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Letters to the Editor for January 19, 2013

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letters

Non-lethal defenses

We as a nation cannot stop mass-casualty incidents. The discussion has lost all direction, and the proposals put forth by the Biden Task Force failed to come up with meaningful legislation that would limit the damage done during the Sandy Hook incident.

The first line of defense in school is the teacher/staff. Current active shooter drills focus on law enforcement for stopping the shooter and ensures that during a lockdown teachers lock the door, then hide with the children. This ensures that the teachers become victims rather than giving them the means to be the first line of defense.

I would support federal legislation that would reimburse schools for the cost of hand-held stun batons, mace, and even taser guns for each teacher and the proper training to handle these non lethal devices. With teachers stationed near the room entrance during lockdowns the use of these non-lethal devices would give the teacher the chance to disarm the assailant and give the police and/or school resource officer the precious moments needed to respond.

By making the teachers active participants during these incidents and training them during the active shooter drills we can limit the potential harm done.

Most incidents at schools are not mass casualty but angry students with a grudge. These non-lethal devices in numerous capable hands can and will limit the overall potential damage done by a student with a pistol or knife.

This legislation would include funding from the federal government to reimburse schools to ensure that at least one full-time resource officer is on hand in each school who is trained to detect and subdue imminent threats to the children and staff.

Giving teachers loaded firearms is not the answer as many teachers will not accept them. Banning assault weapons is not the answer as only 3 percent of gun homicides are committed by rifles. Banning magazines is not the answer. Spending billions to turn schools into 24-hour locked-down prisons is not the answer.

Enabling and ensuring that our educators and school officials have the skills, training and knowledge to protect themselves and those around them is the answer.

Jacob Anderson

White Salmon, Wash.

The wrong fight

“Walden vows to fight trillion-dollar coin plant” which is probably going nowhere anyway. But he won’t fight for 20 dead children killed by senseless machine guns.

The only “reason” I’ve heard for allowing such automatics is their use against a government gone crazy against its own people. In that Greg is a leader in that same federal government, it would be interesting if that is also his reason for supporting the continuing ease for their purchase.

One also has to question the logic of such thinking anyway, like what good is a machine gun in my house against the weapons and number of military personnel available to the government? In fact, when you think about it, doesn’t the NRA’s interpretation of the second amendment mean we all have the right to own atomic weapons and deadly chemicals?

My gosh! What an exciting world to offer our children — for as long as they’re alive, that is.

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Social Security truths

Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, said if you tell a lie and repeat it often, people will believe it. I’m hoping that works for the truth also. So I repeat:

  1. Social Security and Medicare are not responsible for the deficit.

It is true that Social Security taxes that are being paid now do not cover what is going out. That is due to the recession and the surge of baby boomers. But Social Security has a surplus that not only covers today’s seniors but seniors for many years to come. We just need to keep legislators from dipping into it for other costs of government.

There is a problem with Medicare, but it is something that could be easily fixed with some common-sense adjustments.

  1. Social Security and Medicare are NOT welfare programs. Workers’ taxes pay for it. It’s a form of insurance funded by workers’ wages.

Social Security participants pay a premium for Medicare benefits; it comes right off the top of their Social Security allowance.

  1. Social Security and Medicare benefit all workers — those who are retired now and future retirees. Today’s retirees paid for their parents’ generation as workers now pay for ours.

Young people need to be made aware of what they could lose. Republicans make no secret of their efforts to end Social Security. And even President Obama has signaled his willingness to cut these programs in the name of deficit reduction.

We must tell the truth about Social Security and Medicare over and over again and tell it loud and clear.

Anne Vance

Hood River

CL council regressing?

This letter is directed to the people of Cascade Locks in particular:

Did you watch last night’s city council meeting? Were you as alarmed as I was? After a year of seemingly intelligent, cooperative meetings with Lance Masters as mayor we again have meetings degenerating into chaos.

We have a council which, at this point, is evenly divided, which does not bode well for any kind of progress. There will be a selection of a new council member soon to take the place of the mayor’s council position. Let us fervently hope that the new councilor will be a person of good judgment and not committed to a particular point of view.

We have a faction in this town who would like to see the city dis-incorporated at the Port of Cascade Locks abandoned with all assets reverting to Hood River County or the State of Oregon. I know this to be true because it was told to me by one of the leading agitators.

Cascade Locks has never had an elected person on the Hood River County Commission because we do not have enough registered voters to elect someone. Do you think we would be better off being governed by a body from an area so diametrically different from ours in economy, environment and social issues?

How would this happen? We have a council which is hamstrung because it no longer has the power to raise fees or rates reasonably to meet changing conditions without going to the citizens to vote. This is costly and time-consuming and rarely results in approval. The end result is insolvency and bankruptcy.

We are now faced with the loss of two retiring electrical linemen within the year. It has been suggested the electrical department and public works department be combined under one manager who could act as a ground man for the electrical department as well. This seems a good solution on the face of it and I hope the council will give it consideration.

We must find a way to work out our differences and move ahead.

Jean McLean

Cascade Locks

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