Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Speech, Khashoggi, marijuana

Words do matter

Words matter. I recently read the argument that you can’t connect the actions of one person to the words of another. This argument is being put forth in defense of President Trump. I don’t buy it. Especially in the case of a leader with a following. If this were true, why make speeches? Why hold rallies? Words do matter. History bears this out as does an unbiased view of political leaders, elected or oppositional, around the world today. Winston Churchill used words to encourage his fellow countrymen with the blood, sweat and tears speech. The one whose name has become toxic to history inflamed the German people with his speech. Tell Vladimar Putin that words don’t matter. Why do authoritarian regimes throughout history attempt to control speech? Spin doctors are the modern sophists who seek to shape speech for political advantage. Words do matter and when our president calls the free press the enemy of the people and espouses xenophobia, misogyny, racism, nationalism, in an angry tirade he signals to his followers that these views are acceptable and approved. Inevitably some will act.

Brian Goller, Boise

Trump and Robertson

If I remember correctly Judas received 30 pieces of silver when he betrayed Jesus. Does history repeat itself? We now have Donald Trump and Evangelical leader Pat Robertson willing to sell Jamal Khashoggi for the sake of “billions in arm sales.”

Hmm ... think about it.

Begone Zabala, Boise

Marijuana use

I agree with those who believe recreational marijuana use is bad for society. However, so is treating it as more than an infraction. Why should our choice, in Idaho, be between foolish legalization and unreasonable harshness?

Jail is too expensive, and jail space too limited, to justify using hard-earned taxpayer dollars to pay for drug users to stay there as punishment. Furthermore, there are limited resources — time and personnel — available to law enforcement. Law enforcement needs to prioritize nabbing people you’d be afraid to encounter on the street, not cracking down on people who use marijuana (sometimes just experimentally).

Instead, personal drug abuse should be an infraction that need not be reported to a potential employer. A criminal record is an employment barrier. Blocking drug users from honest work can drive them toward violent crime. Therefore, the “penalty” for recreational marijuana use should not be a criminal history, but requiring treatment that could get to the psychological root(s) of the problem and thereby help society by reducing drug abuse. This would be relatively more effective and potentially more affordable.

It is only common sense to be less harsh toward marijuana users, while not relaxing to the point of full legalization.

Seth Mattison, Kuna