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Tragedy abused for political gain

Readers' Letters
by: L.E. BASKOW, During his February visit, the Rev. Jesse Jackson criticized the Portland Police Bureau’s handling of the Aaron Campbell shooting, prompting numerous responses from Tribune letter writers.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson comes to Portland, spews forth his racist rhetoric, stirs up the folks by telling them what they want to hear and leaves town (Police say it's all about politics, March 4).

He avoids living with the hate and discontent he stirs up. His actions and words, along with local activists, make a racial issue out of an incident that is not. They have a political agenda and, like the Obama administration, never let a crisis go to waste.

There was one person at that scene who was in complete control of the outcome, and that was Aaron Campbell. His death and the circumstances surrounding it are tragic, but to brand police officers or an entire police department as racist because of it demonstrates the ignorance and bigotry being brought forth.

Once again, we see the facts ignored in favor of politically motivated second guessing. Where was the Campbell family, who has been aware of his behavior for years? Where was the African-American community as it watched Campbell, and other young men like him, act out in antisocial ways? Where was the mental health community, giving Mr. Campbell the treatment he needed?

This is a painful time for Portland and I truly hope cooler heads prevail. We all share the grief of the Campbell family suffering the tragic loss of two sons, but we all should avoid the temptation to use this tragedy for our petty political agendas, elected officials included.

Another who is suffering is Officer Frashour. Anyone who thinks taking a human life is an easy thing for a police officer knows nothing.

R. Lee Willis

Scappoose

Remember Chief Foxworth?

The Rev. Jesse Jackson also criticized the racial makeup of the police bureau, noting there are no African-Americans in the top command structure (Police say it's all about politics, March 4).

Well, Jesse, there was one at the top. Maybe you should have researched it to find out what happened.

Jeff Deringer

Vancouver, Wash.

Chasse, Campbell deserve justice

What is wrong with Multnomah County jurors (Errors cry out for shooting probe, Feb. 18)? Are you so white, brainwashed and stupid you can't see that a cop shooting someone in the back is not OK? I can't understand how four cops beating a man to death, breaking all of his ribs, hog-tying him and dragging him into the jail - then laughing about it - is not murder.

James Chasse deserves justice, and so do all the past and future victims of police murderers and abusers.

Karen Soesbe

Gainesville, Fla.

Officer's job is to come home safely

I agree with this statement: 'But it is unacceptable to think that a mentally ill or simply confused person should be killed just because he or she was unable to understand or respond fast enough to a police officer's command' (Errors cry out for shooting probe, Feb. 18).

However, when the reports from Campbell's family are that he has a gun, he may have wanted to commit suicide by cop. He was not complying with police demands. What would you have the police do? Just because police risk their lives every day does not mean they need to put themselves at risk.

The No. 1 job of an officer is to come home safely.

Aaron Glanville

Vancouver, Wash.

Westerman: Get your house in order

I am a 63-year-old professional and resident of Portland since 1969. I've been an administrator in a local public school district, on the faculty of a well-respected private university, and owned a small business during my career. I'm not a 'cop hater' or an authority conspiracy subscriber.

I'm simply a law-abiding, upper-middle class, taxpaying citizen who would like to have trust in a police department to protect my and others' right to go about our lives. Today, perhaps more than ever during the past 40 years, there are a significant number of citizens like myself who are quietly but resolutely concerned about the current state of policing in our community.

I have witnessed the evolution of local police organizations for more than 40 years now, and I will say this to (police union head) Scott Westerman: You, as the public servants you are, need to get your house in order quickly before regular, law-abiding, taxpaying citizens like myself become completely fed up and exercise our right and ability to do it for you.

Jim Simpson

Northeast Portland

Officer should be punished

The cop shot a guy in the back who had no weapon, was intoxicated and suicidal, and had already been shot in the back nine times with beanbag rounds (Errors cry out for shooting probe, Feb. 18). The cop said 'on the ground' and Campbell didn't lay on the ground. He got shot multiple times with beanbag rounds, rubbed the place on his body where he was shot, and then this negligent cop executed him. Then the cops didn't allow medics to attend to the victim for 30 minutes.

Do you really think that this wouldn't be turning into such a big issue if it wasn't indeed a big issue? (Officer) Frashour needs to be fired, reprimanded and then charges need to be brought up in federal court and civil court.

John Dandridge

Southeast Portland

Birth interventions are being overused

A truly elective maternal-request cesarean is very rare and based on cultural fear, not fact (Natural birth? Nope, C-Section rates on rise, Feb. 18). Yes, a healthy baby is what we're all in it for at the end of the day, and a normal vaginal birth is what's shown to have the best outcomes for baby and mom.

Interventions can be beneficial when applied appropriately, but evidence is showing that interventions including cesarean section are being far overused and causing more harm than good.

Carefully choosing a care provider who is trained to facilitate normal birth (and refer to a specialist or use interventions only when warranted) can help maximize chances of a safer birth for moms and babies. International Cesarean Awareness Network has great information on maximizing chances for a safer birth, information on birth-recovery support, and facts about vaginal birth after cesarean.

Lauren Cooper

Geneva, N.Y.

Get the birthing numbers straight

I thought that Peter Korn's article 'Natural birth? Nope, C-Section rates on rise' (Feb. 18) was good, but there was an error in his use of the information I gave him about day-of-the-week date for 2006 U.S. births. The following is the summary I gave him based on data from Births: Final Data for 2006. National vital statistics reports; Vol. 57 No 7. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2009, Table 17:

'Among all births for which birth certificates were filed in the U.S. in 2006, the average number of births on a Wednesday (13,482) was almost twice the average number of births on a Sunday (7,587). If the timing of births was not related to medical intervention, the average for each day of the week would be approximately the same. Instead, 15.4 percent more births occur on Wednesday, and almost two-thirds of the births that would have occurred on a Sunday occurred earlier.

'The average number of cesarean deliveries on Fridays is almost 77 percent higher than on Sundays. The highest numbers of vaginal births occur on Thursdays, a 12.3 percent increase over the average number of vaginal births per day and nearly 40 percent more than the average number of vaginal births on Sundays. Pre-emptive cesareans (performed before the woman goes into labor) and inductions (forcing labor to start through artificial means) have resulted in greater and greater reductions of births on Saturdays and Sundays.'

Judith Rooks

Former president

American College of Nurse-Midwives

Southwest Portland