Following an example
I have been very interested in the letters back and forth on the subject of the unborn child in a woman’s womb and whether it should be protected or not by our society and by our laws.
I am grateful for our newspaper that allows the freedom to express differing opinions that are deeply held convictions … and going forward that dialogue can continue by all interested parties without rancor and hatred forming! My personal reflection on this matter causes me to step back and observe an individual who saw hatred, malice, slander, murder, rape everywhere all around him and said, “I will step in and be a substitute punishment for all these actions so everyone can have the opportunity to start over, be forgiven, and be genuinely valued and loved. He considered giving up his rights as a human being for the sake of others to be the highest privilege he could attain. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
I have attempted to follow his example since I met him 45 years ago. I personally have decided to give life rather than take life, to serve another rather than require service and to care genuinely for my neighbor wherever I meet him or her in this world.
My hope is that these few thoughts might be an encouragement to someone reading this letter.
Judith Blakeney, Winthrop
The evil of leg-hold traps
I read with unsettled interest about the starving mother cougar who was put down, leaving her dependent young to a life sentence behind bars in a zoo where they can be gawked and gaped at by all manner of selfie-snappin’ city-dwellers. What caught my attention, besides that yet another Methow cougar “had to be’” killed, was that it happened along the Twisp-Carlton Road and it appeared she had been injured escaping a leg-hold trap. I can tell you firsthand that getting an animal’s foot out of one of those evil torture-devices is no simple task — an intense trauma for everyone involved.
Some years back, off that very same road, my shepherd/lab/Malamute mix stepped in a rusty, old trap that clamped down onto his front paw, prying his toes apart. He cried out in terror and frantically tried to shake it off, biting at the trap, his paw, and at me as I fought to open the mindless steel jaws. The trap continued to cut deeper into his tender flesh and my efforts caused him even more pain. Finally, after many harrowing minutes, I was able to loosen the torture device enough for him to pull his foot free.
With no other hope of escape and feeling vulnerable to anything that comes along, many trapped animals resort to chewing off their own foot. Trappers callously label this grim act of despair “wring-off.” In northern British Columbia, I happened on the chewed-off foreleg of a lynx. Clearly, freedom is precious to any animal desperate enough to take this extreme step.
The twisted tradition of trapping is still legal in Canada, as well as Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and a host of other backwards states. Fortunately, saner heads prevailed here in Washington and saw to it that pets and wildlife could not be legally trapped here in this day and age.
Jim Robertson, Twisp
The real crises
Bringing our government to a standstill over “The Wall” was one of the more senseless developments of the year. Since a high of 1.6 million estimated illegal crossings in 2001, the numbers have steadily declined to a low in 2017 of 310,531. This is a 76-percent drop, a drop that occurred despite no “Wall.” This number is a mere 1 percent of the U.S. population. (On any given night in 2018, nearly twice that number of people were homeless). It is estimated that nearly half of “illegals” did not arrive illegally but overstayed legal visas from all over the world, not just those pesky southern countries. Many are seeking legal asylum, escaping violence and extreme hardships in their countries of origin. If there is an emergency it is for them due to the lack of personnel needed to quickly process their requests.
It is instructive to remember when the Irish swamped the east coast in the 1840s. Between 1845 and 1855, 1.5 million Irish came to the United States escaping the potato famine. In 1852, one in four people in New York City were recent immigrant Irish. The Irish were vilified as barely subhuman and the end of the “American” way of life was forecast. A powerful political movement arose, the “ Know Nothings,” so-named because they “knew nothing” when asked about the violence they spread in their campaign of terror against the Irish. Did New York and Boston collapse under the crush of Irish immigrants? No. Although many initially lived in poverty, the Irish became a valued part of this nation, and now we joyfully celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
The real crisis is our inability to craft solutions to our nationwide problems: low job prospects for the working class, income inequality, crumbling infrastructures (25 percent of our bridges are unsafe or inadequate), homelessness, devastating wildfires, and the other challenges of climate change. Why not spend that $5 billion on infrastructure, drug treatment and education? Wow, a bonanza of jobs and upward mobility for our people rather than a white elephant “Wall.”
Kathleen Learned, Twisp