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Communication breakdowns cost public

Tristan Scott of the Missoulian wrote a story, "Crossing Guard" (June 6), revealing that police are speed-trapping near Saint Patrick Hospital.

The story highlights the difficulty we have in communicating. Scott called it a "sting." The proper word is "entrapment."

The area forces motorists to speed. Officers then hand out citations, claiming that motorists should know better. All entrapments are illegal but police often mistake citizen leniency for permission. Illegal entrapments do not raise awareness nor do they decrease accidents. If signs on such broad roads remain unchanged, accident rates will remain unchanged. That's a communication problem.

Five officers on this one entrapment cost somewhere around $875 per day. That figure could buy effective signs that would end accidents, rebuild respect and last 20 years. It was especially disappointing to see Scott's story speak of a "bipedal" officer. That suggests that there is also a unipedal officer.

Another goofy, uncommunicative title is "Quality of Life Officer."

When the Missoula Crime Fighters, a local citizen watchdog organization, mentioned that torture and capital punishment administered by the law enforcement community could be reduced by citizen monitoring, officer Mark Woodward said that might be too harsh. Whatever was meant was not communicated.

When Missoula Crime Fighters went to listen in on the Neighborhood Watch Program they were told, "We can't help you." That makes no sense, either.

Somehow, we've got to communicate better so that law enforcement can serve and protect.

John H. Wiegman, Missoula

Lack of training hurting work force

A June 12 letter to the editor was of the opinion that the educational system is sending us into the dark ages.

It has been my experience that commercial businesses and big corporations are not doing their part for an enlightened world. They are not training employees to help the public in using their services or products. They are not writing adequate instruction manuals. Whether one is asking directions in a store or searching for help with a computer problem, one never knows if those being paid to help are competent or winging it.

I recently wasted $400 and six weeks of my time upgrading my computer system. I am 88 and thought technology had raced ahead of my brain so it was time to enjoy paying for service instead of doing it myself. Wrong. I only got it up and running after I decided to do it myself. It took study and time and work and a plodding approach I hate, but in addition to all the labeled wires, I ended up with a boosted self esteem and a working computer. Of all whom I thought might help, only two were competent.

I feel for younger people who don't have the luxury of tossing out technology if it gets burdensome. They need to make demands on those who are making the profits, and insist on training and well-written instructions. Having to wing it without training or knowledge is damaging to their health, and going the throw-it-out-and-buy-anew way is wasteful and costly. Those who profit should take responsibility.

Margaret A. Carson, Missoula

Democrats will doom America's future

Life for most Americans is going to change drastically unless we can get back to our conservative leadership.

We have all suffered because of the high price of oil. Liberal Democrats want to blame the oil companies for the high price of oil. The truth is the price of oil is set on a world market. Supply and demand set prices for all commodities. The middle class in China and India are starting to drive cars, so the demand for oil will even be greater.

Liberal Democrats say the oil companies are not reinvesting their wealth back into new discoveries or building new refineries. The truth is, most Democrats have supported bills that will not allow drilling for oil on American soil and they have even supported bills that prevent oil companies from drilling within 125 miles off the coast of America, yet China is going to come in and drill 65 miles of the coast of Florida. Brazil discovered a large oil reserve two months ago and there is no guarantee we will see any of that oil.

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Our own Sen. Max Baucus voted against drilling in ANWR and he voted against drilling off the coast of Virginia, and on June 6, Baucus and Sen. Jon Tester voted in favor of S. 3036, a climate tax bill. If this bill passed, it would have increased gas by at least 53 cents a gallon. Those urging Congress to pass the Lieberman--Warner bill say it would slow global warming. However, studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Heritage Foundation and even the Environmental Protection Agency predict severe consequences in higher energy costs. This bill could cost 500,000 jobs and cut economic output by $125 billion for little to no environmental benefit.

I believe there is no way we can remain a superpower without oil.

Patti Kanduch, Philipsburg

Marriage key to better students

There is an old saying, "if you tell a lie long enough people will believe it."

Take the lie that marriage serves no useful purpose, with 50 percent of marriages failing and the trend of just shacking up and the proliferation of single parents.

If you read the June 7 issue of the Missoulian featuring the high school graduates, the importance of marriage on your children's education can't be overstated. Of the 34 graduates pictured, 27 were from married parents (they shared the same last name), five were from divorced parents (their parents had different names) and two were from single parents - which is not to say that divorced parents or single parents are not good parents, but, for whatever reason, people who are married and stay married, their children do better in school.

The conclusion that I draw from this is that marriage is not obsolete. And the best way to raise a child is to be married and stay married but you can draw your own conclusions about these figures.

Mike Dey, Missoula

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