OREGON, TOO, SHOULD HAVE DUII VICTIMS MEMORIAL

July 23, 2001 12:00 am

The problem of drinking and driving just wont go away. And because of this, and to honor victims, a DUII Victims Memorial Wall has been dedicated at McCollum County Park near Everett, Wash. The wall can hold as many as 160 tiles with each square bearing a victims name, date of birth and date of death. Forty-five of the squares now contain names, and park sponsors hope it will be a long time before more names appear. But they dont hold their breath.

The consequences of drinking and driving are well documented. They include shattered lives, people losing driving privileges and serving time in jail, wrecked automobiles, huge fines.

What can be done to reduce the number of drunken driving accidents? How can we bring about more awareness of the problem?

Sure, a victims memorial wall will not take the keys out of the hands of drunken drivers. It will not reduce the poor judgment of the impaired person who steps behind the wheel of a one-ton killing machine.

But we can do things to honor the lives of those who have been victims. We can bring about more awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving by building a similar victims memorial wall somewhere in Oregon. We cannot bring back the victims of these very preventable tragedies. But we can honor their memories in hopes of not adding any more tiles to the wall.

EINHORN: JUSTICE LONG OVERDUE

Ira Einhorn has been a fugitive from justice for more than 20 years since the bludgeoning death of his girlfriend, Holly Maddux. But the convicted murderer may still do the time for his crime. He was returned to U.S. soil Friday after a European court failed to stop his long-fought extradition. He can plan on a long stay at new digs: the Pennsylvania correctional system.

It seems unconscionable that a person can elude justice by running to another country. But thats just what the former anti-war activist and New Age corporate guru did. He lived in England, Ireland and Sweden under pseudonyms before he was arrested in France in 1997. Philadelphia authorities had tried him in absentia, and he was convicted in 1993.

What can be done to keep people like Einhorn from escaping from authorities or delaying justice? More cooperation between the United States and other nations court systems is a good place to start. We need to have due respect for each others laws. But we also need cooperation and support to make sure that fugitives, having been tried and convicted in court, serve time for their crimes.

Einhorn, in his defense, denies killing Maddux and says he was framed by the CIA. Some people believe him. A new trial will shed light on the facts of the case, and if Einhorn is found guilty (again), he will begin serving a long prison term.

The United States needs to work with other countries to craft a system of cooperation and support that will bring speedier justice to fugitives like Einhorn.