Letters to the Editor - April 26, 2013
Any weapon can be misused
In Robert Mason’s letter (Readers’ Forum, April 19), he states: “Gun control proponents believe that military-style assault weapons and large capacity clips should be classified as ‘dangerous and unusual weapons.’ They are dangerous because they have the capacity of killing a large number of people quickly, and they are unusual outside the context of a battlefield.”
Any weapon has the potential of being misused.
Millions of firearms would fall under his criteria of having “the capability of killing a large number of people quickly.”
That includes any firearm with a detachable magazine, such as the Remington Model 742 my father bought for hunting in 1963.
There are many others, like semi-auto and pump-action shotguns, with extended magazine tubes. (Speed loaders are available for those, too.)
The first auto-loading rifle with a high capacity, detachable magazine came out more than 120 years ago.
The types of firearms that gun control proponents want banned, such as the AR types, Bushmaster, etc. actually would be unusual inside the context of a battlefield. Battlefield firearms are select-fire or fully automatic.
I believe that some gun control proponents are confused by firearms truly used by the military and those used by civilians.
One offshoot of the threats of bans on magazines and semi-auto rifles is that there are millions more firearms and magazines out there now than there would have been otherwise. One firearms vendor was selling more than 100 AR15s an hour, and a vendor of aftermarket accessories sold more magazines in three days than he had in three years.
Also, remember that manufacturers are pumping out receivers (the part that is serial-numbered) and magazines 24/7, because if a ban did happen, those existing receivers and magazines would be “grandfathered” in.
Food for thought.
Take delight in a child’s soul
I don’t know any more about the two brothers in Boston than anyone else. What I do know is that I feel tremendous sadness for their parents. Imagine having two of your sons commit such a hideous act and create so much fear.
As a parent, I know that our hearts are always with our children. Who poisoned these young men’s minds?
How can we protect our children from those who would prey on their vulnerabilities? Whenever I see any adult, I try to see them through a mother’s eyes or envision them as they may have been as a small child. It helps me be more compassionate with others.
This does not mean I would ever condone any such actions, but I do recognize the soul within the monster. It is because the perpetrators no longer see those around them as souls that they are able to execute these hideous acts. If we stop seeing the souls of others, we put ourselves at risk of losing our connection with life.
If there are children in your life, take them seriously, delight in their souls, especially if they are not your children.
Small acts of fun, kindness and sincerity from non-parent adults make a big difference to children. If they are seen, they will learn to see others. Of course, do this with adults, too. Your life will be richer and so will the world. Remember the butterfly effect.
Flouting the Sixth Amendment
While politicians and public alike proclaim their passionate commitment to the Second Amendment, few Americans seem to show much concern, or even awareness, of the Sixth, of which our detention camp at Guantanamo Bay is a blatant violation. The Sixth Amendment guarantees “a speedy and public trial.” And note that this right is promised not just to citizens but to “the accused.”
The flouting of the Sixth Amendment is illustrated by the case of a Guantanamo detainee assigned to the Portland Group of Amnesty International: Saifullah Paracha is a 65-year-old Pakistani businessman abducted at the airport on a business trip to Thailand in 2003 and sent to Guantanamo the following year. He has now been held in U.S. custody for 10 years without charge or trial.
U.S. authorities say he collaborated with al-Qaida. He denies it. If there is sufficient evidence against Mr. Paracha, he should be brought to trial. Although it can no longer be speedy, it should at least be fair, which precludes the increasingly discredited military commission hearings held on the base. If there is no such evidence, justice requires that he be released.
Indefinite detention at Guantanamo seems to me a far more significant breach of the Bill of Rights than a requirement for gun owners to face background checks or a limitation on the size of rifle magazines.
It’s littering to me
Once again, I have found a phone book in a plastic bag on my porch. Who gave these people permission to leave trash on my porch?
If you look around, you will find phone books in plastic bags rotting on the ground and in unused newspaper boxes all over the countryside. It looks like littering to me. With at least 33,000 households in Yamhill County, more than one pound per phone book adds up to a lot of litter.
Supports Carter for schools
McMinnville School District has proven itself to be a progressive, creative and resourceful asset to our community. After many successful years, Kathy Cabe has chosen to retire from the school board.
I am lending my support to Barbara Carter to fill her position.
She has proven herself to be a strong advocate for students. She currently serves on the District 40 Budget Committee. She helped organize the past two successful building construction bond campaigns as well as volunteering for them. She has advocated for our schools on local television.
She served on the Patton Leadership Team and has served on committees to interview administrative candidates. She has acquired the skills to provide strong leadership for our schools.
She spent the past 19 years working in McMinnville schools on behalf of kids. She is dedicated to supporting and doing what’s best for our students.
Whether it is volunteering her time to help students succeed in math and reading, or buying clothing and supplies for students in need, Barbara has shown that she is willing to do whatever it takes to help our children be successful.
Please join me in electing Barbara to serve on the McMinnville School Board.
A fresh perspective in Amity
Amity School District patrons have a unique opportunity this school board election cycle. In the past, dedicated citizens have stepped up to serve our schools, students and educators and have done a fine job.
But this time, we have the opportunity to elect a citizen who has worked in our public school system for more than 20 years.
Trish Stephens’ experience working with students and staff can bring an inside view, perspective and knowledge that can be shared only with someone who is totally immersed in and familiar with the educational process delivered to our children on a daily basis.
She is a respected member of our staff, and her dedication to the students she works with shows. She has availed herself of enhancing educational opportunities to keep her proficiency in instructional strategies current.
She is observant and pro-active in school culture and has brought training to our staff so that the safest environments may be established on campus.
She will spend dedicated time to study issues that affect school policies and present informed, balanced and articulate presentations when needed and necessary. She is an advocate. Speaking up and out is not an easy thing to do, yet Trish doesn’t shrink from presenting alternatives or various points of view.
Having worked alongside her for the past 20 years, both as a parent and colleague, I feel confident in the knowledge and experience she will bring to the Amity School District as an active member of its school board.
I’m making my choice for Trish. I feel she can give our schools a fresh perspective and one that will work for everyone.
Act decisively on PERS
The legislature started this session with one overriding necessity: fix PERS. The Public Employees Retirement System is cannibalizing the state budget. Gov. Kitzhaber, as well as editorial boards such as The Oregonian and the News-Register, have clearly defined the dire consequences of inaction.
The Democratic leadership of the House and Senate have cobbled together a wholly inadequate bill in the form of SB 822. It kicks much of the cost down the road and does far too little to stem the hemorrhage of state funds into a system that is paying out far more than intended. It is a pusillanimous and weak-kneed attempt to fix a tourniquet-level emergency with a Band-Aid.
As a school board member, I have seen many fine young teachers lose their jobs because of strangulating budgets, even as the cost of PERS soars ever upward. And younger teachers still employed will never see the generous returns that Tier 1 retirees enjoy. There is a generational inequity in the system that defies fairness.
The Democrats control the Legislature. They should act boldly and decisively, following the leadership of the governor. If they do not, the shambles left behind will belong to them exclusively.