Letters to the Editor: Oct. 15
October 14, 2008 · 10:39 PM
Law works well in Oregon
I reject the argument expressed in the Oct. 1 Beachcomber (“I-1000 will make some feel pressure to end their lives,” by Laura Wishik) that I-1000 would set us on the slippery slope to euthanasia or represent a freedom that society must deny the majority to protect the few.
The facts say otherwise, including the fact that the same law has worked as intended in Oregon for 10 years. Only 300 to 400 people have chosen to hasten death; many more have been comforted by knowing they can, but have not chosen to do so.
Most important is that the law would cover a very narrow population and with stringent safeguards.
For instance, the patient must be an adult who has been diagnosed as terminally ill with six or fewer months to live. He or she must be mentally competent, supported in his or her decision by two physicians and make the request both in writing and orally before witnesses. The patient must also be subject to a waiting period and able to self-administer the medication, but also to revoke his or her decision at any time.
The law would not apply to a woman in the depths of dementia who could no longer self-administer the medication (coercion would be a felony), nor for a disabled person not already terminally ill. It has no relevance to teen suicide since death can only be hastened by a few months and in a carefully circumscribed situation. Every possible precaution prevents acting in haste, under pressure, or absent a truly terminal illness.
I will vote Yes on I-1000 to give the gift of end-of-life choice to those in this narrowly defined population, perhaps in severe pain that cannot be mitigated, or with total loss of personal dignity. I hope it will be there for me should I ever be among them.
— Ellen Kritzman
People should be able to choose
As an Oregon resident, I voted twice for Oregon’s Right to Die Law. I considered my votes carefully, having a mother who died of uterine cancer at 81 in 1994 and a son who died of testicular cancer in 1996.
My mother lived a full life and had an advance directive stating she did not want any intervention to prolong her life. When she slipped into a coma, a young oncologist wanted to countermand her directive and give blood transfusions hoping she would survive long enough to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment. With her surgeon’s support, I stepped in and said no. Otherwise, her wishes would have been ignored. The surgeon was one of a handful of doctors who would have sided with me.
Erik was diagnosed with testicular cancer six months after my mother died. He fought a two-year battle, enduring several surgeries and high-dose chemotherapy. He was 27 when he passed away. He was denied extra pain medication because his surgeon was afraid he would become addicted; I had to go to his oncologist for the medicine he needed.
Oregon’s law has stringent guidelines to prevent abuse — and it has not been abused. It is used far less frequently than anyone predicted. My mother did not want the trauma of radiation and chemotherapy, but my son was willing to endure any treatment to live. I supported both of my loved ones in their decisions.
As a part-time Islander, I believe ballot measure I-1000 is one of the most important decisions Washington citizens will make. Exercise your best judgment; consider your vote well; do not take someone else’s right to make a choice different than yours. If the measure passes, you will still have the right to choose the care you want. Let others have the same choice for themselves.
— Joy Drewfs
Help Goldmark beat Sutherland
Tired of the credit snafu? Does the future seem a bit fuzzy? There is an easy and effective way to take back control of your future and increase integrity in public office. Vote for Peter Goldmark, (D-Okanogan), for Commissioner of Public Lands.
Did you know that the commissioner oversees more than five million acres of public lands for you, me and our children? A portion of the income from management from those lands provides a revenue stream to our schools.
The current commissioner, Doug Sutherland, is supported by the Committee for “Balanced Stewardship,” a timber and mining PAC that has raised more than $500,000 to help him win re-election. Balanced Stewardship is a great name to help cover up who is behind the funding. How can we expect integrity in government if those who regulate the industries are bankrolled by those industries?
Peter Goldmark made the commitment not to accept money from industries he would oversee, and he has and continues to follow through on that commitment. I am confident that Peter will work to meet the mission of his office with unstinting dedication to the people of Washington state, you and I. Learn more at www.petergoldmark.com.
— Libby McLarty
Biden is superior VP candidate
Sen. Joe Biden clearly won the debate. Sarah Palin has proven that she’s only able to deliver carefully rehearsed lines — she can’t and won’t intelligently and knowledgeably answer questions that require thought or experience.
This isn’t about who can deliver the best-rehearsed lines; that’s just acting. This isn’t about who’s cuter or looks better in lipstick and a skirt. This isn’t about who would be better on Star Search; the jobs of the leaders of our nation are infinitely more important and more serious than that.
This is about who has the knowledge, experience and intelligence to lead a nation. Don’t let the spinners convince anyone otherwise. It takes a lot to lead a nation. Look at the mess W. & Co. put us into. Do we want more of that? And more importantly, can we survive more of that?
— Andrine Olson
Defacing sign is heartless
When I saw the footage of McCain/Palin supporters calling Obama a terrorist and an Arab and even yelling “Kill Obama,” I, like others, thought about the Nazis.
I remembered how in the 1930s, Germans, like Americans now, were deeply scared and angry by the economic recession they were facing and wanted somewhere to place their anger. The Nazis took advantage and directed people’s anger against the Jews.
The responses to the (absurd) suggestion by the McCain/Palin camp that Obama associates with terrorists can only be called racist, and are truly frightening. To toss a match into the combined racism and fear that seem to be permeating our country right now was reckless and irresponsible.
But when, the next day, I saw “Nazi” scrawled on the McCain/Palin sign on Vashon Highway, my heart sank. While my political views may differ from the family that steadfastly replaces that sign every time it’s vandalized, I know they’re good people who are not racist. I also know they have two young boys who were deeply hurt by the epithet. I would have liked the vandal to have seen their faces.
Certainly, that family doesn’t deserve hatred directed their way any more than Obama.
It’s easy to lash out when you’re angry, but doing so puts you in the same category as those racists at the McCain/Palin rallies. During this stressful time, I urge all of us to remember the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
— Lesley Reed
Others should be recognized, too
The recent article on Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust’s shoreline acquisitions was so inspiring and shines a fine light on our great Islanders’ appreciation of our natural treasures. When we focus on something, we get it done!
I wanted to add that the conservation of beautiful Raab’s Lagoon would not have happened without the selfless acts of three people: our own Ken Zaglin, who refused any compensation when he put together the initial purchase of the lagoon out of foreclosure, and my parents, Barbara and Les Roberts of California, who five years ago scraped together the money to pay off my debt on the lagoon so it wouldn’t be lost to foreclosure once again.
No one person acts alone. It’s so much like John Muir said about our ecosystem: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
— Annie Roberts