Letters - Sept. 24

Christians value life

I find that I am somewhat at a loss to know how to respond to Karen Donahue’s letter of Sept. 7 concerning the tragedy in New Orleans.

I should perhaps start by saying that I am one of the Christians against abortion she refers to in her letter. She wonders “where are they now” in the midst of this terrible struggle for the people of that area. I want to tell her that some of us are in New Orleans or Mississippi on medical teams, with Salvation Army, World Relief or the Red Cross. Some of us are here — wishing we could be there — helping with more than money we have sent. Some of us have offered our homes as perhaps she has as well. Many of us would welcome one or two of those children (and their mothers) in our homes until they have homes of their own again.

Yes, our doors should be open because we are glad that those little ones were born even if it seems inconvenient to some in an orderly society. She seems to assume that the main cause of the suffering after the hurricane was the presence of too many children — especially poor children.

But Ms. Donahue has made an assumption she has no right to make — that those little ones we saw on our televisions were not wanted by their parents — or single moms; that they would have preferred to have ended their lives before they breathed our air. That is an assumption that smacks of elitism and is a terrible misjudgment about the hearts of poor mothers.

What I saw on television were people who suffered from inexcusable poverty — and we all need to work to correct that, BUT I saw moms and dads and single moms who loved their children and were glad they were born in spite of the poverty that increased with an extra mouth to feed.

Ms. Donahue misrepresents two groups. One is Christian people who are willing to stand up for their belief that God is the author of life and that He values every single one.

But sadder than that she misunderstands and underestimates the people who live in poverty but who do love their little ones. To me, her letter indicated that she does not truly value them at all.

Gerri Beal

Hood River

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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