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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Editorials

In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Heroic flight crew; blood needed

The Columbian
Published: October 30, 2023, 6:03am

Cheers: To flight crews. The story of an off-duty airline pilot who tried to shut down a plane’s engines during a flight has received national attention because it is terrifying. He has been charged with 83 counts of attempted murder. But the actions of the pilots and flight crew on board are worthy of cheers.

According to a criminal complaint, the cockpit crew wrestled with Joseph David Emerson as he tried to pull a lever that would cut off fuel to the engines. The suspect was subdued, placed in wrist restraints and taken to the back of the plane, accompanied by a flight attendant. Emerson reportedly then attempted to open an exit as the plane came in for an emergency landing in Portland, but was stopped by the attendant. Airline crew members face many challenges in their jobs, and we are thankful for their ability to handle even the most unexpected ones.

Jeers: To a lack of blood. The state Department of Health reports that blood banks across Washington are facing a critical shortage, particularly of platelets and types O and Rh negative blood. Donations have declined since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and supplies have become particularly thin lately.

For trauma patients, transplant recipients and cancer patients, an adequate supply of blood is essential. It also is crucial during a mass emergency or natural disaster. Health officials are requesting donations from those who are able to contribute. Information can be found at vitalant.org, crbs.net, bloodworksnw.org and redcross.org/local/washington.

Cheers: To jobs. The latest report shows that Clark County job growth continues to outpace the averages in the state of Washington and the Portland and Seattle metro areas. Since February 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, the county has added 17,200 net jobs — an increase of 10.1 percent.

Nearly every sector has shown a local employment increase, reflecting the development of a broad-based economy. According to analysts, the county’s unemployment rate has declined from 4.4 percent in September 2022 to 3.6 this year — the lowest rate for a September since 1997. Cheers go to workers and employers who combine to create a thriving community.

Jeers: To natty criminals. Unfortunately for two robbers in Spokane, you don’t receive time off for stylishness or creativity. The pair broke into an auto dealer in the middle of the night, with one wearing a full-length fur coat and the other wearing a straw cowboy hat. That covers the style, we suppose. As for the creativity? They rappelled into the dealership from a hole in the ceiling.

The thieves then brought in some friends and made off with eight vehicles, but the joy ride was short-lived; police made two arrests the following day. According to the sales manager at the dealership, one of the suspects was wearing the same outfit that was shown on surveillance video.

Cheers: To representative democracy. Consider this a friendly reminder to registered voters — fill out and return your ballots for the Nov. 7 general election. Votes for school boards and city councils do not receive the widespread attention of presidential or congressional elections, but they impact our daily lives.

Ballots were mailed Oct. 20; if you are a registered voter and have not received one, contact Clark County Elections at www.VoteWA.gov or 564-397-2345. Ballots must be dropped off or postmarked by Election Day. During the 2021 general election, 35 percent of Clark County voters turned in ballots; increasing that number will help strengthen our democracy.