Your garden lady, Anne Jaeger (What's eating your trees when summer heats up?, Portland Life, July 8), started me smiling with the opening of her column on little seasonal crawlers and creepers. It began with an appeal for citizens to donate clean (pesticide-free) mulberry leaves for the Insect Zoo at the Oregon Zoo's silkworm colony. How sweet, with its nature-loving sentiment.

I read on, and was horrified. 'Turn the hose on full blast É a strong jet of water catapults them (aphids on a plant) to the ground, and they can't get up.'

More: 'Cutworms during daylight hours, you'll find them curled up in the soil. Search and destroy, or use Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). É The bacterium makes them unable to eat anymore. Ha!'

I was shocked at her apparent malicious glee. I'm one of those misguided old women with tender feelings for little creepers, crawlers and fliers. It hurts me if I kill a bug accidentally. When I find a spider or another small invader in my apartment, I gently scoop it up in a towel or napkin, and deposit it safely outside with the grass, fresh air and sunshine.

There was a time when mice invaded our home, coming in by way of a doggy door. At a pet store, I learned about the Have-a-Heart humane trap in a mouse size. But then that's another story.

June Acosta

Southwest Portland

Helmets would cost

everyone more

This is in response to Julie Russum and Jimbo Hibbard's letter regarding motorcycle helmet usage (Helmets aren't foolproof protection, Insight, July 25). Yes, helmets do help prevent head injuries at speeds higher than freeway speeds; this is why track racers wearing them at speeds exceeding 150 mph can walk away from unplanned get-offs, and this is why we have many stories from riders who have survived high-speed incidents while suffering only bruises or minor injuries.

As for insurance costs, we know, based on the recent experiences in other states, that insurance costs will rise if our helmet law is repealed. And this is what makes this issue every driver's business and not simply a 'personal freedom' issue: We're all in the same insurance pool. If we could separate unhelmeted riders into a separate high-risk pool the way we do smokers and nonsmokers, we wouldn't have an issue. If we repeal the helmet law, everyone pays.

Mark Hodges

Southeast Portland

How much force

do officers need?

Most folks have an opinion on just about everything, and I am not without exception. Portland police officer Scott McCollister claims self-preservation was behind his response to a young female citizen of the city, Kendra James. What other tools can we possibly give our police officers beyond extensive training and a sidearm that would allow them to be put more at ease in dealing with young, frail women? Perhaps a grenade or flamethrower would do the job.

I find it interesting that the consequences to a young woman commandeering a vehicle and that of an officer being confronted by an armed bank robber or murderer render the same result. In light of these observations, I feel it would be a disservice to the community to return this officer or any like officer to duty. To do so would show approval for how this killing was handled and encourage future incidents without fear of reprisal.

Thony Phillips

Southwest Portland

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