Readers Write: Saudi Arabia isn't model for reform; Flawed logic on texting and driving

Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of June 25, 2012: Saudi Arabia's oppression of women, foreign workers, and the Shiite minority is shocking; Don't jump to faulty conclusions to explain an uptick in traffic accidents after a ban on texting while driving.

Saudi Arabia isn't a model for reform

The June 4 Focus article "Reformers in the land of Mecca" notes progress in the fight for democratic reforms and the battle to improve human rights in Saudi Arabia. But the article fails to fully convey the level of oppression many in Saudi Arabia – especially women and religious minorities – continue to face daily.

We must not forget: The degree of repression against women, foreign workers, and the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia is shocking by American standards. (Yet the word "Shiite" does not even appear in the article!)

In my view, not fully acknowledging these problems amounts to disinformation or lying by omission.

Don Bedell

Makanda, Ill.

Faulty logic, unfair characterizations

The headline for Jim Sollisch's June 4 commentary ("Why would anyone oppose a ban on texting?") is thought provoking. But in my opinion, his attempts at cleverness fall flat.

I don't buy into his characterization or humor when he calls those opposing a ban on texting while driving "The Slippery Slope Party," claiming they argue that such a government restriction on personal liberty is the first step leading to a "totalitarian state."

Similarly, his logic strikes me as faulty when he offers an explanation for the uptick in traffic accidents after texting bans had been enacted in certain states.

Mr. Sollisch claims that making texting illegal won't prevent people from doing it; they'll simply put cellphones in their laps, leading to increased accidents. Such an interpretation of statistics is weak (for one, a small sample size frequently leads to false results/conclusions).

Peter Bowman

Kittery, Maine

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