Our judicial and law enforcement systems failed us in West Richland murders

Our legal system failed in Richland

The tragedy of Mr. Huizar causing three deaths, creating three orphans, and terrorizing Wiley Elementary was almost entirely preventable if certain precautions had been taken by our judicial, legal and law-enforcement systems.

The central question to ask about this case is why did Mr. Huizar not have his weapons taken away? How can the judicial and law-enforcement systems provide for the safety of its citizens if people like Mr. Huizar are allowed to walk around freely with weapons?

Focusing on the hiring or vetting practices of Richland schools is not the right place to look for answers. Focusing on whether Wiley Elementary should have had an armed school resource officer is not the right place to look either.

Rather, we should demand to know why his weapons were not taken away and/or why he was not in jail.

A “No Trespassing” letter is not enough deterrence. A protective order is not enough protection. Taking away his weapons would have provided maximum protection.

I would trade therapy dogs and counselors for competent protection. That should be the topic of discussion. Why did our judicial, legal and law-enforcement systems fail us? And where in that chain was the failure?

Chuck Henager, Kennewick

Writer has doubts about Barnard

I can’t help but notice how scattered and disorganized Rep. Stephanie Barnard, R-Pasco, comes across while at public events in her official role. At multiple events I’ve attended in the past six weeks or so, she’s seemed flustered or overwhelmed and has shown up late.

I hear the same experience from other community members. Is she over her skis? I believe she may be.

She seems like a lovely person, but I wonder if the pressure of public life is really the right fit for her. I hope we have a strong campaign season to debate who is best to represent our community in Olympia.

Charlene Schmidt, Kennewick

Congress is most disappointing of all

Following the State of the Union address, Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., in an Op-Ed in the Tri-City Herald stated that he entered the Capitol on March 7, hoping our president might outline a positive vision for our future and came away deeply disappointed.

The same can be said for the body in which he serves, the United States Congress, one of the least productive in recent memory. The border crisis was high on the Newhouse list of presidential failures. In a democracy the key to governance is opposing parties negotiating to strike a compromise that on the balance is better than the status quo.

Showmanship has replaced simple governance.

Republicans voted down a border bill with many of the priorities they were seeking. As Mitt Romney put it: “Politics used to be the art of the possible. Now it is the art of the impossible.”

The chaos and dysfunction notable in congressional hearings give the impression of a GOP transformed for the singular purpose of entertainment.

The investigation and hearings in the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas proceeded without evidence of crime or corruption. Policy differences is not an impeachable offense. The Senate took three hours to dismiss.

Mickey Beary, Richland

Deadly flu virus not just ‘for birds’

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has just decreed that dairy cows must be tested for the deadly bird flu, which has already killed millions of chickens in the U.S. The unprecedented transmission of the H5N1 virus to cows has drawn public health concerns because cows are mammals, just like humans.

Although the precise cause of the outbreak remains uncertain, the horrendous conditions in today’s factory farms make egg and dairy production extremely vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. Indeed, 61% of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals.

These include Asian flu, dengue fever, Ebola, bird flu, HIV, West Nile fever, yellow fever and the more recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own health by replacing animal products with delicious, healthy, cruelty-free, eco-friendly plant-based meats, cheeses, and ice creams offered by our favorite supermarket.

These foods don’t carry flu viruses, or government warning labels. They may have been the preferred fare in the Garden of Eden.

Karl Tucker, Kennewick

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