Letters for February 3, 2005

Nothing to sneeze at
Your article “Health Fads A-Z: A humorous look at the world of ‘medicine'” did a disservice to your readership and to those ethical and well-qualified complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners who provide treatment options to members of that community [Backbeat, Jan. 20].

In a recent survey by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a federally funded agency of the National Institutes of Health, 36 percent of American adults use some form of complementary and alternative medicine and spend over $48 million a year on CAM services and products, much of it out-of-pocket. Of those who have used CAM, 84 percent said that they would do so again.

Many of the CAM modalities currently practiced have been subjected to rigorous clinical research and have shown proven effectiveness for a range of medical conditions from stress-related illnesses to pain management for cancer.

That said, CAM therapies are loosely regulated and there have been and continue to be abuses. The industry needs a strong central professional association that issues educational guidelines, disseminates information about certification and licensure (only acupuncture and chiropractic therapies are currently licensed), and promotes ethical behavior among well-qualified practitioners and a database of complaints against unqualified or abusive providers that is available to the public.

Rather than run a derisive article that feeds the ignorance and cynicism of your readers, why not publish an article about the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine, about how to help individuals choose an ethical, well-qualified practitioner, and about how complementary and alternative medicine can work as an effective adjunct to traditional Western medicine?

Alexandra Heath
Practitioner of Healing Touch

Buy my book
The “Humorous look at the world of ‘medicine'” was third-grade humor at best and written with no research or evidence to back up [author Josh] Indar’s prejudices. The National Institutes of Health currently fund alternative medicine research at various universities because thousands of studies show that acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy, homeopathy, etc. work. These healing techniques have been around for thousands of years because they help people get well. To see the research studies, see my book Essential Energy Tools.

Gayle Kimball Ph.D.

DA gives details
Larry Phipps’ most recent letter again questions what he sees as the disparate treatment of his son vis-à-vis other cases of vehicular homicide [“Where’s the justice?” Letters, Jan. 20]. The difference is in the details.

His son was not, as he claims, just “driving 50 mph, failed to stop at a stop light and collided with another vehicle.” His son was racing northbound up The Esplanade at 8 o’clock on a weekday morning at speeds estimated between 50 and 60 mph, weaving in, out and around drivers bound for work or school. His son had run multiple red lights as he sped through downtown Chico.

At the intersection of The Esplanade and First Avenue, just a block from the front of Chico High School, his son ran broadside into a car being driven by Juan Lugo, killing Mr. Lugo.

As the facts at trial revealed, his son was upset because his ATM card had been rejected and a store wouldn’t take his check for the purchase of cigarettes. His son had a history of poor anger management skills and a prior “strike” felony conviction for assaulting a peace officer with a deadly weapon.

The case that Phipps would equate with his son’s is factually distinct. In that case a driver, driving on a rural road with which he was unfamiliar, ran through a stop sign and struck another vehicle, causing death. Inattention, negligence, but no intent, therefore manslaughter.

Larry Phipps may not be willing to accept the fact that his son murdered Juan Lugo, or that not every case of vehicular homicide is murder, but the facts in Donovan Phipps’ case are as the jury found them.

Mike Ramsey
District Attorney

Essence of sin
Shauna Heckert made the following statement: “Legislatively, abortion is more regulated, more scrutinized and more restricted than any other surgical procedure, making abortion harder for women to get” [Guest comment, “The importance of Roe v. Wade,” Jan. 20]. My question is, what other surgical procedure compares with the killing of a human being, other than that which Dr. Kevorkian performs? From the moment of conception this human being is alive yet not ready to be brought into this world until it is more fully developed to handle the elements.

A newborn baby continues to develop as we all do, but because God designed the most amazing way for the first stage of our life to take place in the womb, to create a bonding that only a loving mom and God can know, part of society who rejects God claims it is not a life in the womb.

The essence of sin is the claim to my right to myself, and it is taken to the depths of wickedness when you claim to have the right to kill a human being.

My advice is to stop playing God and start praying to God. May the Lord have mercy upon your soul, for though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow if you call upon the name of the Lord to be saved from your sin.

Kurt Gilbertson

Defending Blair
As a person who worked in the Chico/Redding market during Rob Blair’s time there, I have talked to many people who have absolutely no question that what he did was a tragic on-air stumble [“Blair witch-hunt,” Inside view, Jan 20]. But he is being attacked daily in the Las Vegas and national press. Everyone I’ve talked to who knows Blair says he is a very tolerant, respectful person who did not make racist or inappropriate jokes.

It appears the incident was taped in front of others, who also did not realize what had been said. Did he hope to slip his racist viewpoint past the people in the room? Why wouldn’t he have waited until he was on live? Were the other people in the control room in on it, too?

Would anyone believe he expected to escape punishment, if he had planned this offensive remark? Would he go through years of college, internships and long hours for near-minimum wage to get a new job in Las Vegas and then just decide to throw it all away and spout off a racial slur?

At first, I thought the management was abandoning him prematurely. But after reading the harsh comments from local and national African-American leaders and writers, I realized that the station was indeed under tremendous pressure.

While those criticizing Blair want to use this as an example of racism, others see the type of overreaction that can create insensitivity to the real problems of racial inequality in this country.

Brian Close
Albuquerque, N.M.