Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Immigration, Good Samaritan law, Boise Pride, free speech

Humanitarian crisis

The humanitarian crisis happening at our border is atrocious. The zero tolerance policy this administration implemented on immigration is inhumane and unjust. The separation of families, the mass incarceration of immigrants, the millions being made by imprisoning people seeking work or asylum, is all disgusting. Our country has a long history of making these terrible mistakes: slavery, Japanese internment camps, the trail of tears. I demand that Congressman Mike Simpson represent the people of this country who want to change our country’s past evil behavior and stand up for humans being harmed by our government. We can be better than this.

The executive order the president signed is not enough. It opts rather to jail families together, which “solves” family separation but creates/continues the bigger problem of mass incarceration at the border without trial or with a rushed trial. The speaker’s immigration bill is also not moving in the correct direction. These acts only further the crisis and use children as pawns, hostages to negotiate funding for a wall and even worse immigration policy. I urge Congressman Simpson to find his conscience and introduce/pass a bill that is better and will actually help these people.

Stephanie Westerlund, Garden City

Good Samaritan law

I was very disappointed that the article “More than 300 new Idaho laws go into effect July 1. Here are the ones you should know,” dated June 24, did not include any mention of the Good Samaritan law (HB 649). The Good Samaritan law will protect individuals who call for medical help in the setting of a drug overdose from criminal charges for the possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia or the use of a controlled substance. This law has the opportunity to help curtail the deadly impact of the opioid overdose epidemic by encouraging people to call 911 when they or a friend or family member has overdosed. The law is a crucial addition to HB 108, which in July of 2015 legalized naloxone (an opioid blocker) for use by lay people to reverse an opioid overdose. While the trespassing, stand-your-ground, and online sales tax laws are important changes to Idaho’s laws, I believe the potential for the Samaritan law to save lives warranted its mention in the article.

Magni Hamso, MD MPH, Boise

Boise Pride history

Thanks to the Idaho Statesman for coverage of Boise Pride. It is indeed gratifying to see how Boise Pride has grown from a small, grass-roots event to the major cultural celebration it is today. As one of the organizers of the first Pride in 1990, I would like to clarify a few things. The first public Pride in Boise was in 1990, not in 1989. A small group of individuals formed Your Family Friends & Neighbors (YFFN) in 1990 to produce the first Pride Rally, Parade and Festival in June 1990. Yes, several individuals attended that first Pride in masks or disguises. But the primary purpose of the event was queer visibility and most people attended without hiding their identities. By the second Pride in 1991, once people saw that we were able to pull it off safely, nobody came in disguise. Finally, the early years were indeed plagued by anti-gay protesters, whose hatefulness peaked in 1993 and 1994 (contemporaneously with the anti-gay ballot measure “Proposition One”) when they unfurled a huge banner that read, “The only good queer is a dead queer.” Thankfully, those people have gone away and a strong, vibrant LGBTQ community in Boise remains.

John C. Hummel, Boise

Free speech

I would like to comment on the free speech letter from Curtis Stoddard of Eagle (June 17). I also believe in the right to protest. However, when you protest the national anthem and the flag, you are protesting the very symbols that give you free speech and the right to peacefully protest. So to me they are protesting their right to free speech by protesting the anthem and flag. How does protesting these symbols give protest to whatever it is they are thinking they are protesting? To me they are protesting the anthem and flag and not racism, inequality, health care, or whatever else they say they are protesting. They should show respect for the anthem and flag. To me showing disrespect for these symbols is not free speech. Doing so indicates to me that they must not believe in free speech, since they are in essence protesting free speech.

Jim Price, Boise