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Letters to the editor, February 24

Countries ignoring newborn babies dying is the real murder

Because they believe that human life begins with the fertilized egg (zygote), opponents of abortion in any and all forms define it as "murder." This position begs the question of when human life actually begins, on which essential matter religionists as well scientists disagree. (See Jane Maienschein, "Whose View of Life?" [2003])

Furthermore, at least 50 percent of zygotes — which religionists see as little humans — "abort" spontaneously and, for natural reasons, never even become implanted. "Genetic abnormalities, mechanical, chemical, and hormonal imperfections: any of these can prevent the zygotes from reaching that next stage" (Maienschein). One must not charge religionists with believing that "nature" or "god" is a mass murderer, but one may well ask them to more clearly define their views and to refrain from demonizing those with whom they disagree. Note: The U.N. has reported that 4 million newborn babies die every year for lack of such things as clean water and cheap basic medicines, and the absence of basic care. That the richest countries in the world do essentially nothing in regard to this slaughter of the newborn innocents is, to me, really murder.

Gerald Cavanaugh


How is being related to a chimp an insult?

What the heck is the big deal about the chimp cartoon? Is being related to a chimp an insult? Where the heck do you suppose we came from? Chimps have served humanity for decades, if not longer. I, for one, love chimps and feel very related to them. It is about time people got their heads out of very dark places and face up to who we are. I don't see the relevance of the chimp who turned on its owner and was killed and the stimulus package. I think the cartoonist a bit dense. However, to get all upset about being a chimp is stupid, stupid, stupid, and I hope President Obama will speak to all of us monkeys about expanding our consciousness.

I also hope the President will read the latest Jim Hightower "Lowdown" about Afghanistan. It is very educational and perhaps better serving than the hawks that are advising him. (See www.hightowerlowdown.org.)

Jill Iles


Abortion is a moral debate that will continue in perpetuity

It's disappointing to see passionate supporters of a cause suspend all rational thought to state their position. Such was the case when Drew Hymer of Medford recently wrote to the Tidings about his opposition to abortion (see Feb. 19 letter to the editor "Abortion is about killing the innocent, not reproduction").

In his opening salvo, Mr. Hymer resorts quickly to the extreme, equating abortion with murder and labeling an L.A. Times article as propaganda. At this point, it's clear already that he has lost his sense of balance and reason.

Nobody is pro-abortion, yet most of us would rather not legislate a woman's right to choose motherhood. And most of us can respect the passion Mr. Hymer feels. Yet there is no scientific debate here, just a moral one, and it will continue in perpetuity. It is a purely subjective question, which inherently can not be answered with empirical facts.

And there is plenty to debate. If you oppose abortion to enforce a tenet of your religion, it is intellectual dishonesty to imply otherwise. Fundamentalist Christians should voice their inconvenient truth, and simply say, "I wish to restrict your legal rights because of my religious views." And I would like to hear an explanation of the curious paradox in which many Christians support a legal mandate for life at conception while simultaneously supporting the right to judge the end of one's life in capital punishment.

The morality of abortion will not be solved here. Such an emotionally charged question should be framed with rational arguments devoid of the extremism Mr. Hymer espouses.

John Williams


Thanks from the Historical Society

The board of the Talent Historical Society was delighted to receive nearly 200 visitors to the Society's museum in Talent on Feb. 14, the day Oregon celebrated its 150th year. We opened our museum at 105 N. Market St. nearly two years ago, and we were delighted that so many residents of the greater Talent area came to celebrate this occasion.

We laud the efforts of Lysa Gore, Diane Glendenning, Ralph Hunkins, Greg Goebelt, and museum director Jan Wright for their contributions to this day. The Belles and Beaus of Jacksonville came in period costumes — a highlight of the event. Banjo Bill, official banjo player for Southern Oregon Historical Society, and Jeremy Barnes, guitarist, provided music.

We welcomed some new members to our local society, and shared with the community our museum and our efforts to document in words and photographs the history of the greater Talent area. We are looking forward to the City of Talent's own 100th year celebration in 2010.

Robert L. Casebeer

Board President, Talent Historical Society

Cougar killing may have been avoided with tranquilizers

The recent killing of a cougar in Ashland very likely was unnecessary. During my tenure as a Park Ranger in Yellowstone National Park, problem wildlife species routinely were tranquilized and moved to remote wilderness locations. The tranquilizer in use (Succinylcholine) took effect quickly. Additional longer-lasting tranquilizers were available if more time was required to deal with the incident. Transportation either was by vehicle or helicopter. On occasion a transported animal would return to the location where the tranquilization had taken place. In those instances a decision was made either to repeat the process or euthanize the animal. Most frequently the process was repeated, usually with good result.

Conflict between wild species and humans generally is not a factor of over-population of the wild species, but of the juxtaposition of wildlife habitat and human settlement. Humane techniques are available to deal with all but the most dangerous situations that arise from this shared space. Training of law enforcement and wildlife management personnel is prerequisite to using these techniques. I imagine that local officials would welcome such training.

Robert O. Binnewies