Readers’ Letters

I am a dog owner, the owner of two dogs, in fact. And I am appalled to hear that someone possibly poisoned dogs in Laurelhurst Park because he or she was trying to make a point about leashing dogs.

Does the perpetrator really believe that only dogs will pick up the poison-laced treats, that children, especially those under the age of 3, would not pick up just about anything and put it in their mouths?

Helllllooooo. You need help, as in professional mental health care, and we need to get you off the streets.

Candis L. Condo

Southwest Portland

Blacks understandably

upset about shooting

This is in reference to 'Tragedy began with woman's upbringing' (Insight, June 27). That editorial's simple-minded racist drivel does people a disservice. Since the point of the article appeared to be that African-Americans live in a violent, crime-ridden society that they refuse to pull themselves out of (since they are voluntarily playing the victim role), I think it's fair to look at the evidence the author puts forward to support this.

For simplicity, I'll focus on one statement from the author: 'Blacks also are arrested for one-third of America's drug violations.' He also states that blacks make up one-eighth of the U.S. population.

I'll go ahead and stipulate these facts: African-Americans make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population. I suspect that the arrest rate is also correct. A 1995 U.S. News and World Report article, 'A Shocking Look at Blacks and Crime,' affirms both statistics about blacks' percentage of the population and their arrest rate.

Wow! They're getting arrested at a rate almost three times that of white people. The same article points out that African-Americans consume only about 13 percent of the nation's drugs, making their arrest rate disproportionately high. This is partially because most arrests tend to happen in impoverished areas where crime is more visible (the dealer on the corner, for example) and more likely to be African-American. It is not, however, the whole story.

Just for a moment, let's assume that no police officers have any racial bias and society has had no role in keeping African-Americans in an impoverished state. That still doesn't explain why African-Americans, who represent 35 percent of the arrests for drug-related crimes, also represent 55 percent of the convictions and 74 percent of the prison sentences. Justice, apparently, is not colorblind.

Now add to that the problem that approximately one of every three African-American males in his 20s is in prison, in jail, on parole or on probation.

Kendra James is sitting in her car; the cop doesn't want her going anywhere. She knows she's going to prison. While I don't have much sympathy for people who get injured or killed as a direct result of committing a crime, we shouldn't be surprised that this happens or that African-Americans get upset.

Simply ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away isn't the answer.

Curtis 'Ovid' Poe

Northeast Portland

Helmetless bikers

may become donors

I feel compelled to convey to guest writer Ken Ray my feelings regarding the motorcycle helmet law (Facts don't support a helmet mandate, Insight, July 11). My daughter is a sufferer of juvenile diabetes; her health was rapidly deteriorating a year ago because her kidneys had quit functioning and she was on dialysis. She was on the list locally for a double transplant of kidney and pancreas. Because of a mandate from her insurance coverage, however, she was told that she would have to have her transplant in San Francisco or Chicago. Eventually she chose Chicago because the waiting list was much shorter than that of San Francisco.

When she got the call, I accompanied her to the University of Chicago. The surgery was a success, and during the recovery process, which amounted to 2 1/2 months of living in the city, we learned that they have an extensive donor campaign and have had it for a long time. They also do not have a motorcycle helmet law. See what I am getting at?Ê

Sadly, we were told that a large number of their donors are people who died from head wounds during motorcycle accidents. Lucky for my daughter; not so lucky for the motorcyclists.ÊÊ

Nadine Morris

Southeast Portland

Don't leave pets

in parked cars

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, would like to remind readers that summer can be dangerous for pets.

One hazard is leaving pets unattended in a parked car with temperatures rising so quickly that even healthy animals can't adjust. Heat stress, brain damage and even death can result. Most pet owners probably believe they are taking the necessary precautions, such as parking in a shady area and cracking the window. These actions might delay, but won't prevent, serious injury or death. It's best to leave pets at home where they are comfortable and safe.

If you see a distressed pet in a parked car, notify the closest business establishment and ask them to make an announcement. If necessary, contact your local animal control officer or police officer to rescue the animal.

Kelly Peterson


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