Letters in the Editor's Mailbag
Byline: The Register-Guard
Encampment showed positive gains
Now that the Occupy Eugene tent city has disappeared, it's a good time to assess what actually happened and what we might learn from it.
The encampment started a lot of discussions - certainly one of its goals. Some readers of the newspaper were upset that the city bent its rules to allow it, but hey, we bend our rules every time there's a home football game.
And the expense: The encampment cost the city almost as much as hosting the U.S. Olympic Track And Field Trials every time we do it.
Perhaps some of the discomfort comes from assumptions about who the campers were - "liberals, "freeloaders," etc. A closer look reveals a population without sectarian beliefs, without an agenda. They raise issues for discussion that have waited too long to see the light of day, and anyone can participate without regard to age, credentials or resources.
That appears to be something we have learned from the agenda-free crowds in the Casbah and Tahrir Square. When the homeless people showed up here, the Occupy Eugene folks absorbed them, giving them a place to stay and some ground rules for living with others.
At the end of it, we see that the big banks dropped their proposed debit card charges, major media have been discussing income inequity and we now have new models for organizing.
As one of the Occupy Wall Street people in New York said, "We are like water. We'll take whatever form we need to get where we need to go."
William "Chico" Schwall
Proposal raises lots of questions
The Kansas legislative proposal to guarantee "the inalienable rights of every person, starting with fertilization of the human egg" raises questions for me:
How would the gestational status of the entire population of women of reproductive age be monitored? Would massive invasive screening programs be needed to identify every newly fertilized egg so that the rights and protections of personhood can be guaranteed?
Would child abuse laws be applied to protect the fertilized egg? Given the research showing fetal damage from tobacco smoke and alcohol, use of such toxic substances by pregnant women could be deemed child abuse. Would pregnant women who abuse their fertilized eggs be arrested and perhaps incarcerated to prevent them from abusing their fertilized eggs?
If the fertilized egg becomes a tax deduction within its family unit, how much would that reduce government tax revenue?
Would declaring fertilized eggs persons have effects on programs such as welfare payments based on number of children? Are we prepared to increase welfare payments from the moment a pregnancy is documented rather than wait until birth?
What effect would declaring fertilized eggs persons (thereby adding eight or nine months to a person's age) have on qualifying for age-based rights and benefits such as voting, driver's licenses and Social Security?
The answers to those questions, and others, would provide insight into the social and fiscal costs of the proposed legislation.
I wonder if Kansas legislators have prepared an impact statement to inform their citizenry of the costs.
Doris M. Williams
Safe truck drivers avoid risks
My 48-state trucking company had a winter motto: "No load is too hot that it won't cool off in the ditch."
Why, on an icy Sunday at 5 a.m., would a driver need to risk his life and the lives of others, as well as property damage to the vehicle and environmental damage from leaking diesel fuel? ("Believe it or not, more snow expected," Register-Guard, Jan. 16.) Was the trailer carrying 44,000 pounds of metal northbound on Interstate 5 an emergency delivery?
Drivers once had an expression, "the going-home gear," which meant the load they were hauling was heading in the direction of where they lived and they were in a hurry to get there. …