It’s Much More Than A “Yes” Or “No”

Working my way through the letters-to-the-editor of the Star-Advertiser one morning, I came across the best approach to the abortion stalemate I’ve yet seen thrown out for public discussion.

And maybe my reaction is because it matches my own approach.

The letter was from John Heidel of Kailua, a retired Punahou School chaplain and president of Interfaith Alliance Hawaii.

He writes: “Those of us who have advocated for pro-choice need to accept the reality that indiscriminate abortions are wrong. Those of us who have advocated for pro-life need to be less rigid and controlling.

“I’ve become both pro-life and pro-choice when considering this issue.”

Right on, John!

John Heidel

It’s much more than a simple “yes, abortions” or “no abortions allowed.”

It’s so much more than only a legal argument. It’s a moral dilemma.

Look at it this way: A person employed by a prison in a death sentence state may be legally permitted to pull the switch or inject the drug that carries out the death sentence. But his moral sense might interfere. He might not be comfortable putting someone to death.

I don’t think many of us who are pro-choice view abortion as “good.” We recognize religious misgivings and personal reservations. That’s why we call ourselves pro-choice rather than pro-abortion. It’s a call by the involved woman, not by the rest of us.

Similarly, opponents prefer pro-life to anti-abortion. It’s not the process they are against. It’s the loss of a budding life form, albeit not yet existing on its own.

But those have been the people we’ve all seen taking some very nasty protests to the streets and at abortion clinics.

The arguments should be made dispassionately before lawmakers and judges. No shouting. No shootings. No disparaging of pregnant women seeking abortion advice.

There currently are wins and losses in various courts on various moves by both sides, but mainly efforts by the pro-life side to restrict an act that the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled to be legal. (Hawaii okayed abortion three years earlier.)

It’s probably coming back for another look by the new court.

We need to restrain ourselves and accept the outcomes. To do otherwise is to hold our highest court in public contempt as in some South American and Asian countries.

And as the Rev. Heidel said: “While viewing all life as sacred, there is also a need to consider the quality of life.”

Excellent summation.

Don’t Hide Military Infections From Us

Our military leadership says it will not disclose particulars of how many people are COVID-19 positive in which units and on which ships or at what bases.

Why? The public answer is that it might give our (potential) enemies information about our readiness. The non-public reasoning has been that it does not want China or Russia to know how much damage it could do if they intentionally released a biological agent in advance of an attack on us.

Frankly, I find both of those positions to be ridiculous.

Whether the carrier Franklin Roosevelt has maybe 500 virus cases out of a crew of 5,000 is not a signal of incapacitation. It can sail, supply and do recon without its large contingent of yeoman and women in non-critical jobs.

As for that biological agent issue, it would take a totally callous nation with Hitlerian leadership and no regard for worldwide respect to unleash biological warfare. It’s really unthinkable.

Might North Korea start trouble with the South or China with Taiwan if it appeared we were tied up fighting a medical issue within our armed forces? Possible but highly improbable because of the number of reserve people and equipment America has. And that matter of worldwide approbation remains.

I’m not overly concerned about RIMPAC so long as the all-nation crew members are kept aboard their ships or in quarantined quarters on Pearl Harbor Naval Base. No Waikiki “liberty” — although that would not be a very exciting night out now that all bars and restaurants are closed.

There certainly are exceptions to my tell-the-public argument.

Let’s say the Air Force (or Space Command) finds a bug in our missile interceptors which requires them all to be recalled for fixes. Should we broadcast that? No. That would be foolish and threaten our immediate defense.

But the House and Senate intelligence committees should be notified so somebody starts looking into who screwed up.

The virus invasion of our troops is something with the ability to affect us all as home bases for ground troops and ports for sea-going troops.

Knowing is important.

Deep In The Heart Of …

I wanted to quickly share with you how the GOP governor of Texas feels about the need for social distancing.

This was his news conference today, announcing that much of the Lone Star State would be reopening for business.

The New ‘Bug’ In The Airplanes

You have to wonder why the commercial airliners keep flying in the time of the novel coronavirus. Especially now that 600+ crew members have been identified with COVID-19 and another 1,200 have been quarantined in North America alone.

Sure, lots of people want to fly but nobody really has to fly.

I suspect there are a couple of reasons. Pilots and flight attendants may be worried about their health, but most do not want to lose that regular paycheck. Then there’s the federal Department of Transportation, which will be directing loan help to the airlines but only if they keep flying and keep people on the payroll.

There have been some safety innovations. No more pre-flight stand-up briefings. Crews have started wearing masks and gloves. And food and beverage service has been halted.

But there’s another issue. Some passengers are going to be asymptomatic. So it’s like a person who tests positive for HIV but has no symptoms of AIDS. With HIV, you only pass it on through sexual contact. COVID-19 is by any contact. And if someone coughs or sneezes on an airplane, the vapor droplets are going to circulate long and distant in that environment.

If the airlines were going to fly and some customers were going to fly with them, then the crews should have been outfitted with full personal protection suits, not a mask and gloves.

The pilots’ union finally is stepping up on the issue because of concerns that cleaning crews might not be doing sufficient sterilization. Some pilots are doing their own wipe downs.

Flight attendants, particularly, are at risk every day of close contact with an asymptomatic traveler.

It seems to this traveler that the better decision would have been to shut down passenger flights while allowing the airlines to temporarily convert some planes for cargo hauling.

Every time I hear the jet engines of a commercial plane climbing on takeoff or starting a landing glide forward of my Diamond Head house, I wonder why?

Who needed a flight that bad?

And why hasn’t our state made it incredibly more difficult for others to come in here, voluntarily say where they’ll be staying, voluntarily say they’ll quarantine themselves, and then laugh at our credulity and be off to beaches on Kauai, Lanai and Maui?

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