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This week's letters include notes about good Samaritans and letters concerned about recent Supreme Court rulings.

A letter to a Good Samaritan

On Tuesday, June 16, I went to Nordstrom's Rack in Tanasbourne to buy two baby dresses for my great granddaughters. I didn't notice that the check-out line was very long and went up to the counter. The clerk pointed out the extremely long line and told me it would be about a two-hour wait.

I did not have time to wait and since I'm 84 years old, didn't think that I'd be able to stand that long. So, I put the dresses on the check-out counter and left the store.

As I was walking to my car, a lovely lady and her daughter came out with the baby dresses — she had been at the front of the line and witnessed my exchange with the clerk and purchased the dresses for me!

I was so surprised that I couldn't speak! She gave me the dresses and left after just a few moments.

Dear Good Samaritan, I want to thank you very much and let you know that I'll pay your kindness forward!

"Grammie" Kathleen Gwin, Vernonia


Let's be honest about our history

It seems we have come to a national reckoning about our shared past. This can be a very good thing if we re-evaluate the actions of our nation with honesty. I do not know what other people's educational experience has been, but for most of my time in public schools, American History was a complete whitewash. To give just one example, I never learned about President Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears until I was well out of high school.

Jackson was not only a slave owner, but the author of the Indian Removal Act. The Cherokee had pursued their claim to keep living on their traditional homeland all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor. However, the President refused to honor this court ruling and allowed the Cherokee, along with some other tribal groups, to be forcibly rounded up and shipped to what was then known as Indian Territory (Oklahoma). This forced march for hundreds of miles in the winter resulted in many deaths from hypothermia and starvation.

In other words, it was genocide.

If we look at this and many other incidents in our past and face up to our crimes, we can move forward. No nation is perfect. Humanity is flawed. But the first step to redemption is understanding. Let's take it.

David Pauli, Forest Grove


Childish violence won't solve racial injustice

The Fourth of July in this turbulent year was celebrated with anxiety and fear of what's happening in our society. Those of us who are older are perplexed by the destruction that's going on night after night in the name of "free speech." Is it free speech to destroy the livelihoods of the merchants downtown? Is it free speech to set fire to public property that was paid for by all of us with our taxes? Is it free speech to throw trash and dangerous objects at the police who are just trying to do their jobs? To loot stores and destroy the livelihoods of others? I don't understand this interpretation of "free speech."

I understand the rage behind some of the violence. Unjust treatment of people of color in this country has gone on far too long. It has to stop. We have all been made aware, finally, of how brutal and persistent it has been. But this violence is childish and detrimental to the cause. It only makes things worse.

All citizens have the right to fair treatment. The peaceful demonstrations have had enormous impact. I believe real efforts to address the problem have been undertaken and will be put into effect.

It's time to unite in peace and political action. Get out the vote. Run for office if you want to make lasting change. Do it the American way. Breaking the law will not change the law.

The signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sacrifice their lives and property so that America could be run by mob rule.

And in case you haven't noticed, death is stalking our land in the guise of COVID-19. We have to focus on defeating this disease before it defeats us. Can we please work together to defeat one enemy at a time?

Theresa Verboort, Hillsboro


DACA decision undermines rule of law

In regards to your article "Dream on: Supporters hail Supreme Court decision on DACA as 'good first step'" (which ran June 25, 2020). In voting to disallow the Trump administration's effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (also known as DACA) program, the U.S. Supreme Court has undermined the Constitution and the rule of law.

DACA is a program enacted unilaterally by Barack Obama's Department of Homeland Security, Justice Clarence Thomas noted in his dissent, "without any statutory authorization and without going through the requisite rulemaking process."  The Trump administration's decision to "countermand an unlawful agency action," then, was "clearly reasonable."

In justifying the majority's ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the administration "failed to consider ... what, if anything, to do about the hardship to DACA recipients."  By imputing legitimacy to a blatantly illegal program, however, the real hardship was that done by the court to the rule of law.

The illegal immigrants DACA aims to protect — those who arrived in our country as youths — should return to their home countries and pursue re-entry through legal channels. They will have more respect for the nation they hope to become a part of if that nation makes clear that it stands by its duly-enacted laws — and thereby its citizens — first and foremost. 

Richard F. LaMountain, President, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, Cedar Mill


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