Letters: Elifritz shooting tragic, but necessary
The June 5 article about the shooting of John Elifritz was disturbing in that a supposed mental health professional (Jason Renaud) called it a murder. It makes me question his judgment as a professional or whether his advice to his patients is equally lacking in reality-based evidence.
In the same article, Renaud stated he didn't know what else the officers could have done differently. According to witnesses and the video evidence, Elifritz was charging with a knife.
The police are there to protect and have to react to the immediate danger. Are they supposed to wait until they, or innocent victims, get stabbed and only then shoot?
Renaud also stated that the police officers should have acted "more slowly." Next time a guy with a knife endangers you or your family, would Renaud give that same advice in the moment?
I think not. Many of us who have been in the immediate vicinity of folks with weapons who are acting irrationally know just how fast the innocent (or police) can get injured or killed.
As for former (thankfully so) mayoral candidate, Sarah Iannarone, who also makes baseless accusations all the time about the Portland police: Admit that you don't have the faintest idea about how to handle the thousands of dangerous situations that confront our law officers each and every year.
Everyone, even your most fervent supporters, call the police when there is a risk of injury, or a crime of any kind.
Elifritz's life was precious, and his death was tragic, but he had some responsibility in how he lived his life and in what caused his death.
The confirmation bias of Renaud and Iannarone reminds me of the right-wing folks who point out the dangers of immigration every time an undocumented immigrant commits a crime — even though statistically, undocumented people, percentage-wise, cause far fewer crimes than American citizens.
And likewise, Portland police handle countless situations professionally and de-escalate many others. But when you, like Renaud and Iannarone, already have decided they are guilty, you have confirmed your bias, nothing more. Prejudice can take many forms.
'Exempt' doesn't mean unvaccinated
Recently, there have been multiple newspaper articles sounding the alarm that Oregon's vaccine exemption rate for kindergarten students has sharply risen.
Is this true, or is there more to the data than people understand?
The truth is that 22 vaccines are required for school. Someone receiving 21 of 22 shots, is still captured by the Oregon Health Authority as "exempt." "Exempt" quickly morphs to "unvaccinated" in the media and the public's mind.
According to the OHA Immunization Program, for 2018, the percentage of K-12 students with a nonmedical exemption to all 22 required vaccines is only 2.6 percent. But that is not the number that is reported anywhere. Many legislators misstate that Oregon's unvaccinated rate is 7.5 percent.
This is simply untrue. In a 2018 memo to the governor, OHA stated, "The vast majority of Oregon parents choose to fully immunize their children."
According to the memo, the uptake for every school vaccine is well over 90 percent.
Why did OHA then issue a news release with the foreboding title of sharply increasing exemption rates, picked up by newspapers statewide? Is it to pave the way for an attempt in 2019 to remove Oregonians' medical freedom, under the guise of an emergency?