Letters for November 6, 2014

Thalidomide alert

Re “The market goes up in vapor” (Let Freedom Ring, Oct. 16):

What the author says is incorrect. Thalidomide has not been cleansed of the terrible side effects, it can and does still cause severe birth defects in children if their pregnant mothers take it at the wrong time. Please correct this error. There is a whole new community of young thalidomide babies who’ve been born in Brazil because the mothers and fathers are illiterate and can’t read the instructions.

Lesley Krohn

Suffolk, England

Empire battle I

Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):

Jake Highton’s rambling article is not only poorly written, it is an incredibly ignorant piece of revisionist history. His gross generalizations, myopic view of history and just plain nasty perspective of American and world events strain all credibility. Any event, person or country even tangentially associated with America is evil, motivated by evil and guilty of war crimes, while nations instigating conflict and ruled by despots are justified in offhand asides. More troubling is that such a piece of inaccurate propaganda is prominently featured in your paper. Who vets your articles and performs your fact checking, Vladimir Putin?

Jason Katz


Empire battle II

Re “Age of Empire” (Feature story, Oct. 9):

This is the first article that tells the truth about America’s constant intervention in international affairs. We intervene to promote our hidden industry, the military industrial complex, which Eisenhower warned us about. We Americans are taught to wave the flag as we kill millions of people around the world. A sociology professor long ago explained it simply: We don’t build a bomb to put it in storage, we must drop it so we can build another bomb! This is how we keep our economy going. The rest of us are supposed to work, pay taxes to support this endeavor and most of all, wave the flag.

Deborah Guy


Disinformation formation

Re “The market goes up in vapor” (Let Freedom Ring, Oct. 16):

One wonders what Brendan Trainor was smoking when he penned his rant on the public health merits of e-cigarettes and purported threats to civil liberties posed by smoking bans. Let’s start with his claim that the “rationale for banning second-hand tobacco smoke is largely based on politicized junk science.” In fact, the public health impact of second-hand smoke has been settled science for close to three decades, including multiple reports from the U.S. Surgeon General documenting a wide range of disease and disability, such as lung cancer and heart disease, caused by involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke among non-smokers. As for the harm-reduction potential of vaping, if there is a public health benefit to e-cigarettes, then certainly those products can withstand the scientific scrutiny required any device or food making medical claims under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration. The science on e-cigarettes, to put it mildly, is anything but settled. It is worth noting that the three tobacco giants—Altria, Reynolds and Lorillard—now control a majority of the market share in the e-cig business. Among other things, if big tobacco had the public’s health in mind, it would immediately stop making the world’s deadliest consumer product.

John Packham


Any relation?

Re “The market goes up in vapor” (Let Freedom Ring, Oct. 16):

The one thing that vaping proves is that people who smoke and people who vape do so just to annoy others. It appears that even if you remove the addictive chemicals, a sizable group just get off on blowing stench in the direction of other people. I have always suspected this to be the case, but now vaping has provided conclusive proof.

I generally agree with many of the libertarian principles espoused by Mr. Trainor, however on this subject he has forgotten that one person’s right to do something does not negate the rights of their fellow citizens. Let’s say that a woman decides that spraying Lysol disinfectant provided her with a lot of pleasure, and she liked the smell. If this person sat across from Mr. Trainor in a restaurant and she blasted him with Lysol every time he vaped, even he would eventually get the point. He might say, “Lady, stop, I am eating here!” She could then use the standard vape logic, and reply, “But I like the smell and spraying Lysol relaxes me.”

It does not matter if vaping is safe or not. It stinks and in our community, no citizen has the right to stink up the shared air. Vaping has been quickly banned in stadiums, shopping areas and most public spaces, not because your fellow citizens are worried about your health, but because you stink.

Clairese Chennault


Racist police violence is citizens’ fault

Re “Eyes wide open” (Feature story, Oct. 16):

Let’s remember that law enforcement officers possess the same human frailties that all “civilians” possess, but must keep theirs under check 24 hours a day, and in some of the most mentality-stressing situations imaginable. Civilian police oversight personnel are, as your article clearly points out, personal agenda-driven to the extent they are ineffectual, for the most part. Wouldn’t it be better that they apply their ideologies and intellect to oversight and correction of deleterious Afro and Latino American conduct toward lawful police conduct?

Seems that the screamers for change want instantaneous law enforcement changes, but totally ignore the needed changes in civilian populaces’ out of control conduct. For the most part, states and municipalities have in place policies and personnel for handling officer conduct problems. It seems there is only the police officers that are doing anything to correct civilian law and order problems, definitely not in churches, home or schools.

There is no epidemic of police violence when you consider on a whole the wanton damage civilians have caused to neighborhoods and the families within those neighborhoods. There are more black on black and Latino on Latino deaths in our major cities that go unanswered—primarily due to civilian refusal to get involved—than questionable police violence. Civilian review boards do nothing to combat the threats to law enforcement officers, which are real and deadly. Only an educated, ethical and moral populace will solve the problems facing law enforcement officers and society, and this starts in the home and rearing of our children, to promote and respect law and order.

Unlawful conduct seems to be the norm for a large segment of the minority population. More than likely, considering the situation and facts, a civilian review board would have had very little to no effectiveness in preventing Mr. Brown’s shooting death or the wanton destruction of property and loss of lives following the shooting of Mr. Brown.

Based on world history, I do not expect a change in attitudes toward law enforcement officers from the ethnic, religious or minority populations, but continued civil unrest. The thugs and uneducated should not rule our lives. By the way, I believe that Mr. Brown was a thug and bully. I do not believe he should have been killed, but surely he should have been physically weathered into submission by whatever non-lethal methods were available at the time that would not expose the officer to physical harm.

Dean Chaney

Sun Valley