Letters to the Editor for Feb. 28 edition

AR-15 Wanted

I will buy your AR-15.

Perhaps you are rethinking your need to have one. I want this to be a win/win transaction. I will pay what you paid for it, and buy any accompanying ammunition. Or, if you were given it as a gift, we can research market value together. (If more than one person calls and wants to sell me their AR-15, I am not sure what I will do. I can only afford to buy one. Suggestions welcome.)

I will need help with several things. Phone calls to advise me through this process are wanted. First, I will need guidance on how to do this legally. I’m guessing I will have to get a background check?

Next I will need help from someone with the right tools for its destruction. Steel blade band saw? Cutting torch?

Then I am trusting that the Hood River Police or sheriff’s department will either receive the ammunition or tell me how to properly dispose of it. And finally, I am trusting that Hood River Garbage Service will accept the scrap metal.

When these steps are all complete, I will write a follow up letter to the editor (with non-attribution, no names or details) to report on what happened.

I can be reached at 541-387-2855.

Taking action beyond thoughts and prayers for one less assault weapon in the world,

Dan Armstrong

Retired Pastor/Chaplain

Hood River

NRA support means complicity

If your U.S. representative or senator or president is receiving money from the National Rifle Association (NRA), he or she is complicit in the deaths of schoolchildren and they must be thrown out of office.

If you vote for those politicians, you become complicit as well.

We stand with the brave and eloquent Parkland, Fla., high schoolers and we must ban all assault-style rifles.

Roland and Adriana Grotte

White Salmon, Wash.

Ban ARs now

I believe we are going to hell in a hand basket (and I don’t believe in heaven or hell).

We (the U.S.A.) are the only country not actively working towards leaving our children a cleaner better earth, constantly denying that we have been heating up this planet at a rapid rate for the last 150 or so years. All for the sake of money so the oil and gas corporations can squeeze every last drop of profit out of the earth.

We (the U.S.A.) are the only country allowing people to buy weapons of mass destruction, automatic weapons, let them walk into schools, and slaughter our children while they are supposed to be learning. All so the gun manufacturers can make money and profits.

We (the U.S.A.) make it harder and harder for our children to seek a higher education. The big banks get bailed out to the tune of billions of dollars and Joe Blow misses a bank payment and has his or her house foreclosed and is out on the street. The interest rate for college loans is stacked against the students, while the big banks make massive amounts of money.

We (the U.S.A.) seem to be in a perpetual war (17 years now) all for the sake of money. Each and every war, from Vietnam till now, is all about killing people and making money.

Not to mention two million people in jail (the land of the free), or black and brown people still not being able to get the same loan as a white person to own a home. The list goes on and on.

And we (the U.S.A.) barely raise our voices and make a stink. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

It’s time to ban assault weapons, NOW!

Stephen J. Curley

Hood River

It’s the money

At the core of nearly every polarizing issue facing our country today is money. I imagine discussions about gun control, health insurance, immigration, the opioid epidemic, the pharmaceutical industry, and foreign policy would be dramatically different if there were no ramifications for re-election and no financially powerful representative groups like the NRA and the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries spending billions every year on their agendas.

It’s the money. Don’t fool yourselves.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Common sense

Representative Walden,

The country has once again focused on guns and gun safety issues and I am curious about your opinions on this matter. First, let me say that I don’t believe I am too far left of center on this issue. I have no problems with someone owning guns for defense or hunting and used to hunt myself years ago. I believe that you are a staunch supporter of gun rights, based on your NRA score and your voting record. You and I probably have different views, but maybe we can find some commonality?

The commonsense questions I’ve been asking myself, and would like you to address, are:

Why does anyone need instant access to any kind of gun? Why not improve information sharing among agencies and make background checks universal? Is a simple delay really going to unjustifiably impede on others’ rights?

Why does any civilian need an assault weapon with high capacity magazines? As is all too obvious, these guns can be used to rapidly kill multiple people. We can argue statistics about whether their prohibition under the Brady Bill for 10 years was successful or not. But what is the commonsense rational for allowing them to be available, instantly, to anyone, in the first place?

Why is there a ban on using Federal money to research gun violence in this country? This makes absolutely no sense. Those who oppose gun reform legislation often claim that we need more information to develop effective policy. Yet we have banned research on this issue since 1996.

If we had more research, we would have a clearer picture of what will work to prevent mass shootings and other unnecessary gun violence.

Without it, we will continue to offer nothing more than prayers and condolences to victims of gun violence. Congress should be embarrassed and ashamed of this.

Tim Mayer

Hood River

Reconsider Second Amendment

Why must the rights associated with the Second Amendment be unabridged?

Much of the current debate revolves around the fact that the right to bear arms is constitutionally guaranteed. This is undeniable, with many valid points in support. But why must that right be unabridged? For comparison, consider another constitutional right, one that is even more recognizable: Freedom of Speech. Is the constitutional right given to each individual of the ability to express themselves absolute? No, the well-recognized example of crying “Fire!” in a crowded theater is uniformly acknowledged as being an unreasonable exercise of free speech.

Nevertheless, the NRA has adopted a categorical stance opposing any restrictions. Why shouldn’t possession of an assault rifle, which even if capable of other legitimate uses, is fundamentally designed for slaughtering scores of victims before any response can be taken (even from an armed teacher or other community member, the primary solution advocated by the NRA) be considered an unreasonable exercise of the Second Amendment?

It is sadly ironic that the solution proposed by the NRA results in more guns rather than fewer guns. Personally, I cannot accept the conclusion that in order to avoid abridging the Second Amendment, such as by placing more reasonable restrictions on what types of guns are legal, the best solution is to surround my children with more people carrying weapons to, at best, merely reduce the chance they will be murdered by a maniac.

Nathan Koenig

Hood River

‘Cultural mental illness’

As a mother of three adolescents, a teacher, a mental health counselor, an American and a human, I feel heartache and conviction about the teen-on-teen violence and deaths in our country.

In my opinion, the conversation begins with seeking the root cause of these violent acts against our own innocent species. What drives our children to brutally end the lives of their peers, and often (directly or indirectly) their own lives?

When we as a species feel safe, satisfied, and connected, we do not murder others. When we have help to heal our trauma, stabilize our mental illness, and find productive and healthy outlets for our natural need to be seen and be a part of something — we do not murder others.

Our country’s policies and attitudes towards (not supporting) healthy attachment and the natural interdependence humans need has contributed to our current societal crisis, in my opinion. This starts from childbirth, when many mothers are forced, prematurely, to return to work far too early; this echoes in our “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” mentality, disregarding traumas and injustices that significantly disadvantage too many of our community members. Our bizarre obsession with violent entertainment that numbs us, our current political system that breeds fear and separation. These are all symptoms and signs of a cultural dis-ease.

How can we love our children enough to change this insanity? We have a cultural mental illness that needs healing. This takes a cultural approach that names and then works to heal the trauma. Try asking: What has happened to us? What do we need? At the beginning and end of each day, it’s the bonds of love and community that matter most. It’s our sense of purpose to serve each other and make each day just a bit better than the last. Our children deserve better from us. Our number one jobs as parents are to keep our children safe, and teach them to survive on their own. What kind of world are they learning to survive in? How can we each do one thing to make it better?

Heather Nielsen

Hood River

Lead, Rep. Walden

Because Representative Walden is “in the room” with President Trump, I hope he will influence the president to take swift, peaceful action against the Russian government, which is meddling in our elections and our democracy and trying to divide our country. A normal president would lead the charge against this intrusion by speaking to the country about this challenge, pulling national and state leaders and election officials together to solve the problem, and rallying national security experts and social media providers to reveal Russian tactics.

Representative Walden, what are your leadership actions that will prevent a foreign country from disrupting our democracy and dividing our nation? As the great conservative Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Fran Finney

Hood River

Work for the people

The most important work Congress should be doing at the moment is protecting our democracy from corporate lobbyists and the ultra-wealthy.

Congress should represent its constituents who elected them not those who paid for their campaigns. We need true campaign finance reform and to end Citizens United. For example, today, 97 percent of Americans are for gun reform and yet our government is not taking action due to the big-money influences from the gun lobby. This is not democracy!

The three most important issues for me today are:

  1. Campaign finance reform.

  2. Free college tuition! Truly low interest student loans (not parent loans!) and grants for other expenses.

  3. Medicare for all.

I urge my elected officials: work for your constituents.

Stephenie Adams

Hood River

Watchdog, not lapdog

Protestors gathered at Hood River’s Memorial Overlook Plaza on Friday, Feb. 23 to bring attention to the national security threat presented by unchecked Russian interference in our national elections and democratic processes. Trump and his GOP protectors have for months tried to discredit and undermine the Mueller investigation, while at the same time insisting that Trump has nothing to hide.

Last May, when Mueller was appointed as special counsel, our congressman Greg Walden stated, “Robert Mueller is the right man for the job. He has an impeccable record of integrity and ability ... (Investigators) must follow all leads and get to the facts … Foreign countries have no business messing with our elections.” Now, however, Walden is contributing to Trump’s undermining of Mueller’s investigation by his continued, conspicuous silence on the subject.

Evidence is added weekly to our understanding of the breadth and depth of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, its ongoing interference in upcoming elections, and its manipulation of U.S. social media. This represents a significant national security threat, yet Trump still refuses to enforce the sanctions that Congress nearly passed almost unanimously, or even to acknowledge there IS a threat to our security. His GOP minions, including Rep. Walden, stand by silently, protectively, ignoring their sworn duties as elected leaders.

In a statement on the subject to Friday’s Hood River protestors, Sen. Jeff Merkley noted, “In our White House, we need a watchdog over our democracy, not a lapdog for Putin.” We don’t need caretakers for the lapdog either.

Bonnie New

Hood River

Support sales tax

I support the tax in Hood River County and if proper time and education on this topic had been taken by the county, I believe others would support it too rather than the reactive response the county got. Hood River is no longer a three-month resort town.

It is a four-season tourist destination with restaurants, boutiques, breweries and brew festivals, wineries and wine tours and easy recreational access and adventure tours. Who benefits from all of this? Right now, it is the small business owners who are here because of the tourists. I have lived in tourist dependent Sun Valley, Idaho, Winter Park, Colo., and Bend. Let the city folks pay for the services to haul their naïve selves out of woods. Let them pay to keep our roads clear and safe.

Nobody will stop coming. They don’t stop coming when the rate of lift passes increase. They don’t stop coming when bridge tolls go up or gas prices increase. I suppose you could move to Washington where it is cheaper to live and pay their sales tax. Speaking of staying loyal to Hood River, what if the proposed Community ID card could become a tax-free card for full-time residents to use?

Erika Rench

Hood River

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