Killing a pedestrian equals homicide

Re: the Oct. 13 column “In Tucson, lives of walkers, bicyclists are cheap.”

Thank you for Tim Steller’s column about the risk-fraught life of the Tucson pedestrian. As a Tucson resident of some seven years, I have found the spectacle of cyclists and pedestrians being struck down repeatedly by cars and trucks with virtual impunity to be totally bizarre and baffling.

The concept seems simple: If you cause the death of a human being you have committed homicide. Treating homicide as a misdemeanor under any circumstances is beyond incomprehensible and it makes walking across the streets in this town an unnerving experience. Someone should start an initiative on this one!

Dennis O’Flaherty

Writer, Tucson

Shoplifting story causes offense

Re: the Oct. 31. online article “Pair of Tucson shoplifters make a not-so-clean getaway.”

I am offended by this article. It is so mean-spirited and arrogant. I’m not even sure why this whole incident warranted a “story” at all.

First of all, “It was an autumn night — not a summer’s eve,” is not funny. Secondly, why does the reporter have to include the fact that one of the women had “bad teeth?” This fact was only included to humiliate the person involved as it was not relevant. Thirdly, readers are also treated to another irrelevant yet humiliating detail, “the women drove away in a ‘very beat up’ sedan.” Finally, we are able to deduce that these “shoplifters” got away with merchandise totaling $1!

Your reporter showed no compassion and this article was written in such a mockingly disgusting tone that I was embarrassed for her. This piece was written in such bad taste and showed such poor judgment. I’m disappointed that this qualifies as news. Tucson deserves better.

Rebekah Washburn

Educator, Tucson

Tucson’s crosswalks are too dangerous

Re: the Nov. 2 letter to the editor “Don’t rely on motorists to stop at crosswalks.”

The letter writer’s advice to remove unmarked crosswalks from major streets is good. As someone who both drives along and walks across such roads, I believe the only safe way to cross a road such as Speedway is when cars are not coming toward you. That is most likely to occur in the middle of a block, not near an intersection. Cross to the median when you can walk across safely. If you have to run, it is not safe. Then cross from the median to the other side the same way. If traffic is too heavy, cross at an intersection with a traffic light.

Drivers zone out the non-HAWK crosswalks during the day, and cannot see them at night. Intersections are dangerous because drivers look for oncoming cars, not pedestrians, while turning.

Crossing the street at an intersection or crosswalk can make you legally right and physically dead. Crossing when cars are not coming will make you legally wrong but physically alive.

George Libman

Retired attorney, Tucson

Right-to-die debate raises difficult issues

Re: the Nov. 3 column “Right-to-die advocate pushes new frontier in debate.”

Thank you for raising awareness. Right to die for those with mental illness is a thorny issue at best, fraught with complications. Nevertheless, someone with a mental illness or Alzheimer’s disease may become terminally ill and denied this right in those states where it is afforded to those who are “mentally competent.”

Most who decide to hasten their death do so for other than medical reasons. They choose death because of existential suffering — fear of being a burden, loss of dignity, unbearable quality of life, loneliness, abandonment and desertion, being considered worthless, and hopelessness. The list is almost endless. In short, they do so because of not being able to lead the life they want, reduced to a shell of their former self.

But I go further. I maintain that we don’t need a doctor to die. Death is a natural, normal, rational part of life. Why only physician aid? Maybe we could empower carefully trained and closely monitored “Thanaticians” to help one exit this life’s journey.

John Abraham


Indirect left rivals Obamacare for stupidity

Re: the Oct. 21 article “Indirect left starts Tuesday on Grant.”

This past weekend I went through the intersection at Grant and Oracle roads three times. About the only thing more stupid to come out of government this year is Obamacare.

Richard Parker

Retired, Tucson

Entitlement programs benefit most citizens

Re: the Nov. 2 letter to the editor “We pay for Medicare, Social Security.”

The letter writer fails to mention that most people pull out more than they put into the social programs. Who is left on the hook for that?

Smaller government, yes, but not at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens. We need to be willing to pay for and support social programs that benefit the majority of our citizens regardless of ideology. It’s a prudent, long reaching investment.

Gilbert Martinez

Educator, Tucson

Contact editorial page editor Maria Parham at