Everything is (not) awful

My daughter has a mask that says “Everything is Awful,” and certainly sometimes it does feel like that with COVID-19 and the chaos surrounding the pandemic, but there are bright spots. My husband has vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s and that has been a struggle. Thanks to the competent, caring staff at Gritman Medical, he is safely ensconced at Palouse Hills Assisted Living where he is more than well taken care of.

I could not have gotten to this point without the help of the Moscow Police Department who responded quickly to my calls for assistance more than six times. Each time they considered the needs of my husband and treated him with dignity. I will be eternally grateful for their thoughtfulness.

The staff at Wells Fargo was always welcoming and friendly, as was the staff at Big Smoke. They always made his day better, as did the customers and staff at One World. Oui Thrift was one of his favorite places to go as he felt cared for.

The staff at Rosauers was friendly and helped him shop. Special thanks go to Café Artista for providing a safe place for Jerry to read and drink coffee and for always treating him with respect. Much thanks to Malo (malocaters) for taking time to visit with him every day as he walked by. As he maintained his sense of humor, he always had an audience there.

Sunny Kendal


For Kersting-Lark and Love

If ever there was an ideal role model of a volunteer devoted to civic engagement, it would be Dulce Kersting-Lark. Besides her full-time job as Director of the Latah County Historical Society, she is a very active member of the Lions Club, Latah County Parks Board and League of Women Voters of Moscow. I have greatly enjoyed working with her directly and have been very impressed with her leadership and problem-solving abilities. Dulce is absolutely devoted to Idaho, has a firm grasp of the issues that our state legislature needs to address, and has creative ideas for solving problems. View the informative videos on her website at dulceforidaho.com.

Although I have not known Renee Love as long as I have known Dulce, I have been very impressed with the newsletters on her website (reneeloveforidaho.com) that have comprehensive analyses of Idaho issues: housing, poverty, climate change, prisons, mental and behavioral health, healthcare, discrimination and violence. She has clearly done her homework. As a scientist and small business owner, Renee has a unique perspective, broad experience and scientific expertise to bring to the Idaho legislature.I urge you to vote for Dulce for House Seat A and Renee Love for House Seat B to represent District 5 in the Idaho legislature.

Lee Anne Eareckson


Perhaps Biden and Pence?

That’s too funny, dear editor. The article “Electoral voting is a U.S. oddity,” in the Sept. 24-30 issue of 360, says that, “If no presidential candidate wins 270 votes (a majority of the 534 available), the House decides the winner.” Having a majority of Democrats, the House would choose Biden.

Further, “If no vice presidential candidate wins 270, the Senate decides.” Having a majority of Republicans, the Senate would choose Pence. If Biden is able to stay the course, we would have four years of Biden/Pence. Did I read that correctly?

If true, then the politics would be lively, wouldn’t they? Don’t you suppose the Rs would be constantly challenging Biden’s mental competence to continue as president? I wonder how much they could reduce Biden’s political capital — his ability to assure people that he would be in office long enough to return favors. And Pence; wouldn’t he be using the vice presidency to counter the presidency as much as possible?

I suppose the above is unlikely without a strong third party candidate, but what a thought. Criminny, that would be interesting.

Wiley Hollingsworth


Correcting previous letter

In his Sept. 24 letter to the editor, Otto Keyes makes several points that should be corrected.

First, Mr. Keyes states that “the odds of … dying from (not with COVID-19) is .02 percent.” This is incorrect. Our population is approximately 330,000,000 and if we all became infected, a .02 percent death rate would result in 66,000 deaths. We have surpassed 200,000 deaths. We currently have 6,790,000 virus infections and with 200,000 deaths, the death rate is approximately 3 percent.

Second, Mr. Keyes states, “Statistics show that the mask mandate has had little to no effect on case numbers except in the minds of politicians.” I don’t know where Mr. Keyes gets these statistics, but practice shows exactly the opposite.

Third, Mr. Keyes states: “In fact, case numbers increased significantly after the mask mandate.” Again, I don’t know where Mr. Keyes gets this information. But, he may be correct. Mask mandates have been issued after large infection outbreaks and since there is a two-week lag between infection and symptoms, during that two-week period infections may well have increased even after masks were mandated. However, only after people began wearing masks, did infections decrease

Fourth: Mr. Keyes states: “seldom changed masks result in constantly breathing contaminated air.” Mr. Keyes is probably correct. The entire point of mask-wearing is to preclude an infected person from expelling water droplets in the breath containing the virus. That person is in fact rebreathing these virus-containing air droplets, but the mask precludes these exhaled droplets from being breathed in by others and thus infecting them. In this sense, mask-wearing is a matter of compassion and respect for the health and well-being of our neighbors.

Finally, Mr. Keyes goes on to pontificate on unrelated matters, which need not be addressed. Mr. Keyes’s argument epitomizes the type of misinformation and unfounded views that have resulted in our COVID-19 disaster.

Mark Mumford


The church and its resources

When I watched Christ Church gather their people and resources and spend their time and energy on protests against mask wearing this week, bringing negativity, possible violence from outside groups, and division to our small town, I couldn’t help but wonder. What if all that time, energy, effort and community organization was spent on real injustice?

Right here within our county, people are experiencing poverty, hunger, loneliness, domestic violence, substance abuse and addiction. If Christ Church spent their valuable resources on issues of actual hardship and persecution, what kind of positive change could they make in our community and the world?

Stacy Boe Miller


Group coopts a sacred song of praise

Last Wednesday a friend texted me that she heard some folks outside singing psalms. She said she heard the Old 100th. That made me happy to hear — I love singing psalms, especially Psalm 100. In verse 2 of that psalm we are told to “serve the Lord with gladness.” (In the hymn it is phrased “Him serve with mirth.”)

But then she added that these folks are doing it at Moscow City Hall to protest the mask ordinance. They were saying with their mouths “serve the Lord with gladness,” but they meant something quite different: “Don’t make me wear a mask.” They were coopting this sacred song of praise in order to whine about the mild inconvenience of masks.

Such a message has nothing to do with the message of this psalm — my fellow Christians, you know this. We are not called to carefully, resentfully, keep track of all the ways we are being put upon. We are called to serve the Lord and to serve others.

I want to voice an alternative, Christian point of view about mask-wearing and psalms: We’ve known for months that roughly half of coronavirus transmissions come from people who have no symptoms (yet). It has been shown that, on the off chance that I’m one of them, wearing a mask significantly reduces the likelihood that I will get other people sick.

Knowing this, when I put on a mask before going out in public I actually feel like I’ve got a chance to serve the Lord with gladness. I have an opportunity to care for my neighbor, to reduce their chance of getting sick from me.

Masks don’t “muzzle” us. They actually give us a way to speak about serving the Lord and others. A truer way to sing the psalm.

Rob Ely


Story about churches was uplifting

Thank you, Moscow-Pullman Daily News for the Friday story about the many Moscow churches that support distancing and mask mandates. The story was uplifting. Comments by pastors interviewed for the story included “we want to lean on the side of compassion and caring for the neighbor more than we care for what we want or what we think we need,” and, “For us wearing a mask is part of ‘do no harm’ and ‘love your neighbor.’” These comments reflect the Moscow that I love. The caring that was expressed in this article was in sharp contrast to another of your front-page articles which appeared the same day. The second article sounded like it had been written about a child whining “I don’t want to, and you can’t make me.”

I would also like to thank Mayor Lambert and the Moscow City Council for doing their homework, listening to the experts and consequently making intelligent decisions for our community. These decisions have benefited both the health and safety of our community as well as the city economy. As long as people are wearing masks I will continue to comfortably (at least relatively comfortably) continue to support Moscow businesses and I see others are doing the same.

Lastly, I thank the people of Moscow who continue to wear masks even when we would rather not.

Mary Sánchez Lanier


Helping to grasp the enormity

As of Sept. 26, more than 204,000 people have died in the United States from the COVID-19 virus since it emerged in March. More than 7,000,000 Americans have contracted the virus in just six months. By comparison, there have been 337,000 deaths due to the influenza virus over the past decade; an average of 37,000 per year. So the mortality rate due to COVID-19 is about 10 times larger than the flu.

And there is the additional fact that we have access each year to a relatively effective vaccine for influenza, but none yet for COVID-19. (Remember to get your flu shot.) Some in our community appear to have difficulty grasping the importance of simple health advisories that our medical professionals are recommending. So I thought I would try to put this situation in terms that might better help them grasp the enormity of this global pandemic.

If all 7,000,000 Americans who have contracted the disease so far were to stand 6 feet apart (socially distanced), their line would stretch 8,000 miles, about one third the circumference of the earth. If 204,000 caskets were laid end-to-end, they would stretch more than 250 miles. It would take someone driving 60 miles per hour, over 4 hours to pass all of the caskets. Now imagine all of the family members and friends associated with each of these individuals gathered with them. No matter how you calculate this, this is a lot of people. My hope is that we can all do our best to take care of each other until a vaccine is available, and to take special care of those who have been affected by this virus.

Von Walden


Thoughts on the ‘hymn sing’

A few points regarding the “flash hymn sing” by Christ Church:

-- I have high regard for Chief Fry and the Moscow Police Department. I would recommend to my young friend Gabe that when an officer of the law asks for your identification, you ought not respond, “You do not need to do this. You are better than this.” Highly imprudent. Be glad you were in Moscow.

-- Our individual rights in this country have never been held to be “absolute.” Why? Because we have neighbors.

-- Health and safety issues have been regulated by governments since ancient times. And by governments religious and secular.

-- In the last Moscow City Council election, 2019, the people of Moscow voted solidly (70 percent to 30 percent in favor of the present council majority.) Even if a referendum on the present mandate for COVID-19 were to be held, there is little reason to believe that the council’ss resolution would not be supported by the vast majority of the people, and this even in the greater Christian community.

-- I highly recommend former commissioner Richard Walser’s (R) Friday letter to the editor on his support for Tom Lamar for commissioner.

Fred Banks


Jesus would shake his masked head

Jesus saves and so do masks. These two ideas need not be mutually exclusive and I find myself flummoxed at the polarization of the two. Look, I am a Christian, I believe in God, and I am thankful and blessed for all he has given me. Theologically speaking, I know I am a rube. I can’t quote scripture. I regularly include Sneezy and Doc in my recitation of the 12 disciples. I could never go toe-to-toe in any sort of religious debate and I do not pretend to know the distinctions amongst various denominations, creeds or dogmas, but I’m pretty sure Jesus was no idiot.

He seemed like a generally sensible fella with lots of talk about loving our neighbors, doing the good God wants us to do, caring for one another, and not worshipping false idols.

Probably ... Jesus would wear a mask. And probably, Jesus would recognize that wielding one’s faith like a bludgeon to be divisive and exclusionary is not what he had in mind. And probably he would discourage the belligerent and self-serving actions taken by certain unmasked members of this community to flagrantly disregard the health and well-being of others.

Probably, Jesus would strongly “tsk tsk” the gathering of more than 150 people whose sole purpose was to be contentious and alienating under the guise of Christianity. Ignoring the call to love your neighbor by caring for him? Turning a deaf ear to God’s invitation to be better and care for one another? Crawling over corpses to get to church? Jesus would shake his masked head.

Amanda Wells


He’s milking his 15 minutes

Our beloved city and public servants are under fire.

Since the arrests and citations at Christ Church’s psalm sing, the Moscow Police Department, city staff, city council and Mayor Bill Lambert have been inundated with angry (and misinformed) social media comments, phone calls and emails.

And now, according to a city Facebook post, we have out-of-town groups threatening to travel to Moscow to protest “in a manner that may escalate to violence.” Such an influx of visitors also puts our citizens at risk of increased exposure to COVID-19, which we have worked so hard to avoid.

Meanwhile, Gabe Rench is appearing on YouTube videos, podcasts, Fox News, Glenn Beck and more. His arrest has gone viral.

For all intents and purposes, he’s milking his 15 minutes of fame and raining down hell on the community he claims he wants to serve as county commissioner.

An honorable public servant would solve this issue within the community. Not air his grievances on national TV, dragging our city, our leaders and our police through the mud. A true aspiring public servant would build bridges with the mayor, city council, sheriff’s department, city police and all the other stakeholders, instead of burning them. If Rench were elected, these are the very same people he would need to work with as county commissioner.

I take comfort in the fact that national news appearances and out-of-town opinions will have no bearing on our election here in Latah County. We will decide who best represents our community.

I hope my fellow Moscow and Latah County residents will join me in voting Tom Lamar for Latah County commissioner. Tom has proven, for many years and in many capacities, that he truly cares about the people of Moscow and Latah County.

Meredith Metsker


A new perspective

As I write this Friday, the United States has surpassed 7 million cases of the COVID-19 virus and 203,481 people have died from it.

What do the numbers mean? Look at it this way: It means the entire populations of 10 regional counties would be gone, adults and children alike. Everyone in the five counties of north central Idaho (Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Clearwater and Lewis) would be dead. Everyone in five counties contiguous to north central Idaho (Asotin, Whitman, Valley, Adams and Benewah) would also have died. Per 2018 census reports, these 10 counties have a combined population of 206,592. By the time you read this, the death toll will probably exceed that amount. Imagine no one living in this vast area we call home. That’s what 203,481 people gone today would look like.

How to see the meaning of 7 million cases? It means every person in the States of Idaho, Oregon and Montana would have contracted the virus.

The future? Add in the entire population of Kootenai County of 161,505 people dead, too, as, per recent statistical models, at least 168,000 more deaths are predicted. As the months of 2021 progress how many more counties of death equivalents will be added? It’s staggering as well as relatedly evident we must do better to curtail this contagion.

Frances Conklin


Songs of selfishness

Protesters outside City Hall sang, unmasked, not socially distanced, many open-carrying weapons. What’s your point? To practice civil disobedience by jeopardizing your own lives and those in the community? To seek national attention to mushroom your selfishness during a pandemic?

In the Old West, people carried weapons for self-defense in the wilderness, but when they came to town, places like Tombstone, Ariz., residents either left their guns at home or they checked them in; that is, they disarmed themselves, stowing their weapons “either at a hotel or a lawman’s office” with a token exchange.

In fact, the laws in the 1880s were reportedly more restrictive than they are today, according to an article found in the Smithsonian by Matt Jancer (smithsonianmag.com). Local government protected the people from killings.

In Moscow, our Mayor and City Council, using science, not science-myths, extended the mask ordinance to Jan. 5 with social distancing guidelines, which was supported by residents, including me. COVID-19 doesn’t care what you think; we are living in a pandemic that kills (fortunately, not everyone). Sadly, our nation has hit over 200,000 deaths due to Covid, and projections are expected to surely double if we don’t follow science. Local government should act in your best interest for the common good, protecting you from potential viral killings, not needlessly overloading hospitals and medical services.

Protesters, go to your prayer closet: sing and pray in private, not dragging your children with you to the center of town using God and Constitution to further your hidden agenda. Moscow and its first responders should not be threatened or endangered by guns or viruses with escalating and divisive tactics — and Moscow should not be disparaged for your lack of concern for all of its citizens. Love never fails. Safety comes first.

Susan Hodgin


When rural, white people are inconvenienced

As the parent of an occasionally-whiny toddler, I see definite parallels between him and Moscow’s anti-mask protestors. When he doesn’t get exactly what he wants, he cries, screams, stomps his feet and tries to make everyone around as miserable as possible until he gets his way. He thinks only of his own wants, everyone else be damned. This is normal, healthy behavior for a 2-year-old. But why are we tolerating it from supposed adults?

These self-righteous anti-maskers say they’re “resisting tyranny.” Well, why didn’t they speak up when the military was employed to disperse peaceful protests? When unmarked federales were grabbing people off the streets of Portland? When refugees from violent countries were ripped from their children and put in concentration camps? Or every time the president has actively undermined electoral politics and democratic values, praised authoritarians, and attacked the very notion of fact-based reality in order to consolidate his power? Does the tyranny of the police routinely killing unarmed American citizens bother them in the slightest? Perhaps they think that “tyranny” only applies to the inconveniences of rural white people.

Why should the community as a whole even care about the desires of people who are clearly only out for themselves? People who are not willing to make even the smallest sacrifices to the common good? People who value their own comfort more than the very lives of their neighbors?

What makes a community is people who care about one another’s well-being. Those too petty and selfish to do so may live here, but they’re not part of the community. They are more than welcome to join in, however, when they can act like responsible adults. Until then, I recommend warm milk and a nap. Maybe when they wake up they won’t be so fussy.

Ryan Urie


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