Letters to the editor: March 12, 2021

No to fanaticism

Reading all the letters for and against the declaration of Yamhill County as a gun sanctuary, I found one aspect of the issue wasn’t being discussed — the liability the county and its law enforcement officers would take on.

If this sanctuary allows someone to gain possession of a firearm in defiance of state law, and uses that firearm in a crime, expect a very large lawsuit. There won’t be any good defense on the county’s part, and the taxpayers will foot the bill.

I’ve owned guns and enjoyed shooting for more than 50 years.

I have no problem with background checks and age limits. But I’m absolutely opposed to people showing up at demonstrations carrying long guns.

There are something like three Americans who don’t own firearms for every one that does. Keep shoving radical policy and behavior down people’s throats and watch that majority start demanding more restrictive laws.

Responsible gun ownership is incompatible with gun fanaticism.

Fred Fawcett



A lesson for the ages

The ice storm has provided an opportunity for some interesting outdoor education.

Out of curiosity, I decided to count the rings on the tree that went down just west of the playground in Upper City Park. I counted 124, which probably is off by a bit because the early ones are very tight and saw marks interfered with others.

Subtract 124 from 2021 and it appears this tree was a seedling somewhere around 1897, about 40 years after William Newby established a grist mill on the site and platted the town of McMinnville. It was also interesting to see that in recent years the rings suddenly became much wider, which means growing conditions changed significantly.

Opportunities arise in math (doing the calculations), history (studying what was happening when a particular ring was being laid down, known as dendrochronology), weather (gauging the width and spacing of rings) and biology (analyzing the formation of the rings and how it comes about). A round from this tree, along with pictures, could be used as a display at the local museum to record the year of the great ice storm and educate future generations.

I am always impressed with the strength of the limbs of our native oaks, some of which must weigh tons. They often reach for great lengths almost perpendicular to the trunk.

I am also surprised at the small diameter of the root ball for a tree of that size. It seems to defy physics that such a root structure could ever keep a towering tree upright.

Darrell King



Facing up to challenges

I can’t believe the parents who enrolled their child in a private school because the child couldn’t cope with remote schooling during the pandemic.

What happened to teaching your kids to cope with life’s challenges?

That is preparing your child for the real world. This isn’t.

Sandra Ponto



Mixed reviews

After reading your substantial build-up of Mr. Henderson’s impressive experience and collection of awards, I was eager to read what I expected would be his sage advice in last week’s Viewpoints.

It didn’t take long to see what he was up to. The cat was out of the bag when he bemoaned not being able to bring his machete into the courthouse and his reference to those writing Oregon’s Constitution disapproving of 21st century technology.

Perhaps some 72 column inches of this mirror on the commissioners’ current foolishness is what they best deserve. But I hope Mr. Henderson will not be disappointed if he fails to win the 2021 best tongue-in-cheek column award.

And then to Mr. Majors’ column.

He’s concerned about getting arrested for being “lawfully in possession of a defensive firearm.” Please show me the list of firearms that are solely defensive.

He then praises “freedom-seeking settlers” for establishing a tradition of firearm ownership and marksmanship, and attributes WWII’s 25,000 rounds per kill ratio primarily to the rural population supposedly upholding this tradition. But that doesn’t square with my memory of the rifle range I experienced in Marine Corps boot camp in 1943.

Finally, he asserts that chipping away of gun rights endangers our liberty and “adds fuel to the flames of our many enemies,” whatever that means.

Thankfully, your sensible editorial put all of this in an appropriate perspective. Mr. Majors’ statement notwithstanding, I’m not so certain all the crazy politicians are in Salem and Portland.

Bill Lemman 



Barrage of disinformation

In an effort to understand how so many conservatives bought into the idea the election was stolen, and related elements of misinformation, I searched for an explanation.

I discovered the Election Integrity Partnership, created by organizations engaged in verifying the accuracy of social media postings, published a report March 3 titled, “The Long Fuse — Misinformation and the 2020 Election.” 

I recommend it to anyone open-minded enough to consider its validity. If you Google the title, you will find links allowing you to download a PDF of more than 200 pages.

The report details hundreds of false narratives, including graveyard voting, rigged counting machines, mailbag dumping, mass falsification of mail ballots and organized ballot harvesting. Each is painstakingly dissected and disproven.

The report also demonstrates how these elements were amplified by top level spreaders

It would be natural for Trump supporters to follow his social media platforms, along with allied press and broadcast outlets, and accept what they learned. In fact, I can understand that it is difficult to believe a source you trust would spread misinformation

But Media Matters reported previously that in the 12 months leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection, President Trump pushed misinformation in more than 1,400 Facebook posts. And EIP looked at social media activity more extensively, covering Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, Nextdoor, Discord and Pinterest in addition to Facebook.

Given the number of the president’s followers utilizing social media, including almost 90 million on Twitter alone, fallacious posts and re-posts of his exerted undue influence. Long before the election, he primed supporters to expect it would be stolen. 

If I had been a follower of his on social media, I suspect the constant bombardment would’ve had an influence. But no element of the stolen election narrative ever held up to independent analysis or impartial judicial review.

Les Howsden



Bring civics back

Now, when it is needed most, yet way overdue, Oregon Senate Bill 702 would establish a task force to review the social studies standards for kindergarten through grade 12. The emphasis would be directed toward civics education and make more instruction more accessible on: 1) Voting rights and how to vote; 2) Current and historical social movements; and 3) Roles of local and tribal governments.

For more than 20 years now, social studies curricula throughout our state and nation have been diminished or eliminated to make way for an increase in standardized testing. As a substitute teacher in grades K-12, I watched the disheartening transition with great trepidation.

I remember teaching second graders a social studies lesson regarding the importance of community and diversity. The children responded with great interest.

Eighth graders learned the importance of taxes and how they strengthen our public services, like our police and fire departments, libraries, parks, roads and bridges, and, yes, public schools. I remember asking them which one of these services they would want eliminated.

It was truly an enlightening lesson. And at the high school level, guest speakers from the county clerk’s office, city council and county commission would explain their responsibilities to the community.

Two generations of our children have now been deprived of vital information that builds stronger, more sustainable communities and develops a more knowledgeable base of informed voters. I have to wonder if many of the societal conflicts we are experiencing today, throughout our nation, could have been minimized if we had retained a strong social studies and civics curriculum.

I applaud our Oregon Legislature for considering SB 702. It is my hope that its passage will be the first step in bringing back a more wholesome curriculum to our public educational system.

Liz Marlia-Stein




Darrell King's comments regarding trees brought to mind the lovely and timeless poem 'Trees' by Joyce Kilmer:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


Lovely and timeless indeed!!

Don Dix

Liz Marlia-Stein -- today's 'societal conflicts' you speak of are the playground of politics/political parties. It's a way to rile up the sheep, and being sheep, they comply. Without fist-shaking speeches from those who are elected to govern, not incite, the 'conflicts' would be far less damaging and dangerous. These speeches are what creates the radicals who aspire 'to plant a flag for the cause'. Maybe we should focus on re-educating those elected to lofty positions on their respective job description first. That would be some 'lesson in civics'!

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