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The Readers' Forum: Tuesday letters
The Readers’ Forum

The Readers' Forum: Tuesday letters

  • 37

Give it back

In response to Byron Williams’ March 28 column “D.C. statehood is a moral imperative,” here’s a solution he failed to mention: Give the land back to Maryland. Instant representation!

The District of Columbia was originally a square until the Virginia side of the district was given back in 1847.

Keep the U.S. government buildings in designated federal areas. Even though Maryland may not want the land back, the extra population could give it an extra U.S. representative.

This sounds easier than changing the Constitution and it has been done before. I mean, unless you really do want two more Democratic senators.

Robert Kendall


Don’t blame Democrats

The writer of the March 27 letter “Two votes away” might have done a bit of research before pointing a finger at the Democratic Party for the recent hike in gas prices.

According to an analyst with, “Every year around this time gas prices go up,” because refineries switch over to summer blend gas. Refineries go through a maintenance cycle during the switch so gas production is lower.

Also, an explosion at the Exxon Mobil refinery in California made things even worse.

Then there was extreme cold in the Northeast that slowed production at three refineries that account for more than two-thirds of East Coast oil output.

And by the way, gas prices are still about a dollar cheaper nationwide than they were this time last year. Guess I don’t need to remind the writer who was in charge in the White House and the Senate then.

Dan Hefner


Doing our part

I worried about COVID-19 vaccine safety when testing began.

As COVID-19 deaths multiplied, my thoughts turned to past experience with another harmful virus, polio. My husband, Fred, contracted polio as a child a year before the Salk vaccine became available. After months of treatment in Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Fred returned home as a wheelchair-bound quadriplegic. With help of family and friends, he graduated from high school and college, and we married. Certain that polio was behind us, we cheerfully noted Fred’s mobility improvements over the years. Until we didn’t.

In the late 1970s, Fred began experiencing muscle pain, fatigue and breathing difficulties. We had no idea why. His death, in the mid-1980s, was due to post-polio syndrome, which was identified about 30 years after Fred was first diagnosed with polio. We had not foreseen the secret killer in the virus that would bring death to a 42-year-old man.

Today I am more concerned about the ultimate effects of COVID-19 than for potential reactions to the vaccine. I will trust the hope that the COVID-19 vaccine offers, as I relied on the polio vaccine and flu vaccines that protected me for years.

I am also concerned that we all do our part to prevent infecting others, regardless of how harmless cases may seem. If we truly care about our families, friends, neighbors and communities, we need to embrace the opportunity to protect them by getting vaccinated ourselves. Ignoring this opportunity may bring unexpected and unwelcome results.

Debora Horning


Birx’s witness

On a CNN documentary over the weekend, Dr. Deborah Birx, former President Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, said the White House could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives if it had coordinated better during the onset of the pandemic.

Yeah, we knew that. And at the time, we could see it on her face. We could see her balk as Trump touted the possibility of injecting disinfectant into people to kill the virus — a possibility that launched a thousand parodies and legitimate fears that his “poorly educated” followers might actually do as he said.

A lot of critics are angry at her now for not speaking up then.

I’m not trying to let her off the hook, but I don’t know if speaking up would have changed anything. She would have “gone through some things,” in Trump’s parlance, and been replaced by someone even worse.

But none of that forgives Trump for costing hundreds of thousands of American lives by trying to play action-movie hero rather than telling the American people the truth about the virus.

He belongs in prison.

George Nilsson


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