Letters to the Editor: 1-10-2013


America: 350 million guns, 47,000 psychiatrists. We have a constitutional right to bear arms. We have no constitutional right to health care.

America is the most heavily armed nation in the world. America also leads the world in mental illness. Half of all Americans develop at least one mental illness. Half of all cases begin during childhood.

Nearly half of all Americans have at least one gun at home. The human brain controls the gun. People will find ways to end their pain.

A civilized society offers civilized solutions. A violent society offers violent solutions. It’s easier to get a gun than see a psychiatrist. It’s cheaper to buy a gun than see a psychiatrist. Ammunition costs less than medication. Bullets are just a few cents each.

God bless America.

Pamela Wible, M.D., Eugene


Tom Giesen’s essay on global warming [12/27] nailed it. The level of denial in the U.S. is beyond frustrating. Recently I went to San Francisco for a Climate Reality Leadership training. There were 1,000 attendees from 58 different countries. They had to schedule a separate meeting for those in other nations to strategize, because they do not have global warming denial. 

Every academy of science in the world agrees this is happening and is urging action. If we make some relatively small sacrifices now, we could make a difference. If the speed limit were reduced to 55 mph we would save burning one billion gallons of gasoline a year here in the U.S. alone, and if we parked our vehicles and walked or biked, even better. Deforestation is second only to fossil fuel burning in contributing to global warming. We need to demand an end to clearcuts and old-growth logging on private, state and federal forestland. 

A global tax on pollution is essential. That way clean energy, selectively harvested wood and other sustainable options would be competitively priced and industry would be on a level playing field. It’s past time to take responsibility.

Pam Driscoll, Dexter


In his Dec. 27 article on global warming, Tom Giesen says that “international negotiations to agree to a treaty to reduce emissions have so far proved useless, as the process is long on rhetoric and intention, and bereft of action.”

However, a new international treaty is essential, because no country can deal with the global warming crisis alone. I’m not ready to give up. The world’s poorer countries agreed in December 2011 that, unlike under the Kyoto Accord, they would be willing to have their emissions limited by legally binding targets. But President Obama seems to believe that the U.S. should not sign a treaty that the Senate will not ratify.

The Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL), an organization with over 60 local chapters, has been building the political will for Congress to put a price on carbon. Grassroots activity can convince President Obama that his hands are not tied in the negotiations.

People can participate in one-hour informational conference calls introducing them to CCL on Wednesdays at 5 pm Pacific time, (866) 642-1665 (toll-free), pass code 440699#.

Milton Takei, Eugene


The city of Eugene South Willamette Street Improvement Plan states its goal as helping south Willamette become a “vibrant urban corridor accessible by bicycle, foot, car and bus now, and in the future.” Currently South Willamette Street is frighteningly unsafe for all forms of travel. Reconfiguring it to our needs as a community in touch with its time means a design that puts more emphasis on walking, taking the bus, auto sharing and bicycling.

Facilitating auto and truck volumes that benefit rather than impair our environment, personal and public health, and economic needs will make Willamette safe, inviting and inclusive. None of them need exclude the other. Within the 60 feet of right-of-way we have the chance to do something we can all be very proud of.

David H. Gizara



Thank you Eugene City Council members George Brown and Paul Conte for setting a legal precedent for a group of affected and concerned citizens to stand up to a large developer like Capstone and force them to include the safety of people and the environment involved so that the shareholders’ dividends reflect the price of doing business, and to have a citizen-controlled watchdog committee doggin’ their paper trail. 

Vince Loving, Eugene


This is a letter of concern for the people of Eugene who are at this time homeless. By no fault of their own but because of the commercial conflict that is happening in our economy. 

Their immediate need is for a place to sleep, and I think there is an answer. If the City Hall, which is vacant, could be opened to these folks for a sleep-over, there are a number of rooms available. 

Also there are 350 beds vacant in the Lane County Jail that could be used by these folks. No need to have a warm building go to waste when there are bodies that need a place to rest and sleep, in a dry area.

Food is not a need at this time because there are a number of volunteer organizations that have programs for helping the people with meals. We would be providing a place where the food could be delivered to a central spot for distribution — solving a problem for these volunteers.

The people paid for these buildings in the past with their tax dollars and now is the time to show that there is a heart in Eugene that returns a favor when a fellow neighbor is in need. Camping out is fine in the summer and good weather but in the cold, wet weather that frequents this area there is a real problem of flu and of course pneumonia that is always a worry for those less healthy.

Robert Mueller, Veneta


I have to go to downtown Eugene about once a week. Over the past year I have been keeping a tally of how many cars fail to yield to pedestrians who are crossing the street legally in crosswalks. During each visit downtown, I saw at least one driver who made an illegal turn in front of me. Once I saw a driver attempting to make a left turn from 13th onto Willamette in front of Chase Bank. 

A disabled woman was crossing legally with the walk sign and the driver sadistically leaned on his horn and honked at the woman relentlessly. When she finally reached the curb she was shaking and crying so I stopped to console her. She kept saying; “I can’t walk fast, I can’t walk fast.” It was despicable!

On Christmas Eve downtown, six cars failed to yield to me while I was crossing legally at a crosswalk. They were either running a stop sign or making a turn onto a one-way street at a red light without looking for pedestrians. Today a driver not only failed to stop at a stop sign, but when I stood my ground in the crosswalk where I had the right of way, and pointed at her and said “You have to stop!” she hit her gas and swerved around me recklessly to cut me off, driving on the wrong side of the road.

Eugene is supposed to be a town for “arts and outdoors” but if you are walking you risk your life, and now even the bicyclists are speeding down sidewalks, afraid to share the road with cars.

There is a pernicious culture of selfishness that has pervaded life in this town. People who own three-ton gas-powered missiles have “gun control” — it is called a driver’s license. However, this does not give them free license to use their vehicles as weapons to intimidate pedestrians.

Eileen Polk, Eugene


 “Fire all of your guns at once, and explode into space” [lyrics from the song “Born to be Wild”]. The lines to get in gun shows are blocks long. The price of semi-assault weapons (my word for them) has doubled in one month. Permits for concealed weapons permits are skyrocketing.

The $633 billion military industrial complex budget has doubled in the last 10 years. Billions are spent to militarize space. The daily death count from drone strikes is growing.

Like apes using bones to kill, I guess we are really “born to be wild.”

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain


Some people just aren’t connecting the dots. If more guns somehow made for more safety, then America should be the most protected nation on Earth, in terms of being safe from firearms deaths and injuries. The reality is quite the opposite.

I find at least three references in a holy book that many claim to follow, concerning the principle that “they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” This certainly has proven true, over and over again. Kip Kinkel’s parents — ironically, both public school teachers — thought for some reason that it was smart to stockpile weapons, and gift them to their medicated son. The Newtown shooter used his mother’s guns. It is reported that she lived in fear, and so put her faith in the very weapons that realized her worst fears.

My answer: Don’t provoke the gun believers by meddling with the Second Amendment. Simply pass a new amendment which outlaws making any profit on weapons manufacture. That’s right, you can still have those precious guns; but no entity shall reap a profit by turning out guns, ammunition, grenades, tasers, nukes — anything made expressly for killing or violent enforcement.

Those who continue to see a necessity for such weapons will still have them, but nobody will be producing obscene numbers of such things, because nobody will find it obscenely profitable. We need to enact a Not-for-Profit Armaments Amendment because the American people have been sold a bill of guns — er, goods. Not good.

Vip B. Short, Eugene


The corporations that run the NRA apparently would prefer to live in a police state (while they simultaneously bust police unions and lobby to slash funding for public safety — go figure). I would prefer to live in a civilization. If we are to be a civilized society, we must set rules. No one should be allowed to own slaves, or nuclear weapons, or assault weapons, or even ammunition clips greater than six bullets. When these things are banned, we move closer to achieving what Gandhi thought “would be a good idea,” that is, Western Civilization.

Yesterday I cut out snowflakes to help welcome the Sandy Hook children to their new elementary school. It is not enough. I want to promise them — and all of our children — a civilized future. I demand and call on all citizens to demand an assault weapons ban from our elected officials.

Dawn Lesley, Eugene


I think the basic economic questions of today are: How rich should the rich be, compared to the average? and then, “How should we adjust taxes to make it so?

How about if each person’s monetary wealth is proportionate to their real and potential contributions to larger communities, those including family to world? (“real” and “potential” not being proportionate is a problem of the education system.) 

“From each according to his ability and to each according to his need” implies we’re all equal and only trading one form of wealth for another. I think I’m taking that a step further. How many people were really born with the ability to make contributions even over 10 times those of the average person, especially if their parents also had an equitable income? 

We also need extra taxes on the rich as compensation for the ongoing ability to buy political power to adjust tax rates.

Dan Robinson, Eugene


Wayne LaPierre of the NRA lashed out at all his perceived adversaries out there and fired off a would-be rebuttal, saying that America in effect needed armed guards in every school to protect our vulnerable schoolchildren. He failed to mention, however, how his remarks were sparked by the vulnerability of his rigid NRA position.

Placing an armed guard in every school entails enormous expense just as our federal economy is in a dire struggle to recover, so it’s a no-go proposal in terms of political wisdom.

If we endeavor to invest that much money in screening, training and salaries for a humongous corps of new armed guards, would we not be snatching away funds badly needed for mental health research to track down clues to violence? Also, to differentiate violence-prone psychotics from those with other problems?

As a former Library Board member locally, I, and probably others, would demand equal protection of libraries and museums and other much-frequented public sites. Protecting kids alone and ignoring others is pure folly.

One hidden aspect of LaPierre’s oratory — like a carefully concealed weapon — is the undercover benefits his proposal would have to munitions makers. The secret unmentioned term is: profits galore.

Can one foresee the firestorm created if the NRA plan sees the light of day? Do we wish to turn every school into a modern-day version of Fort Apache? Is that the future erosion fated for our education system?

Bottom Line: It appears that NRA has achieved a new acronym. It now stands for No Rational Answer.

B. Lee Coyne, Eugene


The revolution that would benefit us all is one that ends with the domination of nature; the herding culture should see its days end. There are good things in all religions but the idea of enslaving and exploiting sentient life separates us from loving and respecting them. Children should be allowed to love animals and not taught to love some but not be concerned about those they are being served in their meals. 

A friend of mine who works in a local school was talking about how much uneaten food/milk was being poured out by the kids. It could be that the children would like to be given the opportunity to be complete animal lovers and not be constantly bombarded by messages that they must be carnivores to be healthy with no regard for the animals themselves. As Sixto Linares, record holder for the longest single day triathlon and other world class athletes prove, you don’t need animal products to win. 

Our young will be here longer than us and they need all the help they can get to adapt to a more crowded planet with limited resources. We could help kids by our not being complicit in the current paradigm of the self-centered eating and using food which clogs our bodies with toxins, pollutes our environment, rips animal families apart and gives rise to an uncaring world. Lets start new humane traditions; enlarge our circle of caring and heal.

Cindy Biles & Dave Ivan Piccioni, Eugene


 The painful circumstances of a young woman raped, beaten and left for dead (and indeed she died) in New Delhi does have a silver lining, as her fate brings to light the millions whose voices and stories have been buried or swept aside for untold years.

There obviously is a deep change that erupts in the streets and the hearts of millions, that finally another culture is awaking to this, and in this her death is not in vain. The next step is to know her name and face, as a culture which attaches shame to the victim hasn’t yet come to know itself. Bring her into the light, and let us know her. She is a true martyr for all those faceless girls and women who have suffered for millennia, and in this India is head and shoulders above the Islamic countries in the region who yet fear the Goddess more than they fear each other blowing up their rivals’ mosques. 

Give her story and her face to the world that all may mourn, just as a girl who was shot in the head for promoting education in Pakistan, a girl whose genitals were mutilated that she never know an orgasm in Africa, or a woman stoned for not wearing a bag in Iran should be known. Let those in the streets in India make NEVER AGAIN a reality for all those little girls born and growing up into a better world.

Bruce Orton, Eugene


Take a look around ya. 

Congestion, more regulation, environmental urbanization.

Organic deficiency, proud perverts, political experts, war merchants.

Acquiescent tax paying patsy-crats, obesity, bad teeth, poor eyesight, dollar-driven megalomania.

It’s bound to scare ya!

Jon Meadow, Eugene


A frequent bugaboo of the “fiscal cliff” debacle was the “milk cliff,” the threat of milk price doubling, if Congress failed to extend dairy subsidies. Parents were forgoing other necessities, because their children “had to have milk.”

Most industries would gladly give up their tax loopholes for that kind of product loyalty. But this one is totally undeserved. Consumption of dairy products, laden with saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs elevates the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. This is particularly critical during childhood years, when dietary flaws become lifelong addictions. 

A study of 12,829 children by Harvard Medical School found that drinking cow’s milk leads to weight gain. Several proteins in cow’s milk can thicken mucus secretions leading to respiratory problems in children. Most African-Americans and Asian-Americans suffer from cramping and diarrhea because they lack the enzyme to digest lactose in cow’s milk. 

The good news is that green leafy vegetables and legumes supply all the calcium and proteins touted in cow’s milk, without the excess calories and other yucky factors noted. Every supermarket offers a huge line of dairy-free milks, cheeses, and ice creams made from healthy nuts and grains.

This is why USDA’s current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, shunt dairy (and meat) off the recommended plate of vegetables, fruits, and grains. 

Cow’s milk is produced for bovine, not human babies. Let’s give our kids a healthy start!

Elijah Hennison, Eugene