Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Letters: June 20, 2019


June 20, 2019

A thing or two

In the June 11, 2019, Lewiston Tribune, there was an article where State Industrial was investigating the actions used by Pullman Fire Department for the April 9 flood on North Grand.

I have been serving as a firefighter for just short of 50 years. It is my passion. Like the Farmer's Insurance commercial, I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two. But I do not know everything and neither does State Industrial. Fire fighting is inherently dangerous and when an emergency happens call 911 and a fireman will respond to help. When emergencies happen and dispatch doesn't know who to send, they send a fireman.

Firefighters have been solving emergency problems for a long time, and sometimes it is dangerous. Sometimes a firefighter gets hurt or even dies trying to rescue a victim. Every time a firefighter gets hurt or worse, there is an investigation and usually a new rule evolves. Fire fighting has gotten so bogged down with rules that we can't do our job without breaking a rule.

No firefighter wants to see a fellow firefighter hurt or worse. When one of our brother firefighters gets hurt or develops a fire-related disease, it tears at our very soul. Sometimes on-scene decisions are made to rescue a victim and yes there may be risk, but all the rules are taking away the ingenuity of our firefighters. Ingenuity is why you call a firefighter to solve your rescue situation. Life is full of risk, even getting into your car to go to work. Firefighters are risk takers. Firefighters are problem solvers. Most of the time firefighters have limited resources available to them at the time to solve the problem. Most of the time the risks are weighed and the decisions must be made in a very short time. The State Industrial comes in to investigate a fire department's actions and has months to critique a decision a firefighter only has minutes to weigh the risk/benefit factor of his actions.

Investigator Ameduri stated that even though the rescue in Pullman was successful and all victims were brought to safety and no firefighter was injured, there may have been rules broken and must be dealt with, usually a fine of some sort.

Investigator Amerduri also stated that the city of Camas was fined $4,800 for a successful rescue of a man and two dogs in a residential fire. The firefighters went into the burning structure with only two firefighters on scene and not three, as the rule requires.

I was not there in Camas when the fire occurred. I could assume there may have been some danger. I would assume that the two firefighters weighed the risks and did what needed to be done. I can only say "Well done."

I can only say the same thing to our brother firefighters in Pullman. "Job well done." We need more of this in the fire service; ingenuity to solve problems.

This letter will probably not change anything. Firefighters will keep solving rescue problems even if rules are broken. State Industrial will keep investigating and fining fire departments. The fines imposed only hurt the fire departments that the State Industrial is trying to help. I am not sure about Camas, but all of the fire departments in our area are struggling to stretch the tax dollar as far as possible, and we are always short. $4800 is about the price of three sets of bunker gear. I am not sure if Pullman Fire will be fined, but if they are it will hurt, and they will not be able to use that money to purchase needed equipment.

Like I stated at the beginning, I know a thing or two because I've seen a thing or two, but I do not know all. State Industrial doesn't know all either. To Pullman Fire, I am proud of your actions to rescue those victims April 9, and I am sure the victims were happy you were there.

James Krouse, Fire chief retired, Colfax Fire Department

Lowry counter

I have real problems with Mr. Rich Lowry’s column “The Daily Beast’s Shabby Scoop” June 13. Mr. Lowry expresses amazement that a news outlet (The Daily Beast) revealed the identity of the person who put out a fake video claiming to show Nancy Pelosi drunk on Facebook. Rich Lowry states that the value of identifying the person who posted the fake video is “none”. He is saying that people who create and post fake media have a right to anonymity.

Lowry denigrates The Daily Beast for identifying that anonymous poster. His last paragraph minimizes an issue that most Americans are concerned about, which is false “fake news” being presented as factual. Excuse me, since when do individuals deserve anonymity when they not only take a political position, but they go so far as to create falsehoods and broadcast them?

Mr. Lowry suggests that the liar who defamed a public servant deserves more care than the person that they slandered. These are NOT conservative values, Mr. Lowry. I grew up in a conservative family (USAF), and I believe people own their actions and values.

Mr. Lowry states in the second paragraph that the person who did this is “an unemployed African American forklift operator who lives in New York City and runs a couple of very minor FB pages”. Per Lowry, “it was a big deal for about 6 hours, and then disappeared…”

Right, that’s all it takes to slander someone to hundreds of thousands of FB users; but to Lowry it’s “not a big deal”. Shame on you Mr. Rich Lowry.

Defamation of character and slander by anonymous persons is despicable and deserves exposure. Your sympathy for someone who has a conviction for domestic violence and an outstanding warrant for his arrest on a probation violation is unsupportable. Regardless of your political values, surely you recognize what our society wants in terms of common decency.

Rylee Dustin, Albion

When history is ignored

The current bump in "overdose deaths" is not the first bump. Both bumps were the result of government policy, under the guise of helping.

There's a truism: When you ignore your own history, you're going to repeat your mistakes.

Let's step back to 1915, when the US Treasury Department initiated drug prohibition. 

The government inserted itself between doctor and patient, forcing the patient onto the black market with its unregulated chemicals. 

People started dying from drugs of unknown dosage - unknown content, even. And bereft of any doctor to help them stabilize their drug use. 

Prior to that, addicts had been successful in their careers, marriages, and civic lives. And they stayed alive.

To begin today's story, let's step back just one generation when patients suffered intense pain because drug warriors would not allow American doctors to prescribe adequate quantities of drugs.

Recently, the pendulum swung, and doctors became determined that their patients would not suffer pain.

Into this time of a more balanced treatment for pain, there came a villain, Purdue Pharma. Purdue lied to the FDA and the doctors, saying that their new formulation of Narcotics was "abuse resistant," and they buried their research which showed otherwise. Doctors believed Purdue, and trusted the FDA. I can imagine that doctors heaved a sigh of relief, "At last, we can prescribe for pain without worrying about addiction."

As a result, many patients became addicted. 

Then, ignoring history, the government inserted itself between doctor and patient, forcing the patient onto the black market with its unregulated chemicals. People started dying from drugs of unknown dosage - unknown content, even. And bereft of any doctor to help them stabilize their drug use.

And once again, patients fear that their pain will go untreated.

Wiley Hollingsworth, Pullman


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