Retort on Tort -- It is clear that Washington state's medical liability system is broken. The recent news that emergency room doctors and hospitals across the state have lost their malpractice insurance is just another examples. Jackpot jury awards and settlements are making medical liability insurance either unaffordable or completely unavailable. Ultimately this hurts patients -- all patients. Many physicians, even those without complaints against them, skyrocketing medical liability insurance premiums are being forced to limit high-risk services, move out of state, or close completely. If this continues, patients will have much less access to delivery rooms, operating rooms and doctors' offices along with limited access to specialists in emergency rooms.
Tort reform is essential if we want people in this state to have continued access to quality healthcare. Limiting medical malpractice awards is good public policy that directs more money to injured patients than to personal injury lawyers. Doctors and patients should contact their legislators and urge them to pass meaningful tort reform, including a cap on non-economic damages, before physicians can no longer afford to provide essential medical treatments.
Dennis and Darla Williams
Port Orchard, Wash.
Survivors Share -- I just wanted to write you a letter expressing my feelings on your article "Sins of the Father" (1/22/04) about Father Pat.
I too, was abused by him and am involved in the lawsuit against him and the Catholic Church. I have met Mrs. Corrigan several times through meetings with our lawyers Mike Pfau and Tim Kosnoff. As I have sat around the table at these meetings, listening to all the similar stories from the victims involved, I realized that, as weird as it sounds, I wasn't the only one and that I was and am not a freak because of what happened to me. I am trying to get through this very difficult time with the support of my wife, God, and knowing that hopefully this will be over soon. I realize that for some the settlement may bring some closure, but as for me I will need months and years of medication and counseling. I just wanted to share a little bit of myself with you as your article has shared with me. Thank you and God bless.
Spokane Valley, Wash.
No Smoking, No Sex -- OK, past, present and future county employees, those sneaky commissioners caught us off-guard on that smoker's edict - but never again! We're ready for the next one. The rumor is on the way; it's said that all present county employees who have consensual intercourse after working hours with their loving spouse between Monday night and Thursday evening will have to report this incident to their supervisor and subsequently will be docked one working hour for this action.
This is based on the U.S. Department of Energy report that this type of activity reduces productivity the next day. But keep in mind that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: The commissioners say Friday evening is all right, because over the weekend you have a couple of days to recuperate.
Telling Is Healing -- As I also know several of the people in the article"Sins of the Father" (1/22/04) and have been impacted by sexual abuse within my own family, the story was both personal and painful. The story needs to be told and it needs to be told by those who were hurt. The Inlander did both and did it very well.
Abuse can only occur when there is silence. I wish everyone could understand the courage that it took for these men to speak.
The Facts About "Gats" -- After reading the letter to the editor "Wanted: Gun Control" (1/2/04) from Brian Smith, I felt the need to respond.
Smith thinks that logical people would look at the reduction in violent crime and assume that the Clinton Gun Ban (a.k.a. the Brady Bill) must be part of the reason. As a proud member of the vast right wing conspiracy that Hillary Clinton talks about, I must disagree. Most, if not all of the so-called assault weapons that were banned by this ill-conceived law are still available with slight cosmetic changes. Pre-1994 so-called high-capacity magazines are still legal and plentiful. Gun laws do not reduce crime, and this is very apparent with the Brady Bill.
The Centers for Disease Control will tell you that there is no correlation between stricter gun control laws and the reduction in crime. But, there is one important thing has changed since the early '90s. The Right to Carry law has been passed in 39 states. These concealed weapons are carried legally by citizens who value human life. Each time a state takes up this issue, the liberals say that there will be shooting in the streets, increased murder rates and more crimes of passion. What really happens? Violent crime goes down. The old clich & eacute; is correct: Guns don't kill people; people kill people.
Look at the facts, not emotional hysteria. Even the ABC show 20/20 had a segment on the real facts about guns and concealed carry. I urge you to look at the unbiased facts and not the handed-down lies from someone with a political agenda.
Political Weaponry -- Mr. Kay has reported that there are no Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Iraq. But what has not been discussed is the fact that we know there were WMD and yet we have no documentation showing their disassembly or destruction. Are we to believe that the WMD vanished? Did they simply dissolve? Or is there a more sinister truth?
We would all do well to remember that Iraq is nearly the size of California, and also that Saddam had years to hide these weapons and thousands of square miles of desolation in which to do so. Then there is the fact that fanatic groups abound in the Middle East, many of which have the wherewithal to spirit away and secret WMD for years to come before using them against us or our allies at their leisure.
The real question here is why are the Democrats using Mr. Kay's report to attack President Bush when every one of the Democratic candidates supported the war, voted to go to war, and fully believed the WMD's existed until it became apparent that to deny the truth might gain them votes, thus transforming a national security issue into a cheap political trick?
Stuart W. Hightower
Republics Rule -- Hold onto your wallets, the legislature is back in session. The House has again voted to make it easier for school levies to raise property taxes by a simple majority vote. After all, says Rep. Dave Quall, "majority rules" is the democratic way. Replacing wisdom with emotion, Rep. Quall and the 67 others who voted with him have once again shown the democratic way is dangerous to the minority. That is why our Founding Fathers wisely gave us a republic, a nation ruled by Constitutional laws protecting the life, liberty and property of everyone.
The U.S. Constitution also says that every state shall have a republican form of government so that the minority is protected by law from the democratic way. Any school kid who has had a majority take away his candy knows majority rule is bad and unfair. Being unaccountable to any laws, majority rule can be as unjust and evil as a lynch mob or any dictatorship. Nobody would really want to live where the "majority rules." Hopefully the state senate understands this and will stop this constitutional amendment from making it easier for the majority to plunder the minority.
Steve J. Dunham
Publication date: 02/05/04