Letters to Editor for Aug. 15, 2019

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Guns have changed, now laws must change

The United States Bill of Rights states: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

This was 1791, when “arms” were muskets and pistols that held a single round. Transportation was walking or riding a horse. And as far as telecommunication? Paul Revere riding his horse.

That was then.

This is now: another day, another mass murder.

These are no longer “mafia” or “gang-related” shootings. They are mass murders against innocent people.

When bulletproof backpacks are needed to help parents cope with their children’s safety, we have gone too far.

We all have the right to own a gun, but it doesn’t have to be an AR-15.

Ban assault rifles. Demand background checks. Take the National Rifle Association’s tax-exempt status away. Guns have changed. Our gun laws must also change.

We also all have the right, as the Declaration of Independence states, to “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Let’s focus on Life, Liberty and Happiness, not “you can’t make me give up my AR-15.”

Carol Williams,


In Washington state, vaccine exemptions are still available

Vaccines are risky medical products with known serious impacts including brain damage, paralysis, intussusception, death and more.

Vaccine makers are not held liable for injuries or death caused by their products. Instead, over $4 billion has been paid out by a unique “vaccine court” that decides who is eligible for the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. The “vaccine court” is mostly funded by vaccine consumers. U.S. Department of Justice attorneys represent the vaccine makers, Health and Human Services employees act as judges, and the time limit to file a claim is typically two years. Some legal firms offer no-cost legal guidance for victims of vaccine injury.

If a child suffers serious reactions, or has regressed developmentally within hours, days or weeks after vaccination. parents should seek medical care, and later report reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

VAERS only captures about 1 percent of adverse events, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Federal Drug Administration, which administer VAERS seem to minimize the reports, perhaps due to conflicts of interest.

As reports, “the U.S. needs an independent vaccine safety organization.”

In Washington State, parents may opt-out their child who is or will be a student in childcare or pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools from state-recommended vaccines. A religious exemption may be filed for all vaccines, and no church membership is required. A personal philosophical exemption may be filed for all vaccines except the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. A medical exemption may apply for some. A healthcare provider signs most exemption forms.

For exemption forms and details, visit Informed Choice Washington supports a parent’s right and duty to protect their child’s health, free from governmental interference, based upon medical necessity, scientific research, philosophical values or religious beliefs.

When notifying families of vaccination requirements, schools also should include information about all exemptions. The University of Washington and other colleges also allow exemptions to vaccination.

Citizens, including childcare center workers and volunteers, university students and healthcare workers, have religious rights under federal law and may claim a religious exemption to vaccination if it violates their personal religious beliefs.

Everybody has the right to “learn the risks” about vaccines (LearnT

Margaret Tweet,


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