Letters to the Editor

Assisted suicide, Homeland Security, Muslim girls

Make aid in dying an option

Re “Assisted suicide benefits very few, endangers more” (Viewpoints, Feb. 26): The author claims that legalizing aid in dying “could subtly coerce the frail and infirm to end their lives.” Does she really want to use the power of government to force all the terminally ill to continue their lives, even when some don’t want to?

The author suggests assisted suicide and hospice care must be either-or propositions, but they are not. Like Oregon and other states, we can both encourage hospice care and allow the terminally ill to choose physician-assisted suicide. Of course it’s a rare choice, and always will be.

John Abbott, Sacramento

A decision for terminally ill

Laura Petrillo is right that few people have occasion to need medical assistance in dying, both where it’s legal and where it’s not. It is for terminal patients only, like Brittany Maynard, whose cases are desperate. Luckily, the vast majority of deaths don’t fall into that category. Yet those who need this option really need it.

Moreover, making it available is supported by a majority of physicians in a recent poll. As far as the potential dangers she alleges, 17 years of experience in Oregon shows that a well-drafted law, such as Senate Bill 128 in California, offers workable protections against those dangers.

Bill Pieper, Sacramento

Approaching death with dignity

I agree that assisted suicide will benefit few. As mentioned in the article, less than 1 percent in Oregon select assisted suicide to end their lives. I expect the same would be true here. Those few had a choice to die with dignity in Oregon, but we do not have that here.

We do have the choice of when we die. We can end our lives with guns, pills and poisons, but none of these allow us to end our life with dignity. Instead, they leave our loved ones with horrible images of a ghastly death that may last a lifetime. I doubt that people will rush to their physician to get help dying because they are a burden to their caregivers or they are depressed.

Doctor-assisted suicide should be an option, one of many including hospice, that a physician can offer a terminally ill patient. But, in the end, it is the patient’s decision. After all, it is their life.

Robert Rice, Sacramento

Obama sought the fight

Re “Playing games with real lives and national security” (Editorials, Feb. 26): If the president had lived by his word when he said 22 times he had no authority to change the law on immigration, your editorial would be a moot point. After the November election, the president could have given the new Congress three months to craft a fair immigration policy. If nothing happened, then he could have pushed his will. The president wanted this fight to make the Republicans look bad, simple as that.

Doug Hinchey, Lincoln

GOP must act on Obama edict

The president said 22 times that he did not have authority to act unilaterally. Congress has only two recourses to answer his usurpation of the law: control of the budget and appeal to the courts. Last November, the American electorate sent a Republican majority to Congress to stop and reverse President Obama’s unconstitutional actions. It’s past time that they show leadership and respect for the will of the people and the Constitution.

Randy Ault, Sacramento

Worldview lacks objectivity

Re “After killings, a Muslim girl questions her place in America” (Viewpoints, Feb. 25): Alisha Ahmed’s Muslim-centric worldview lacks objectivity. All indications so far point to the accused killer Craig Stephen Hicks being an atheist and not focused on Muslims or any religion.

Ahmed should take comfort in the fact that Hicks will be tried in front of a jury of his peers, not arbitrarily in front of a powerful imam, without checks and balances, under Sharia law. If punishment is required, it will be meted out fairly. As far as “American Sniper” being a film about killing Muslims, others would say it was a story about the toll that war took on a soldier who fought bravely and proudly to keep Americans, including Ahmed, safe.

If Muslims are about living up to President Barack Obama’s lofty words, then I am sure we will be seeing them donating to Wounded Warriors, starting hospitals and conducting million-Muslim marches against the Islamic State.

John Costello, Sacramento

A commitment to tolerance

Alisha Ahmed’s poignant commentary on the hate-crime killings of three Muslim Americans in Chapel Hill, N.C., resonates deeply with me. I agree that the media reaction is biased. The collective memory of these three promising young Americans is not fading away; it is carried in the renewed commitment of millions of Americans to continue working for peace, understanding and tolerance. Sacramento, and America, need more citizens with the deep commitment to peace and equality expressed by Ahmed.

Julia Mullen, Sacramento

Teens and radicalism

Re “Young woman lures teens to Islamic State” (Page A1, Feb. 25): As a mother and clinical psychologist, I was deeply moved by the article that described bright, capable teenage Muslim women leaving their homes to join the Islamic State, seemingly throwing their lives away.

Teenagers see and feel the wrongs in the world deeply and are frequently disillusioned with adults. There is a search for ideals, a search for freedom in thought, feeling and physical expression. Teens have a deep wish to use their talents to make the world a better place, but what happens when the young person is not received by the larger community?

When society does not find a way to test and welcome youth or if a legitimate path does not appear, then youth can be radicalized and anarchy and revolution become attractive.

Ursula Stehle, Fair Oaks


Find them at:



Online form (preferred):


Other: Letters, P.O. Box 15779,

Sacramento, CA 95852

150-word limit. Include name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, brevity and content.