A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.

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Dog mauling

Pit bulls programmed to fight

Editor, The Times:

In light of the recent stories about deadly pit-bull attacks, I was astounded to read Brenda F. Barnette’s article in their defense [“Rushing to ban pit bulls is the wrong response,” Times, guest commentary, Sept. 18]. As an officer of the Seattle Humane Society, she certainly is aware of the history of these dogs.

They attack because it’s what they have been bred for centuries to do. Pit bulls are fighting dogs, pure and simple. It doesn’t take more than a simple understanding of their very name to know what they were created to do. Owners and breeders who continue to defend a dog that is following its genetic coding by attacking when that coding kicks in are simply ridiculous.

The dogs naturally prey on the weakest: the elderly and, just a few days ago, killing a 4-month-old baby in Las Vegas! Pit bulls are inherently dangerous through no fault of their own, but tell me, what redeeming value can you place on an unpredictable animal with such a history?

Nurturing be damned. You can’t “gentle” them into something they are not. They are what they are and absolutely cannot be otherwise.

— Mechele Sarieddine, Bellevue

Adopt out other, safer dogs instead

I read with dismay Brenda F. Barnette’s guest commentary supporting the ownership of pit bulls. Her argument, that pit bulls are not all mean, is like saying drunken drivers don’t all kill people.

The state of Washington should ban all pit bulls. They are a vicious breed of animal that kills and maims many innocent people. These dogs are often docile, but then snap into a rage without warning or provocation. They sense a sign of weakness and often attack those in society — kids and elderly — who cannot protect themselves.

Society has a duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Children stand at similar height as the dogs, and pit bulls often attack their faces, causing physical and emotional scars that will last a lifetime.

The care and rescue of animals is a noble cause, but Barnette’s Humane Society spends too much time, effort and money adopting pit bulls out into the community. With so many stray dogs, it’s impossible for them all to be adopted — they should focus on the other breeds of dogs that are safe instead of unleashing vicious animals on the community.

— Jim Oatey, Orondo

Presidential election

Palin on wrong side of issues

Thanks, letter writer Mark L. Bowers, for jolting me out of my complacency [“Be afraid, liberals,” Northwest Voices, Sept. 17]. I had actually forgotten that there are still some people who consider “feminist” a dirty word.

Gov. Sarah Palin is the “feminist antithesis,” but not because of her “lipstick and high heels.” It’s because, on every issue important to women and families, she and her party are on the wrong side.

Now here’s a little jolt of reality for you, Bowers: Feminists are everywhere. I guess you just couldn’t see through our clever disguise — lipstick and high heels.

— Kathy Wright, Seattle

Offshore drilling

Focus on renewable energy, efficiency

The Wednesday headline “Dems’ bill to drill” [page one, Sept. 17] highlights the House energy legislation that would open up limited remote areas to offshore oil drilling, while critics of the bill say it does not allow enough.

This is not the real issue. The public needs to recognize that unrestricted offshore drilling is simply not a viable long-term energy strategy and will never ease near-term prices at the pump. The entire estimated 18-billion-barrel offshore supply amounts to what the United States now consumes in about 2.5 years. At least a decade is required to bring any additional offshore-oil fields into production.

The real bold steps of this legislation are its requirements and tax incentives for alternative renewable energy and its emphasis on energy efficiency.

Wednesday’s Times also carried a story of an analysis by the American Physical Society [“Energy-efficiency need called urgent,” News, Sept. 17], outlining sensible steps to reduce energy consumption significantly and cost-effectively in transportation, buildings and other areas.

Transforming the automobile fleet to hybrids can reduce gasoline consumption by 60 percent. By adopting sensible energy-efficiency policies now, the report explains how we can cut our dependence on foreign oil, strengthen our economy and reduce global warming.

Our future depends on intelligently using less energy, not blindly drilling for more.

— Gary S.E. Lagerloef, Bainbridge Island

Environmental excuse dead

We hear so much about “Big Oil” and “Big Business.” What about “Big Environmentalism”?

Were these groups consolidated, this $4 billion-a-year industry would have rivaled Lehman Brothers for No. 47 in profits on the 2007 Fortune 500 list, above 3M and Dow Chemical Co. Through legal harassment and lobbying, they are using these resources to obstruct all true advancement in world energy supplies.

What a scam the “Gang of 10” compromise drilling bill is! Telling oil extractors they must stay 50+ miles offshore is like telling the nerd to climb the fence out of the baseball park and wait for fly balls.

The environmental excuse for no drilling is dead. Drilling has been shown, by the government’s own Minerals Management Service, to release pressure that causes nature to seep thousands of barrels of oil per year. Net seepage of controlled drilling releases only 1 percent as many barrels as nature left alone. Nature’s system is dirty and wasteful.

So, real environmentalists should be screaming for more drilling!

— Kay Buccola, Woodinville

Ramsey has it right

I was very impressed by Bruce Ramsey’s reasoned argument in support of drilling for oil [“Drilling for oil buys time to develop the fuels of the future,” editorial column, Sept. 17]. It is this kind of intelligent, realistic discussion that I am not hearing from the Obama campaign.

Sen. Barack Obama often complains about the perceived “fear mongering” of the right in regards to terrorism, yet I often hear the same foreboding diction used by his campaign in regards to our “addiction to foreign oil.”

It is time that we stopped assuaging our national guilt by demanding the nebulous goal of instant energy independence. Such a drastic, dramatic shift will take years of hard work; it is not something that will happen overnight.

While this transformation is occurring, while we are developing new technologies, we need to find a way of obtaining oil that does not leave us reliant on countries that do not particularly like us. Drilling is just that option, and it, as Ramsey points out, buys us much needed time.

— Paul Adolphsen, Seattle