Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

Don't let yourself be a victim

To the editor:

Sexual crimes against children are a serious matter. I am even more concerned because I think part of being a dad is protecting kids, although unfortunately not all fathers feel the same way.

The age of the victim of sex crimes and the age difference between the victim and the victimizer are major factors in determining the penalty for sexual offenses. A 3-year difference in age is often, although not always, a defense. A 15-year-old with an 18-year-old, or a 17-year-old with a 20-year-old, falls into the slightly grey area where "young love" MIGHT be taken into consideration by the law and/or by the parents. A 30-year age difference is something else and falls into the category of "just plain creepy." Being old enough to be the father of the victim seems very sick and wrong. Having children of the same age would make it seem even more disturbing.

The age of the victim is an important element of the crime. Sexual crimes against children 16 and under are typically felonies while the same offense against someone who has reached the ripe old age of 17 is usually a misdemeanor, although there are always some other factors that can come into play such as mental ability, use of either physical or emotional force and coercion through the use of drugs or alcohol.

While the line between age 16 and age 17 is small, in the eyes of the law it is the end of being a child and becoming a young adult, although a protective dad has a slightly different view of things. Protecting our children has no age limit.

If you are being sexually or emotionally abused or someone if someone is trying to get you to do something inappropriate or that you even think doesn't sound right, talk to your parents, the police, your minister or a school or church counselor. Refuse to be a victim.

Jim Thomas

Baker City

Too little, too late on wolves

To the editor:

The $15,000 provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the entire state of Oregon for "wolf protection work" is indicative of the perspective of both federal and state governments. Their perspective is one of "protect" wolves first and protect the interests of livestock producers as an inadequate afterthought. Lacking a comprehensive state plan Oregon cannot use any of these meager funds to compensate producers for livestock losses resulting from wolf attacks. Private reimbursement funds such as paid to Curt Jacobs last year have all but dried up. The money allocated to Oregon can only be used to purchase devices of questionable effectiveness designed to prevent livestock depravation from occurring.

The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone some years ago has resulted in wolf populations far greater than the target numbers of the reintroduction program. Wolf saturation in one area has led to wolves migrating to multiple states outside the original project area in search of habitat. Without the ability to control this spread it is only a matter of time before livestock depravation becomes an even more serious problem in Oregon than it is already. It is only a matter of time before a pack kills a human being as occurred in Alaska last month. The state's response to an obviously growing problem is no answer at all. The feds answer is a measly $15,000. Brilliant.

Jerry Boyd

Baker City