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Letters to the Editor for June 21

Look at laws

In his recent letter, Jim Burdick reasons that taking guns away will not stop senseless killings. He is correct and I agree that addressing mental illness should be a priority in our country.

However, he is wrong to compare guns to cars or knives. Why? Because one person with a car or knife is unlikely to kill masses of people. Cars and knives also have many positive uses in our daily lives. Guns are designed for one thing, to kill. The only positive use of a gun is to hunt for food. So why do we need AR- 15’s with high capacity magazines?

You can shoot them as fast as a fully automatic yet full autos are illegal. It’s time we look at the other First World countries (who also have mentally ill) and ponder why they don’t have mass killings frequent the national headlines. It’s simply time that we have common sense gun laws.

Ben Parsons

Hood River

Guns and values

The District of Columbia, in 1976, banned new handguns and required guns at home to be stored and disassembled or locked up. In 2011, they had the highest murder rate in the nation. We all know how well the ban on handguns has worked in Chicago.

A ban on guns has emboldened criminals because they know the law abiding public is powerless to defend themselves. Since the District of Columbia struck down its ban on guns, the murder numbers have gone down from 186 murders by guns in 2008 to 88 in 2012.

Now it is sad and troubling news that we have had yet another mass shooting in our nation. I grieve for the families of the loved ones lost by violence. Is there a common thread to link all these random acts of violence? Yes. All the mass shootings have happened in “gun-free” zones. In schools, in malls, and in theaters the gunman knew that the people there were sitting ducks without the ability to protect themselves. We protect our banks with guns. We protect our politicians (even the ones who push for gun bans) with guns. We protect any number of things we hold dearly with guns. But we protect our children with a sign that says “No guns allowed” or “Gun-free zone.” In Israel, where war is an unfortunate way of life, they have lost only four children to school violence since 1966. Why? Because the teachers are armed and trained to use their weapons.

I have grown up around guns my whole life. And with about 70 or 75 million other Americans, I have not shot anyone or anything I didn’t want to shoot. My guns have hurt no one. I know some people do not like guns and wish we lived in a world without them. But the world is as it is. There are hundreds of millions of guns in this country and if a total ban on guns were implemented, I don’t think any of us would live long enough to see the difference.

We need to reinstate our values regarding human life. We need to see the uniting of the family. We need to have children with two parents who care for them. We need to get back to our roots; Citizenship, Family Values, Faith, Community, Responsibility, and Hope. What we don’t need is more gun laws to add to the thousands of ineffective gun laws we already have. Let’s just try for once to enforce the laws we have.

Mike Farmer

Hood River

Magic bullets

The depth and breadth of the decline of our society saddens me deeply.

We have gone from a proud, productive culture to one obsessed with validating our every thought and action through self-portraits and insightful revelations posted on the internet. It seems we are spending a huge amount of time and money proving we are happy instead of just BEING happy.

Somehow we have lost our way and clearly our sense of responsibility.

Everyone wants a magic bullet for their problems. Doctors are charged with fixing our health problems with a few pills regardless of years of personal neglect. We manage our energy level through tiny bottles labeled Five Hour Energy. Corporations place profits far above employee health and environmental concerns.

People continue to seek a magic bullet for their discomfort with their lives. A new phone can help you feel better. A shiny new car sure conveys a sense of success. The bigger TV sure makes watching the fights on Jerry Springer more realistic. We keep upping the ante to find answers. Unfortunately the metaphoric bullets have turned into real ones.

Some people are now absolving themselves of all responsibility to find an ultimate solution to their sickness and unhappiness. I am not sure that gun laws are the answer to this problem. I certainly do not want to take anyone’s legal right to protect themselves away from them.

Right now I am merely an observer of a sick society getting sicker.

Nothing but fighting seems to be taking place as we try to find civilized answers to a very serious problem.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Coal harms

Millennium Coal Corporation is still trying for a giant coal export terminal in Longview! That is so damaging to health, locally and worldwide. Wyoming’s Gov. MacKay just visited that Longview, Wash., plant, but, in my opinion, he should just keep his coal in Wyoming, instead!

Coal burning spews poisonous mercury, lead, chromium and uranium into the air. Everyone knows that lead causes brain damage. Doctors and nurses know that the chromium and uranium in coal produce cancer causing fumes from coal burning plants.

Mercury and lead, etc. are absorbed into the fish, too, when we dump coal or coal dust into the Columbia River Gorge.

The Oregon Nurses Association just passed a resolution asking that applications for coal exports be denied. They also support Governor Kitzhaber’s statement, “It is time to once and for all to say NO to coal exports from the Pacific Northwest.” I am so, very proud of the ONA!

As a grandmother and a nurse, I know it is vital for children, especially, that the Gorge remain a healthy haven area and vital that the west coast become an example of how we can promote clean energy, now. Thanks!

Dorethea Simone

Camas

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