Knob Heads Invade Eugene: Trash Food Pantry Delivery Vehicle

Sometimes, I just can’t stand it!  The Register Guard reported this morning on one of the most meaningless, imbecilic acts of vandalism I have ever read about.  Whoever did this was too stupid to even qualify for a hate crime.   They, and I’m assuming it was probably more than one person, broke into a RV owned by Eugene’s Relief Nursery. The Nursery uses the vehicle to distribute food to their clients:

The Relief Nursery helps parents in need with counseling, drug and alcohol recovery, parent education and other services. The food pantry dispensed emergency food and household goods such as laundry detergent and toothpaste. All families served by the pantry are extremely low income and have children age 5 or younger (emphasis added).

The knob heads smashed open the ceiling vent and proceeded to trash the interior, in an  psychotic food fight not even the likes of Animal House (which, BTW, was filmed here in Eugene) could have imagined. They attempted to start a fire to burn up the vehicle, but (fortunately) couldn’t even pull that off.  Then, evidently having vented their spleen, they left.  The idiots didn’t even steal anything.

Does any of this make even the remotest sense as to motive? Neither marauding baboons nor trash-diving bears are known to inhabit Eugene, so it had to be some form of human being.  Not even eco-terrorists would stoop so low as to destroy a RV that delivers food to little kids.  Here’s the picture from the article:

Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard Surveying the ransacked interior of the Relief Nursery’s mobile food pantry, Executive Director Irene Alltucker looks up at the vent hole used by vandals to gain access sometime late Thursday or early Friday.

Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard. Surveying the ransacked interior of the Relief Nursery’s mobile food pantry, Executive Director Irene Alltucker looks up at the vent hole used by vandals to gain access sometime late Thursday or early Friday. Picture Credit: Courtesy the Register Guard

In the spirit of the TV series, Connections, I also noted that the Guard published an article on the same day reporting on the result of a joint research project at Oregon State University and the University of Washington.  Testing untreated wastewater from communities in the state, the report found:

Researchers tested waste­water from 96 different cities for methamphetamine, ecstasy and cocaine in March 2008.

They found that cocaine use was higher in urban areas, while methamphetamine was present in both rural and urban areas. Ecstasy use was found at measurable levels in less than half of the communities that were tested, the majority of them in urban areas.

The Eugene-Springfield area was labeled a “high” use area among the communities that participated in the study, meaning it fell into the top third overall when it came to all three drugs.

Although I’m well aware that I’m making an assumption of correlation, I would bet that the perps had at least one of those substances running through their blood streams and wringing all reason out of their brains (probably with a blood alcohol content well beyond the legal .08% level added to the mind-altering cocktail).

One can only hope the knob headed vandals left finger prints all over the interior of the RV, and with a good chance of having priors, they can be apprehended.

In the mean time, I’m making a contribution to the Relief Nursery to help replace the food they lost.

Universal Health Care: An Asinine Idea?

In today’s Sunday Edition of the Register Guard “Letters to the Editor,” Mr. Oral Robbins of Eugene, Oregon writes,

It is amusing to read some of the stuff that these ideological, philosophical people write — at least it is to this stupid old codger, who has lived through most of what they write about.

Fair enough.  Mr. Robbins, who states he is 77 years old, has seen a lot of history and has a lifetime of experiences from which he can reflect on.  He goes on to say “…we approve a project of public need that a private enterprise cannot supply, then by consent of the electorate we supply the funds needed.”  Okay, so he’s not quite the “stupid old codger” he claims.  Give him a point for literary irony.

His next statement, however, is chilling:

The idea of universal health care is one of the most asinine ideas being promoted by those in political power today, that and the bailing out of those individuals who borrowed money to purchase items they never had any intention of ever paying for.

As a hospital chaplain, I wish it were possible for all the Mr. Robbins in the country to spend one day with me and meet his neighbors who do not have health insurance, to hear their stories of how that  lack has in countless ways created barriers or has denied them their right to live as healthy, productive, hard-working, taxpaying Americans. It’s not amusing.

Mr. Robbins makes no differentiation between the Economic Stimulus programs and the need for universal health care.  In his mind it is all “tax and spend.”  I deliberately reversed the order in which he stated his objection.  His equation of the two “ideas” is a huge problem, not only because millions of Americans believe exactly the same way, but because as an issue of human, and dare we say constitutional rights, I assert the two are distinct.

Mr. Robbins, through the tunnel vision of his own ideological philosophy, fails to realize that he contradicts himself with regard to universal health care.  The fact is, private enterprise cannot and has never been able to supply the public need for medical insurance.  And he is probably a perfect example.  I am certain that, being retired and at age seventy-seven years, he is on Medicare, America’s universal health care plan for seniors and the disabled.  Without it, he and his wife would not be able to afford private health insurance.  To deny him and his wife that care would be truly asinine.

The benefit of universal health care in the modern era would have produced a very different America: Trillions of dollars in medical debts would have been avoided.  Trillions of dollars in uncompensated care by hospitals would have been avoided.  Trillions of dollars in unnecessary and wasteful medical expenses created by the broken health care system would have been avoided.  Trillions of dollars of lost productivity to private enterprise companies would have been avoided.  Trillions of dollars of wages would have been created and sustained.  Trillions of dollars for appropriate public state and federal projects would have been paid through the taxes of a healthy America.

I wish it were possible for Mr. Robbins to spend just one day with me talking to his neighbors who have no health insurance.