The title of last week's New York Times crossword puzzle should have been "'Lighten Up,' by Patrick Merrell and edited by Will Shortz." We appreciate the calls to notify us of the error, especially since the corrected title seems oddly appropriate to those calls.
While he rides his bike through mountain resorts, he urges the masses to stay the course. Meanwhile, our soldiers are getting their asses blown off in a chaotic civil war created by Bush! And as the fanatical Christians bask in the glory of their new-found power, they urge the assassination of sovereign national leaders who oppose our heavy handed policies, salivating at the opportunity to place their Christian dogma in the public schools so they can create a new generation of God-loving people who are willing to kill anyone who thinks differently than them.
I used to think religion was a good guideline for society. Now it has become a rallying war cry to kill, deny science and bend the truth to advance an abusive agenda of fear and hatred. I see the injection of religion into governments as a sure way to bring violence and hatred to the forefront.
Why are these men of God not standing up for love and tolerance? Helping the poor and helpless? Instead they are greedy war hawks. Bush-the Christian who will "save" America from its evil ways-puts his thumb on science, brings war with a smirk and the quote of "Bring it on!" He has done more to help the rich than any other segment of society. It is beyond absurd! I have never seen how power and religion are a bad mix like I am witnessing now. The history of religious conflict we read about seemed caused by a basic ignorance that a modern society should see past. But Bush has brought it back in full force and urges us to stay the course.
-Kevin Mills, Boise
The Chopping Block
It seems that you cannot turn on the news anymore without hearing a new case of some sort of sex abuse or rape. Several years ago, Denmark did an experiment where they gave sex offenders a choice of staying in jail or castration. They were astonished at the success rate: 85 percent of the offenders never committed another sex offense! Can our present way of dealing with these offenders boast this kind of success? Certainly not.
It is long past due that we try a different approach. I'm aware that the Constitution says we cannot administer "cruel and unusual punishment," but times have changed. When our children's lives are at stake, are a sex offender's testicles that important?
There are those who claim castration won't stop them. They fail to understand that it is testosterone that drives the libido that drives the sex offender. Take away the testosterone, and after about six months, the sex drive dies. It really isn't that complex of a problem; any rancher can tell you about his steers. Or maybe your dog, your cat or your horse. It really does work.
Can we afford to continue to warehouse these degenerates, knowing that someday they will get back out and destroy another person's life again? If they refuse to submit to surgical castration, they need to be incarcerated for life. It will be their choice, knowing full well they will never be free again. Then and only then will we slow down this insidious crime.
We hand out the death penalty; I see no reason that we can't hand down a "castration or life in prison" sentence. It is a proven fact: Once a sex offender, always a sex offender, they cannot be rehabilitated (without castration). Perhaps without so much libido, they could then become productive citizens again instead of spending the rest of their lives in prison at taxpayers' expense. We are at a crossroads-our prisons are full and running over. This is why so many of them are let back out to victimize again, but short of giving them all the death penalty, do you have a better idea? Let's hear it. We need new laws.
Contact your federal and state representatives and demand action. This insidious problem won't go away without drastic actions.
-Bart Eben, Mountain Home
The Road Less Traveled
A new Forest Service policy threatens over 9.3 million acres of roadless areas in Idaho. I am familiar with two roadless areas in the Clearwater National Forest. One is the Eldorado Creek area. Forest Service roads through this area allow fairly easy access, as well as quite a few restricted roads available for various recreational uses. The area has been logged some years ago, but it has now restored itself to a healthy forest containing Grand and Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, larch and an unusual amount of deciduous trees and bushes, thus making for excellent big game habitat. Several historic sites visited by Lewis and Clark are also in or near the area.
The other area is the Weir-Post Office area north of the Lochsa. The Lolo motorway runs through the area, along with a few other access roads. It is an extremely rugged and beautiful forest, which probably looks about the same as when the Corps of Discovery passed through 200 years ago. The Forest Service is recommending keeping this area classified as roadless.
I hope others will join me in soliciting Gov. Kempthrone not to allow further development in these areas, along with any others that you know and would hope to continue to enjoy as they are.
-Mike Warnock, Clarkston, Washington