Letters to the Editor Feb. 8, 2013
Chinese children survived
In his Viewpoints opinion opposing more gun regulation, guest writer Henry Evers mentions that 22 Chinese elementary school students were wounded in a knife attack the same day as the Sandy Hook shootings.
What he fails to add is that all 22 of the Chinese children survived, while all 20 of the American children died. Maybe that tells us something?
Get firearms facts straight
As soon as I read the first sentence in Robert Mason’s “Yes” opinion (Viewpoints, Feb. 1, “Does the United States need more gun regulation?”), I bet myself there were going to be more factual errors than just his comment “I purchased a Remington Savage ... .”
I was right.
There is no such thing as a Remington Savage firearm. It would be like saying “I drive a Ford Chevrolet.”
As to his statement: “Where is the sport in bringing down a buck with a burst of 12 or more bullets?” the writer would do well to read the Big Game Regulations here in Oregon. Full auto rifles are prohibited, and semi-auto rifles can be used only with a magazine holding five or fewer cartridges for hunting deer or other big game.
Also, his so-called “assault” weapons are not the same as what the military uses. Those are select-fire weapons that can fire full auto, with some having three-round burst capability.
The writer might also be surprised that, in the state of Oregon, a private citizen can own fully-auto weapons and even silencers/suppressors as long as the proper background checks are done and the tax stamp paid.
Let’s get our facts straight.
Use license card for firearms
My recent letter gave the impression that I endorse universal background checks for each and every sale of firearms. I do not.
My intent was to suggest that a license card might be issued to individuals after they undergo a complete background check. Those individuals would then be able to present this card to either a dealer or individual in order to purchase a firearm. This would eliminate the need for an on-the-spot background check each time a firearm is purchased.
In Oregon, every firearm sale at either a gun show or dealership requires a complete on-the-spot background check, and the firearm type and serial numbers are recorded and registered. Sales between family or friends do not require a background check, but pressure is building for that to happen. A firearm sale between family or friends is what now is referred to as the “gun show loophole.”
My contention is that so long as a firearm sale is legal, the government has no need to know what type or how many firearms an individual purchases.
In addition, maintaining a database of this information is a waste of bureaucratic time, money and energy. I believe that by being able to show an issued license card, the need for a background check each time a firearm is purchased could be eliminated.
People deserve right to arms
I suspect that Jeb Bladine is playing a clever “Socratic” game with readers (WhatchamaColumn, Jan. 25, “Gun control vexes still-young America”). If not, I have never, ever seen such an example of being so close to an answer — literally standing on top of it — and still not seeing it.
He first notes favorably that an undisclosed writer quotes the Declaration of Independence: “all men ... are endowed ... with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Mr. Bladine then muses whether these inalienable rights would include the ownership of “semi-automatic military weapons.” He then hints that there is more to this hypothetical question than meets the eye, following up with yet another quote from the Declaration of Independence, “it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it (the form of government), and to institute new Government, … .”
How could the people possibly manage to do such a thing if they are totally disarmed by an oppressive government?
Clearly, this is the raison d’etre for the Declaration in the first place. Our founders had just recently abolished a form of government that had become destructive to life and liberty and instituted a new one. Are we any less deserving of this right than our founders?
Clearly, the Oregon county sheriffs who have pledged to disregard these laws understand the fundamental principles involved. It is equally clear that some law enforcement agencies either do not or simply choose to ignore them.
It has been stated by a number of gun control advocates that the Second Amendment was written at the time when the people had only single-shot muskets. They should be reminded that this is all the government soldiers had as well.
When only the police have guns, it is called a police state.
Plan for 9.0 earthquake
It is with great interest that I read the editorial in the Feb. 1 News-Register, “FEMA exercise will spotlight importance of disaster plans.”
We, too, hope the training is a waste of money. None of us want to experience an earthquake of the magnitude that Japan experienced 23 months ago. But, DOGAMI and the USGS both feel certain that this part of Oregon will experience (maybe next week, maybe in 200 years) an enormous Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake of magnitude 9.0.
Last year, the PBS “NewsHour” presented a feature about the danger of soils liquefying (turning to quicksand) in the event of a major CSZ earthquake. The expert, chair of the OSU geology department, commented that soil most likely to liquefy is along rivers in Western Oregon. Think Riverbend Landfill.
In April 2012, Stop the Dump/Waste Not of Yamhill County, along with engineers and a hydrogeologist, began intensive discussions with DEQ about this danger. Waste Management’s 40-foot high MSE berm planned for Riverbend will be on soil that has the potential to liquefy. The berm is engineered to withstand only a magnitude 8.5 earthquake.
The berm will allow millions more tons of garbage to be piled on the existing mountain, adding weight to an already unstable trash heap. The additional weight adds additional risk of liquefaction of soil below the dump. DEQ is poised to permit the berm’s construction despite the fact that DOGAMI, the USGS, the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Committee and internationally known seismologists all say that we need to plan for a magnitude 9.0 event, larger than it is engineered to withstand.
We applaud the News-Register’s position that we should “err on the side of caution.” Too bad DEQ and Waste Management do not want to do the same.
Cat dissection ‘old method’
I want to correct an inaccuracy in the article “Board upholds using cats for dissection” (News-Register, Feb. 1).
When Phil White held up the photo an McMinnville High School student had posted on Facebook and read the caption written by the student, it did not say, “Our cat’s bigger than yours.” It said, “Our cat’s IS bigger than yours,” referring to a photo of the student stretching the dead cat’s penis.
My testimony about switching from dissection to computer simulations was paraphrased as saying it “would stop sending the message that it’s OK to hurt cats.” I was addressing a complex issue that has to do with how empathy in children is nurtured or not, and how the perception of an animal’s life as having intrinsic value is affected by adults condoning the use of that animal as a disposable learning tool.
The evidence I presented about alternatives to dissection being a complete and superior replacement for animals in high school biology could not have made a difference in the board’s decision. This decision was not made by assessing what helps students best achieve the learning objectives set forth in today’s advanced biology course. It was made from the emotional attachment doctors and nurses have for the old method of learning, not by measuring what gives today’s students the best learning results.
Regarding the law of North Carolina, readers should note that while the law requires that a gas chamber should “allow” for the separation of animals, as was noted in the News-Register article, in practice animals are often not separated. Up to 25 cats gassed at once is a well-documented practice. I refer all to the North Carolina Coalition for Humane Euthanasia website to learn more.
Reluctantly sharing insight
Because the News-Register is in the information-sharing business, I am compelled to write this letter. To those of you who saw a boy sitting on the rail of the Three Mile Lane Bridge, I reluctantly share some insight. And to those of you who read about it online, I am compelled to share a private, personal and sensitive matter.
Because of this cyber world we live in and this insatiable desire to disseminate information, here is what you saw or read: a 17-year-old, sweet-hearted, gentle, troubled soul who listens to a voice in his head whom he calls God. “God told him to jump.”
This is just a glimpse into a life of schizophrenia. What you also saw was a calm about him. A calm, because he was following his inner voice. A calm, because of the love and care of his immediate family and his doctors: Payton, Bellville, Miller and Crombie along with Yamhill County Mental Health. All these professionals agree: this is a private matter.
The editor I spoke with said a lot of people saw him on the bridge, inferring they need or want to know. “It’s public information,” “It’s for the greater good,” and “Teen plunges from bridge.”
Is this public service or tabloid sensationalistic journalism? You be the judge.
Editor’s Note: The brief story, published online and on an inside page of the Feb. 1 News-Register, did not include any of the personal details described here. The story, produced prior to full police investigation, included a request from McMinnville Police Department for contact from anyone with information about the incident.