Child an afterthought for Onion advocates

To the editor:

After reading readers’ responses to the Review-Journal’s July 8 editorial on Onion the dog, along with all the letters on this subject over the past several months, I have this to ask of those who think it’s barbaric to euthanize a dog that killed a small child:

Are you kidding?

I don’t often agree with the Review-Journal’s editorial positions, but on this subject, you were 100 percent right. The undercurrent of these letters seems to be that one somehow is not a true animal lover if one favors euthanizing poor Onion. The other striking characteristic of these letters — other than the fact that, as far as I can tell, not one of them actually names the dead child, as if he is a long-forgotten footnote among the “save Onion” crowd — is that they make excuses for the dog: he was sleeping; he was surprised; he didn’t know the child’s intentions; he was always loving before. What nonsense.

I grew up in a family of dog lovers, and it’s impossible to count how many times our family dogs were innocently poked, prodded or grabbed by a small child. Most of the time, our dog would yelp and scurry away. In some rare instances, the dog would growl, or in even rarer instances nip at the child. In this case, the child crawled over to pet Onion and grabbed on the animal’s fur to help him stand up. Onion’s reaction, according to news accounts, was to grab the child’s head in his jaws and shake him until an adult could pry the two apart. The child died from his severe injuries. Maybe Onion was just having a bad day.

Oh, and by the way, the boy’s name was Jeremiah Eskew-Shahan. His family was celebrating his first birthday.



Safety costs money

To the editor:

Once again, a component of the media has prejudged the cause of a disaster by advocating an end to the shipment of petroleum products by rail, instead of considering the root causes of the Lac-Megantic disaster (“Oil rail disasters easily prevented,” July 12 Review-Journal). In U.S. and Canadian railroad operating and inspection regulations, little or no distinction is made between a train carrying hazardous materials or wheat. Recently, train and locomotive inspection requirements were increased from 1,000 to 1,500 miles, both up from 500 miles in the past. Crew requirements on freight trains in the past 30 years were reduced to two persons, and only one with a special permit.

The same goes for track maintenance. All in the name of increasing efficiency — read: profits, for the company. The railroads operated by Edward Burkhardt’s Rail World have a long history of employee layoffs, deferred equipment and track maintenance, and have been accused of paying substandard wages. But no one questions how or why the regulators let this happen. No one questions the correctness of one person operating a train of 73 cars, 9,000-plus tons, over a track so poorly maintained that speed restrictions of 5 to 10 mph were prevalent. The company also accepts 40 percent less in earnings than its contemporaries.

Of course we couldn’t expect that anyone at The Wall Street Journal would attribute the root cause of a disaster to corporate management practices. Nor can we expect that a pipeline company would behave any differently than the railroads. The recent history of BP in the Gulf of Mexico should tell us where the corporate mind-set lies.

No matter how oil or any other hazardous product is transported, it can be done safely, whether by rail, boat or pipeline. Unfortunately for all of us, safety costs money.



Wrong message sent

To the editor:

Why didn’t the Review-Journal use the picture of the 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in the Sunday front-page story on George Zimmerman receiving a not guilty verdict? That picture was of a 14-year-old, a big difference in size and demeanor from the Mr. Martin that bloodied Mr. Zimmerman the night of the shooting.

Just wanted to add a little fuel to the fire, eh?



Well-deserved thanks

To the editor:

My husband and I thought about the many subjects in the news that we could have written about in a letter to the editor. The new situation unfolding in Egypt. The Syrian conflict. Afghanistan. The new round of suicide bombings in Iraq. Edward Snowden. The George Zimmerman trial. The list is probably endless.

However, we thought the most important thing we could write about at this time is a well-earned thanks to all the firefighters who not only risked their lives for us (as the Hotshot 19 did in Arizona), but who worked tremendously long and arduous hours fighting the Mount Charleston fire.

Second, a well-deserved thanks to all those giving firefighters the tremendous support that they need to enable them to continue this fight against what to us would seem like an impossible task.

And third, a big thank you to all who have donated in whatever way to ensure that this support can be organized in the best way to benefit those on the fire line.

Thank you firefighters, thank you supporters and thank you donors.



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