Letters to the Editor - Aug. 23, 2013

Horrible for all parties

In regard to Friday’s News-Register, does District Attorney Brad Berry really feel intimidated by a group of people claiming he cannot do his job? Does he not understand our state laws?

Perhaps he should not be in the position he is in if he cannot stand up for what he believes is just. Ignorance is bliss. How about having all these so-called “justiceforandrew” supporters get their facts straight before passing judgements? Accidents happen every single day despite how awful they may be.

Not one of those boys had intentions of murder, and to bash them just shows your own character. Remorse and guilt flood these boys, as well as their friends and families. Do not judge them or their friends and family as trash. You know nothing of them or what they’re going to have to deal with for the rest of their lives.

It’s awful for Andrew’s loved ones, but the situation is horrible for all parties. Unless you were there and witnessed or played a role in the incident, your “insight” is truly irrelevant. 

Every single one of the boys involved are good guys who made bad choices, and every single one of them was under the influence except for the one everyone seems to believe should be prosecuted. The law has made the legal and just decision, so, please, let Andrew rest in peace.

Donna Svela



Trying to understand

I’m trying to understand the district attorney’s decision in the Andrew Agcaoili case.

My service on a grand jury gave me real insight into how the justice system is intended to work. The DA’s initial decision caused outrage because it appeared he was stifling justice by not allowing a grand jury of unbiased, non-law enforcement citizens to weigh the evidence. Because a life was lost, the definitive announcement that no charges would be filed left many people angry and confused.

What would the prosecution’s decision have been if Andrew had been knocked unconscious instead of losing his life? Would both men have been charged under Measure 11? Would only the man who threw a punch be in jail?

Had the police had the opportunity to interview Andrew, how would the outcome have been different? And if the victim had just been knocked unconscious and left on the sidewalk, what rationale would have been used for the prosecution’s decision?

The DA’s memo to McMinnville Police Department made a biased impression. I don’t know why the “victim” group’s activities were more relevant than the “suspect” group’s actions. They all had been drinking that night. By recounting just one group’s movements that day, the report seemed more of a character judgment than a decision based on the law alone.

I’m pleased that the DA is looking into what charges might stick in the matter of this death. I don’t believe the attacker intended to kill anyone, but anyone who throws the first blow is accountable for that decision, and we need to send a clear message.

If I text and drive, and kill someone by accident, I go to jail. When you hit someone, the intent is to harm them, and if you kill them by accident, it doesn’t change the intent.

Melissa Westgard



Impossible to prove case

I couldn’t help but realize the similarities between risky behavior described in Jeb Bladine’s column and the consequence of risky behavior eventually leading to the death of Andrew Agcaoili.

I would say that risky behavior is not human, but rather the thought of risky behavior is human. Acting on that thought is where we define the line of stupidity, logic or wise-minded acts — and, at times, even brave. Much of this is addressed only after the consequence has already taken place.

Many balk at the prosecution not filing charges against Brandon Paholio. I don’t. Do we really need a trial and more expense in an already overloaded court, when you can’t possibly get a conviction? Would we have another trial like the futile Dundee murder case in 2011 for gun-toting drug dealer Jonathan Williams? Or even more publicized, the Trayvon Martin trial?

Many Americans seem to think that somebody being killed means someone was murdered. That isn’t the case under law. No charges should be filed under two circumstances: self-defense, because the person struck appeared to be the instigator, and mutual combat. Washington allows the mutual combat defense, but I’m not sure Oregon does.

The mutual combat law basically states that combat ensues under no undue advantage such as neither being trained in martial arts. I don’t think this case qualifies, because advantage would be a person using a fist versus a knife or gun. I think it would be impossible to convict for murder, and you would have a very difficult time obtaining a manslaughter charge in the case where the one who died appeared to instigate the circumstances.

This time, the prosecution got it right. It’s a shame this ended in tragedy when all people had to do was walk away from each other. But they let their egos get in the way.

Troy Prouty



GOP afraid plan will work

Is Obamacare going to work? It’s a vitally important question, and only time will tell us for sure.

But looking into the tea leaves, I’m going to predict that it will work, and work very well, actually. I think once it is established and the kinks are worked out, the great majority of Americans will be quite satisfied with it.

What makes me confident? The Republican barometer. This is the measure of how vehemently the Republicans in Congress are resisting the law being implemented. Recent experience with Republican opposition suggests the barometer has a good predictive record.

Congressional Republicans were intensely opposed to loans extended to the auto companies. Socialism. Government takeover of private industry. Doomed to failure. And the real result was success. Resurgent American car production, increased employment, and the loans largely paid off.

Then there were gays in the military. Disruption of cohesion. Loss of discipline. Devastation of morale. The reality: a big yawn. The military carries on with flags flying.

Don’t forget student loan reforms. Or the TARP. Or opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act. All were destined to fail or cause chaos, except they didn’t.

In all these cases, Congressional Republicans didn’t oppose change because they thought it wouldn’t work. They worried that change would work. They are scared to death that Obamacare will insure the uninsured, which it will, and do so in an affordable fashion.

The Republicans are horrified by the prospect of government, except for the military, being effective. So they voted 40 times in the House to repeal Obamacare. Because, God forbid, it should go into effect and the country discovers that it helps real people.

If Obamacare works, Congressional Republicans, with all their eggs in the basket of no, will have some serious explaining to do.

Scott Gibson



Replace the ‘progressives’

Which sounds better to you: that people be as free as is reasonable or controlled by others? Are you more satisfied doing good because it is required by law, or because you choose to do it out of personal conviction?

If you choose freedom and are informed, then you probably are as frustrated as I am at how the poisonous cloud of federal government overreach is spreading. Progressives in the federal government want to regulate your life from cradle to grave. Your car, food, toilet, light bulbs, energy sources, emissions, speech, ideas, income, conversations and health care are being ever more controlled by the giant fed.

Thankfully, though, we have been given a Constitution that is all about limiting the federal chokehold and relegating more responsibility to individual states. This ingeniously written plan was inspired by Biblical principles of freedom and the worth of the individual. Besides lots of prayer (I pray regularly for our president and Congress), we must elect leaders who will respect the Constitution.

President Obama and progressives like him who trample daily on the Constitution must be replaced. The freedom we once had cost many their lives. It is a freedom still worth defending.

Don’t believe the false promises you will hear this campaign season from people like Bonamici or Merkley. They are part of the controlling class, who may sound like they want to create more jobs but, truly, their policies will continue to sink our economy and lose legitimate jobs. The only jobs they seek to increase are those in the federal government. And that costs you in higher taxes. Pray hard and vote Conservative Constitutionalist.

Tod Butterfield




Scott Gibson, in spite of your political leanings I thought you had a little integrity. Perhaps your sources are limited. That is sad. The GOP's chief complaint all these years is NOT that Obamacare wouldn't "work." We have opposed it because it 1) places the government in the position of business owner and displaces private businesses, 2) will dramatically raise personal insurance costs, 3) will and has stalled our economy because so many entrepreneurs worried that it would kill their business, 4) would create a network of data on every citizen's private lives that could be used against us, 5) was never read by those who forced it to pass, 6) will reduce quality, availability and consistency of care and likely provide less care for the elderly whose needs might cost too much so just "give them a pill." And so on.
Perhaps, Scott, you should define "work." Is the 100,000 person waiting list for care with the Veterans Administration health providers, a currently nationalized health program, your idea of "working?" Is the fact that businesses nationwide are cutting people's work week to 30 hours to avoid providing health care your idea of "working?"


HumblyYours - I'm not sure I understand certain assertions in the above comment, especially the one concerning govt displacing private business. How so? I also don't understand why you believe the ACA will reduce quality, availability, and consistency of care any more than, say, Medicare. Finally, your disgenuous comment concerning the reduction of care for the elderly really stumps me. It's your party that wants to create a voucher program for Medicare. How will THAT improve access to care for the elderly? It takes a massive amount of hypocrisy for the GOTP, which has spread lies, misinformation, and doomsday fears about the ACA since day one, to now claim that businesses are worried it "kill their business" before it's even fully implemented. That's akin to removing the tracks ahead of an onrushing locomotive, then blaming the train for the derailment. Of course businesses are worried - thanks in large part to the GOTP propaganda and fear machine! Many of the things you listed for the most part are still unknowns. Why is there no discussion concerning the seemingly unending greed of corporations and insurance companies? Furthermore, there are decent companies out there who are not punishing their employees and have seen no need to cut hours and benefits, and are complying with the law. As much as the GOTP claims to be "fiscally responsible" there is scant evidence to support this. Why should anyone believe you are right about the ACA??

Don Dix

And there you have all the evidence necessary. The prospect of any progress (either way) is held hostage by two political parties that cannot allow the other to succeed. The number of 'finger points' per party isn't a measure of right or wrong, but that's about the only statistic that seems to be important when discussing these proposals. Sad!

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