Letters to the editor

Kill the pain, not the patient

Physician-assisted suicide advocates often claim that such suicides should be legal; otherwise, people will suffer tremendous pain. Is this always so? Experts, such as Dr. Eric Chevlen, tell us that no one needs to die in pain. If a patient is suffering, it's because the patient is not getting the treatment he or she needs. The solution isn't to exterminate the patient but to exterminate the pain.

In addition, pain isn't the real reason Oregonians commit suicide. The reasons are lost autonomy and decreased ability to participate in activities burden to family incontinence.

Are these valid reasons to kill yourself? People become discouraged about their diminishing capabilities and, understandably, they don't want to burden others. They become depressed as a result.

Depression &

a mental illness &

is the leading cause for contemplating suicide. Studies indicate that 93 percent to 94 percent of those committing suicide suffer from an identifiable mental disorder. Yet, legalized suicide creates a presumption of sanity, hindering the afflicted from getting treatment.

Physician-assisted suicide advocates speak of safeguards, but it's empty talk. Only 5 percent of Oregonians who commit physician-assisted suicide actually receive psychiatric evaluation. Instead of providing the "right" for people to control their deaths, physician-assisted suicide removes protection for our most vulnerable citizens.

Sally Steele

Obama is getting it right

I am relieved to hear that there is a candidate, Barack Obama, who actually understands who and where the enemy is. The al-Qaida in Pakistan is the al-Qaida we must fight over there so we don't have to fight them here.

I find it very disappointing that many people share President Bush's confusion between the al-Qaida in Iraq and the al-Qaida in Pakistan. The al-Qaida in Pakistan represents a huge danger to U.S. citizens. On the other hand, according to CIA Director Michael Hayden, the al-Qaida in Iraq ranks a lowly fifth as a threat after the insurgency, sectarian strife, criminality and general anarchy.

The other disappointment is the assumption that the U.S. military is the sole body capable of ridding the al-Qaida in Iraq. In the Anbar Province, Iraqis couldn't fight the al-Qaida in Iraq as long as the U.S. military was present or risk being seen as American collaborators. But as soon as the U.S. military moved out, the local sheikhs banded together and are quickly ridding the province of the al-Qaida in Iraq.

It looks as if Obama is getting it 100 percent right.

Maura Van Heuit

Harrop's right on population

Columnist Froma Harrop's July 31 column on population ("Courage about population needed") was well done and implied how hopeless environmental causes are unless environmentalists deal with the underlying cause of degradation &

ever more people needing ever more goods, services and housing over increasingly spread out urbanized areas.

While people like Sierra Club head Carl Pope remain in denial about the main cause of environmental losses, and while we elect pro-growth people to Congress like Ron Wyden, Earl Blumenauer, and David Wu, there isn't really much hope of retaining the naturalness we all profess to want.

Due to low development densities, every 3,000 people added to the U.S. or Oregon consumes about a square mile of farmland, forest land, open space or wildlife habitat. Because of high immigration quotas and the children of immigrants, we add 25 million to 30 million people every 10 years. Pity that Pope, Wyden, Blumenauer, and Wu won't do the math to determine how much open land is lost every 10 years and how much will be lost over the next 100 years if present policies continue.

Brent Thompson

President, Friends of Jackson County


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