waste.

2) Pay taxes and quit complaining. We have always been among the lowest-taxed peoples in the industrial world, and spoiled rotten.

3) Keep in touch with your elected officials, especially the federal ones. Let them know you insist on a foreign policy that does not drive poor people to hate and kill us. Let them know they should share our dreams, and spend our dollars wisely to promote us and our interests, not those of corporations.

4) Give something. It may sound trite, but give in a way that will make you feel good; something more than just sending a check to some distant worthy cause. Give time, expertise and blood, as well as money.


Patriotic adjustments

Patriotism is running strong, so we can expect to see some important changes in the near future. Americans who think nuclear power is a good idea will soon call for an aggressive switch to wind and solar because nuclear plants make excellent terrorist targets, but windmills scattered across the rural areas of our country do not.

Americans who think toxic-right-to-know laws are absurd will change their minds when they discover that the paint factory near their home is a prime terrorist target. Those who think Microsoft software is excellent will reconsider upon realizing that a terrorist hacker can attack 90 percent of the country's computers with a single virus.

Americans who think factory food tastes good will soon switch to organics because small farms are less likely to have their crops poisoned by terrorists. Those who think their automobiles deserve new freeways paved through wetlands will soon switch to mass transit and bicycles so that America becomes less dependent on foreign oil.

And Americans who think the above statements are correct are dreaming. Most Americans don't think much at all. Once the flag is in the car window, they're done. They are now official patriots. Forget clean air, clean water, healthy neighborhoods: "I've got a flag and I'm covered. Presidential papers hidden? So what. Government access to e-mail? Sure. Military tribunals? No problem. Limits to media access? But of course. So where is the remote? Did the game start yet?"



The Register-Guard welcomes letters on topics of general interest. Our length limit is 250 words; all letters are subject to condensation. Writers are limited to one letter per calendar month. Because of the volume of mail, not all letters can be printed. Letters must be signed with the writer's full name. Mail letters to Mailbag, P.O. Box 10188, Eugene, OR 97440-2188 Fax: 338-2828 E-mail:
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Nov 23, 2001
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