Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for Jan. 4

U.S. violates international law

In a decent criminal justice system, police investigate a crime and arrest a suspect. The prosecutor presents evidence before a judge and jury in a fair trial with due process for the defendant. Only if convicted can punishment be imposed.

Should police destroy your whole neighborhood and kill your family and dozens of neighbors because a suspected lawbreaker visits your neighborhood?

Not even an actual criminal. Just someone who might commit a crime sometime in the future?

Should other countries bomb U.S. neighborhoods for such a flimsy reason?

This is exactly what the U.S. does repeatedly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and now Yemen, where Bush and now Obama send bombs and missiles into neighborhoods where “suspected al-Qaida leaders” are suspected of visiting.

Such reckless actions blatantly violate international law and any sense of decency.

Republican and Democratic presidents alike commit these illegal acts, and our bipartisan Congress provides funding.

The rest of the world is outraged when the US violates international law, but Americans assume that we’re above the law.

Every time Bush or Obama kills innocent civilians, they recruit more terrorists. The man who tried to destroy a U.S. passenger plane on Christmas Day said he did it in retaliation for the recent U.S. attack in Yemen, which killed 23 people. U.S. news media reported his terrorist attack, but underplayed the U.S. military attack that provoked it.

The U.S. “war on terror” creates more terrorists. Military “solutions” are really the problem!

Please make Obama and Congress stop now.


Change the culture of prisons

Criminals are slipping through the cracks every day (Larry Hinken, letter 12/17) since our system is doing nothing but preparing them for future crime. Our high incarceration rate is created by our high recidivism rate. The rehabilitation part of incarceration has been missing for many years, and that is why so many people are released, commit more crimes, and are incarcerated again.

The correctional system is highly dysfunctional. Focused on punishment only, prisons are unpleasant, dehumanizing, violent places. If incarcerated people were not violent and aggressive when they went in, they might very well be when they come out because they have to be to survive inside. The warehousing of caged people for long periods of time creates a hostility and a violence which often leave them so angry and dehumanized that they are impossible to reach. Sadly, without any help, these people will offend again.

In spite of study after study demonstrating reductions in crime with the investment in educational and vocational programs, most have been cut out. We will be safer only when those coming out of prison can function appropriately and productively. These functional skills can and should be taught. Prisons should be places of learning ... places of rehabilitation.


Please return Grinch

Have you heard of the “Grinch that Stole Christmas?” What about the “Grinch that was stolen”?

Hello. My name is Eliana Potts and I am 9 years old (almost 10). When Christmas comes around I am so excited about gifts and family, but I am also excited about putting up lights outside. We have a blow-up Grinch, and I am always so excited when I see it outside our house. This year, on Dec. 28, it was stolen from in front of our house. My family and I feel really sad about it, and I wish it could be returned.

Next year, when the lights go up, we will also look for our friend The Grinch. You can look for him too. He stands about 7 feet tall, has a funny smirk on his face, and has duct tape on his left arm. Don’t forget: He is wearing a Christmas suit and hat. We will be looking for him in hopes to see him. I hope the people who took him love him as much as my three siblings and I do.

Please let people know it isn’t right to take things that don’t belong to you. Thank you for your time.


Take a closer look at the budget

Here we go again. The governor and the Democratic-run Legislature are tugging away at the bleeding hearts of taxpayers. The ridiculous budget cuts she and the Legislature are proposing are just more scare tactics to get our hard earned money.

There are many other ways they could find to solve the budget deficit, but instead they plan to cut services people care about most. It’s just another attempt to entice you to vote for a tax increase.

What if instead of cutting funding for subsidized health care, programs for the unemployed, elderly, and disabled, or reimbursement rates for foster parents, budget cuts were targeted at programs such as the Washington State Arts Commission, the state’s Pheasant Enhancement Program, in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, or any of the other many expendable programs?