Archive for 2007

Perspective – NEW YEAR’S

We are facing another new year, the time to reflect on the past while anticipating the future.  This is the time of promises of changes we wish for the next year.  This is the time to remember the good and the bad of yesterday.  This is the time to remember the successes and failures of the past while maintaining optimism for the future.  How wonderful was yesterday?  How great may tomorrow be? 

“I intend to be among the outlaws”

By June, 2008 the United States Supreme Court may offer some clarification of the Second Amendment and the rights of individuals to own guns.  But, their interpretation may be so narrow that it has little impact outside the source of the case, Washington, D.C., leaving the rest of the nation still debating gun control. 

“A free people…ought to be armed”

Thomas Jefferson said, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”  But did he foresee guns being used in mass murders, the most recent leaving three dead in Colorado?  There a gunman killed two people and wounded two others at a missionary training center in Arvada.  Later the same day he killed one person and wounded four others at a church in Colorado Springs before he was shot by an armed security guard. 

“Out of many, one”

“The one absolute certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, or preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.  We have but one flag.  We must also learn one language and that language is English” stated President Theodore Roosevelt.  Was he right?  Should the United States have English as its official language?  Would it be discriminatory?  Would (legal) immigrants suffer if English was a required prerequisite for citizenship?  Would immigrants’ children be handicapped in school if they were expected to learn in English?

Birth control for eleven-year-olds?

The Portland, Maine school board is allowing school personnel to dispense birth control to girls as young as eleven without the knowledge or consent of their parents. Is this reasonable or unacceptable?  Would you want your eleven year old daughter using birth control without your knowledge?  Does availability of birth control promote sexual activity in teenagers?  Does the school system have the right to get involved in this issue or are they interfering with the family?

The price of ‘freeing the oppressed’

How do you propose an acceptable number of dead American military personnel? How do you justify losing even one American life.  Are there acceptable deaths?

My inability to answer these questions is probably why I did not have the character to serve my country while many of my family members did.  Maybe I could never grasp an understanding of necessary loss of life.  But spend a few minutes with military personnel.  They aren’t confused.  They understand.  They know the risk. They love their country and are willing to “ruck up and close with the enemy.”

Is there a life not worthy to be lived?

In the United States we have had access to legal abortions for about 25 years and access to voluntary euthanasia in Oregon for about 10 years. 

Some might question discussing abortion and euthanasia together but isn’t abortion just a form of involuntary euthanasia?  What does the future hold for these procedures?  If we look at Great Britain and the Netherlands we can get an idea of the natural progression.

In these countries abortion and voluntary euthanasia are already legal; the Netherlands also endorsing involuntary euthanasia, meaning the physician can end your life without your consent.  The British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecology is advocating expanding euthanasia to the “active euthanasia of seriously disabled newborn babies,” another practice already legal in the Netherlands.

The United States – “One nation under God?”

The funeral of a United States serviceman, who was killed in combat, ignited the debate over God and government.   Is it inappropriate to mention God at a military funeral?  Did we vote to become an agnostic nation?  The debate continues because some individuals and groups believe any mention of God in government violates the “separation of church and state.”  What were the intentions of our Founding Fathers for the United States of America?

Thoughts of a soldier’s father – VETERAN’S DAY

How do I write about the people willing to do what so many of us are not willing to do?  How do I write about heroes?  The ones “ready to pick up a rifle, ruck up and close with the enemy.”

How do I write about Veteran’s Day when I am terrified because I have a son who joined the Army at age 27 in the midst of a war?  A son who was determined to enter the Special Forces?  A son determined to do his part?  A son who joined the Army because he wants to help people?

The realities of illegal aliens in the United States

The United States has illegal aliens from all over the world, with the majority from Mexico (70 percent) and Central America (15 percent).  Do we have a plan to deal with these 15 to 20 million illegal aliens in our country?  Should we provide amnesty or deportation?  Are illegal aliens just good people seeking a better life?  Or are they more like a bank robber?  Aren’t they stealing our money just like they were robbing a bank? 

The Ivy Leagues vs. Supreme Court

Stanford and several other Ivy League universities continue to disregard the Supreme Court ruling of March 2006, which states they must either allow ROTC and military recruiters on campus or lose federal funding. 

Stanford argues they must refuse to allow ROTC on campus because the military is discriminating against homosexual individuals.  This stalemate came to a head in 1996 when Congress passed the Solomon Amendment, allowing the Secretary of Defense to deny federal funding to institutions of higher learning if they prevent ROTC or military recruitment on campus. 

FDR tried to help people

President Franklin Roosevelt would be proud of the help our government’s Small Business Administration provided Sun Valley area businesses following the Castle Rock Fire this year.  Although the fire did not damage any buildings, local businesses still suffered economic damage because of the fire.

Rather than just handing out money, the SBA set up a temporary office in Hailey, offering business owners low interest (4 percent) loans “for working capital for overhead needs that the business is not able to pay because of the fire … such as rent, payroll, and the like.”

The little-known link of Levis to yodeling

Some important information needed in life is left out of our educational system. One such bit of information is the history of Levi Strauss and the copper rivet.

How should we refer to such extraneous information?  Years ago when I was in medical school, acronyms were already taking over.  Everything had an acronym — “PMC” is used to refer to Portneuf Medical Center.  One of my professors spent far too much time considering the right acronym for this category of information.  He came up with LKFAWGAD (pronounced lick faug ad), an acronym for Little Known Facts About Who Gives A Damn.  Since the story of Levi Strauss is truly an all-American story, I would venture to say this is an important LKFAWGAD.

When does dissent become treason?

The first amendment of the Bill of Rights states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”  We can openly complain about our government.  We can peacefully demonstrate against our government.  But are there any limits to dissent?  Is there a line we should not cross? Is there a point that dissent becomes un-American or even treasonous?  In the last few weeks we have seen examples of un-American behavior and potentially treasonous behavior.

Let’s work together to balance civil rights and national security

The Sikh man felt violated when asked to remove his turban by a court bailiff in Dallas, Texas.  Was that discrimination?  Was he treated any differently than anyone else entering the courthouse?  Should his faith have allowed him rights other individuals do not have?

The airline captain removed six Muslim imams from the flight.  He was told the imams were saying the words “U.S.,” “killing Saddam,” and chanting “Allah, Allah.” He was told they were “acting angry.”  Was his decision ethnically motivated or religiously biased?  Were the imams treated unfairly, singled out because of their nationality or faith?  Would a reasonable person with the same information have made the same choice?

Is the Hippocratic Oath no longer relevant?

The Hippocratic Oath has endured for more than 2,400 years, penned 400 years before the birth of Christ.

G.E.R. Lloyd described the Hippocratic Oath as “an ideal gold ethics standard representing a clear dividing line separating healers and killers, a commitment that physicians make to protect life, and never to deliberately take life.”

How objective is media reporting on gun control?

The Idaho State Journal recently offered editorial support for gun control, taking the path of most media, assuming guns are a problem and gun control will solve that problem.  They referenced the Jason Hamilton murders when they complimented the University of Idaho for banning guns on campus, calling it a wise decision.

They overlooked an important fact explaining why Hamilton is actually proof legislated gun control fails.  They failed to report that Hamilton had been ordered by the court not to possess any firearms.  So much for court ordered safety.

U.S. must regain its resolve to defeat terrorism

Listening to our political leaders discuss Iraq and terrorism, I hear little discussion with real solutions. 

We must first separate the discussion of the war in Iraq from the discussion of terrorism, focusing on developing goals for both.  Rather than developing goals, our politicians’ discussions revolve around mandating deadlines, controlling troop numbers, and the like.  These are not goals but military management issues.  Our leaders need to focus on developing a well-defined goal that when reached, will allow our troops to come home.  How can we decide if it is time to withdraw from Iraq if we still have not determined what we want to accomplish before departing?