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Steber should know better than column indicated; Steber column is good and freedoms should be discussed

Steber should know better than column indicated

Rick Steber is widely known for his fascinating and informative stories about early Oregon days and some characters who shaped those times. He is well aware of the ways society develops new responses to new situations.

He knows far better than is indicated by his irresponsible rant in the April 21 Central Oregonian, which denounces the life-saving responses of our state to the actual facts of the COVID threat, as documented by science and our best authorities.

When new situations arise, responsible society responds to the new opportunities and challenges presented. For example, the first auto arrived in Oregon about 1899. Soon, "horseless carriages" were novelties in our cities.

Then, in 1908, Henry Ford's sturdy, simple, affordable "Model T" revolutioinized transportation. Offered at $390 in 1915, Model Ts were everywhere — fifteen million were sold by 1927. At a blazing 28 mph, accidents multiplied. Car thefts expanded — and all Model Ts were black, by Ford's decree.

How to respond to this new situation of cars everywhere? Rules were set up over several decades, as conditions required. Oregon offered car registration in 1905. Then, in 1920 licence plates became mandatory, making a car identifiable. In 1931, a simple driving test and driving licence was required to help regulate and control problems in driving.

Some folks reacted with anger to these rules: "I never needed a licence for my horse. The government is just taking away my rights with no reason. Dictatorship! I will organize protests!"

Today, you might say, "Responsible people drive responsibly. Rules and restrictions take away our rights. Government dictatorship! I drive responsibly. I need no rules." Tell that to the mother whose child was killed by a speeder. Or, tell that to a mother whose ageing parent was killed by a rule-defying COVID carrier.

One problem with our imposition of rules for COVID is that, unlike the spread of automobiles, the disease has arisen fairly quickly. Another problem is that precise scientific facts are not as obvious as a speeding auto striking a child. Unfortunately, some people build careers with lies and disinformation.

My wife and I owned a childcare center. We had simple rules for the children: No biting, hitting, or screaming. A few children threw tantrums to protest rules. They went to the "timeout chair" in the corner. I think Mr. Steber needs a "timeout chair."

Allan Smyth


I am saddened by Steber's opinion on outbreak rules

I was saddened when I read the opinion of Rick Steber in the April 21 issue. It makes the first three words of the constitution "We the people" and "promoting the general welfare of all citizens" seem hollow. At last report, more than 50,000 people have died and the numbers are rising. To think that this divided country can self-monitor during a pandemic is beyond belief. I trust the scientists and our well trained medical personnel to guide us through this tough time.

Some people feel that their lives are more disrupted than others, some feel that their lives are more important, some feel that their rights have been trampled. I doubt that any of those who feel this way have experienced the loss of someone close to them due to Covid-19.

The opinion of Rick was thankfully overshadowed by Suzanne's letter (in this same issue) urging us to be kind and Scott's opinion regarding the local school district. It is comforting to know that our district has met this challenge head on. The board members, administration, staff and parents are to be commended for taking on the responsibilities of helping our youth come through this in the best possible way. I can't help but think that this positive approach to dealing with this crisis will reap benefits to this community as we are teaching our youth how to deal with change and how the kindness of people can make our lives more productive and enjoyable.

Thanks, Scott and Suzanne, for sharing positive thoughts in this time of turmoil.

Rich Mires


It is time for elected leaders to open up local business

This can apply to most of the counties on the east side of the mountains and more: Last week, the mayor of Prineville confirmed Crook County has only one case of the coronavirus and the hospital is virtually shut down and there are a lot of people and their families waiting for care that you don't want to get into an argument about that with.

There are a lot of businesses shut down that are affecting people's lives and future and if opened, with social distancing people would probably patronize them, although the TV thinks social distancing over here is acres not feet.

If the mayors, county commissioners, representatives and other leaders would combine, they could make up a large and powerful group, and it is time to show us why we elected you. Put some skin in the game like the first responders are. The governor can't put all of you in jail.

Richard Reigel


Please practice patience with social distancing

America is at its very best when open honest debate is rewarded with successful compromise.

The genesis of this pandemic is a virus, COVID-19. In our country of more than 320 million people, reports suggest that in a very short time more than 840,000 individuals have contracted this disease. Of course this only includes folks that have been tested and tested positive. More than 50,000 souls have been lost to this virus. Again, this statistic only counts the folks that were known to succumb from the virus and certainly not all COVID-19 deaths. The pace of spread has been incredible.

This is a nasty, contagious and agnostic virus. It simply does not care who it infects, where it infects or who it kills. And with more than 2,000 U.S. COVID-19 deaths per day from this wicked nemesis, it is far too much to ignore.

With testing still limited and with the world's leading scientists recommending separation, our government is rightly exercising caution.

It is uncomfortable, almost intolerable. And based on the best science, it is working. Our efforts appear to be slowing the spread as well as the impact of COVID-19.

Federal, state, and local governments continue to emphasize the importance of social distancing through "stay at home orders" to protect all people.

Different people have different levels of immune response and it is our responsibility as a neighbor to exercise caution while this deadly virus continues to infect in all 50 states. It is our duty to be considerate to our elderly, disabled and immune-compromised neighbors.

Embrace the simple and important precautionary measures of washing hands, staying home as much as possible, wearing masks and staying at least six feet apart.

Life will return to some sense of normalcy. Likely sooner than later. It will be slow and it will be with small steps. Our government will depend on science to reopen the economy. As challenging as it will be, please practice patience.

Faron Schultz

Powell Butte

Two closures must continue after pandemic ends

It's perhaps a hopeful sign that the coronavirus is slowing down when we start hearing talk of lessons we could take away from this. There was reasonable debate over some issues — whether or not to wear masks, for instance, or whether so many businesses needed to be shut down. But two things should be absolutely clear to everyone now.

Lesson one: Wildlife markets must be closed worldwide and permanently. They are places of torture and violence. The conditions in which the animals are kept before they're slaughtered and the slaughter itself make for a real-life horror show. The fact that they're breeding grounds for infectious disease simply adds to the horror.

Lesson two: Factory farms should be closed worldwide and permanently. A big order, I know, but we can see that they are just as torturous for animals as wildlife markets, and experts tell us they have potential to serve as breeding grounds for the next pandemic.

Factory farms are entrenched in our society, and eliminating them will be a massive undertaking. We can begin by instituting a moratorium on new ones. Unless we start taking action, I'm afraid we'll someday wish we had learned the lessons this pandemic taught us.

Debra Merskin, PhD

Powell Butte

Things will get better...unless we rush to reopen

I keep seeing posts on Facebook where people compare COVID-19 deaths to car wrecks, the flu, smoking, drownings, etc. And every time I see those, I think yeah … but those deaths are preventable. Get a flu shot, you don't get the flu, don't drive drunk and you probably won't have a fatal car wreck, don't pick up that next cigarette — you get the idea. People's actions cause those deaths.

But, here's the thing — COVID-19 isn't medically preventable right now — we don't have a vaccine — nor do we have an effective medication to take when you get it. What we DO have are options that we can take to prevent the spread of the disease.

It is helpful to social distance. It is helpful to use disinfectants. It is helpful to wear a mask. Thank goodness Governor Brown took early action to slow the spread. Thank God Oregon has been spared the pain of Washington and New York states.

What is NOT helpful are the signs that are popping up around Prineville saying "COVID-19 IS A LIE" and pointing to an obscure website that uses an outdated CNN video saying that more people die from the flu. Once upon a time that video was correct – now it isn't. As I write this, we have lost over 50,000 American lives to this virus. It's not just a number, that's PEOPLE.

I know it's no fun being stuck at home. I know it's no fun to miss paychecks – believe me I can relate – I am one of those hoping to go back to work one of these days. And I DARN sure need a haircut! I'm also thankful that I can survive financially – at least for a while.

But, I can trim my own hair. I can worship online although I miss my friends. I can take advantage of local merchants who are offering prepared food to go. I can be thankful that our local grocers are keeping the shelves stocked as best they can. I can hope that one of these days I'll get an unemployment check. And, I can be thankful that my neighbors and friends are following the rules — whether or not they think their rights are being trod upon by a restrictive government.

Things will get better — unless we rush the process and give the disease a chance to take hold again.

Priscilla Smith


Steber column is good and freedoms should be discussed

Great guest column in the Central Oregonian by Rick Steber.

I know he has taken some "flack" on social media for his opinion. We should always have the freedom to have a discussion about issues that concern us all. We should always be able to ask questions about government policy or take an opposing view without being shouted down. This should apply to both sides of an issue.

David Kennell


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