Letters to the editor: Aug. 31

August 31, 2013 

Shield witnesses of overdoses to avert drug deaths

Kentucky needs a 911 Good Samaritan law. The Drug Policy Alliance says the best way to encourage overdose witnesses to seek medical help is to exempt them from criminal prosecution. A Good Samaritan law would not protect people from prosecution for selling or trafficking drugs; it would afford protection only from a drug possession charge in hope of saving a life.

According to the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center, Kentucky had 6,315 overdose deaths between 2000 and 2010. Opioid pain relievers were involved in 85 percent of all prescription drug fatalities. Deaths will only increase as heroin becomes more popular in Kentucky.

As a mother it scares me that one day my child may be using drugs. It certainly isn't a topic we want to think about, but it is a possible reality. I can't imagine how it would feel to have a teenaged or grown child overdose and die because her friends didn't call 911. How many people do you and I know who have been affected by drugs?

Why should our neighbors and family members die when a change of law could save lives? Many states have adopted 911 Good Samaritan laws. Kentucky should join the list.

Kentuckians who want to help get such a law passed should call their state legislators. Find your legislator at http://www.lrc.ky.gov/whoswho/county.htm.

Jean M. Hogge

Mount Sterling

Boycott Ringling

If the Ringling circus is taking good care of its elephants, as it claimed in a recent letter, why did the U.S. Department of Agriculture fine it $270,000 in 2011 for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act?

These violations were brought to light by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in undercover videos which can be viewed at PETA.org and on YouTube.

Wild animals belong in the wild, free to live out their lives as nature intended. Boycott the circus and remember that every time someone buys a ticket, the animals pay the prices as these videos so heartbreakingly show.

Faith Harders


Real peace elusive

If Dec. 7, 1941 was "a day which will live in infamy," Sept. 2, 1945 was a day of jubilation. Monday is the 68th anniversary of that day.

Aboard the USS Missouri, a 45,000-ton battleship in Tokyo Bay, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, commander of the Allied Forces in the southwest Pacific, along with Adm. William F. Halsey, Rear Adm. Forrest Sherman and Fleet Adm. Chester W. Nimitz met a delegation of Japanese officials.

Acting on behalf of Emperor Hideki Tojo, they were to sign a document of unconditional surrender containing a proviso permitting the emperor to retain his title.

After a long and bitter struggle in Europe and the Pacific, World War II officially ended on that Sunday morning. MacArthur became the supreme commander of the Allied Powers with authority over the occupation of Japan.

Across this nation people, thankful that the long and bloody war was over, rejoiced; there were high hopes for peace. But real peace is more than the cessation of hostilities.

Following that historic event, MacArthur, addressing the world by radio, said, the task of building a new world and securing lasting peace is a matter between man and God. It is a long and arduous task in which wrongs are recognized and righted; reparations, where possible, are made; forgiveness is sincerely offered and received, and new and positive relationships are established.

Sixty-eight years later, hot spots such as Iran, Afghanistan, Syria and Egypt remind us that the search for peace is an ongoing and difficult process involving each generation.

Howard Coop


Farmers market music

The Aug. 19 piece on the Lexington Farmers Market policy change on street musicians was well balanced and interesting.

There were quotes from both sides, including from the market's manager, vendors, musicians, city government and even anecdotal information about similar situations in Maryland and Washington.

Because the article appeared on the business page, I found it strange there were no quotes from customers. It's my understanding that demand has a great deal to do with commerce and that the customer's wants and needs are key to any marketing formula.

A recent New York Times article on Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post's new owner, said: "He refuses to waste his time on anything that isn't directly about the customer. That's where his ego is." The Times attributed the quote to people who have worked closely with Bezos.

If Bezos' piloting of Amazon is a good benchmark for business acumen, which would be hard to dispute, I would suggest that Jeff Dabbelt, the farmers market's executive director, take the pulse of some actual customers. It might provide a useful balance to input he receives from "pulling in community partners that are much more in tune with the music scene."

The ambiance provided by the public schools violinists, the Two Old Troubadours and others who brought a local flavor to the market were, in my opinion, a value added plus that offered the notion that Kentucky Proud could mean more that just stuff you eat.

But what do I know? I'm just a customer.

Dick Yarmy


A prayer for gun control

Back to school is a busy time. As I tuck sandwiches into lunch boxes, do laundry and collect crayons and tissues, I know that I am lucky. These are tasks some mothers in this country are aching to do. I think of these mothers while waiting in the drop-off line at school, my little ones safe and excited in the back seat. My children open the door, I watch them leave and I say a prayer to keep them safe.

I consider the mother in Chicago whose baby won't be starting high school, the mother in Connecticut whose baby won't be a second grader and any mother who is grieving a child lost to gun violence.

I am not advocating an end to the Second Amendment. Expanding background checks won't take guns from responsible gun owners. It is heartbreaking that another elementary school was threatened. I am a mother who loves her children more than anything and I am begging my political representatives to listen to me and a majority of Kentuckians, and vote for common-sense gun legislation.

I get to pick my children up from school. I get to hold them and hear about their days. I can't imagine the start of the school year for a mother who has lost her child to gun violence.

I pray for those mothers, I pray for children, and I pray that our Kentucky representatives will vote in our children's interests.

Maggie Frozena


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