Watching the young students of Stoneman Douglas high school speak to the nation in Washington was inspiring. It gives me hope that our next generation in this country is in good hands. So to have Rick Santorum criticize them and saying students should not ask people to do things for them, but students should do things themselves like learning CPR and quit bullying, well Mr. Santorum, CPR won’t help someone who is shot with an AR15 and bleeding out, and maybe adults like Trump can use your advice and stop his bullying on Twitter.

Ron Yamashita

Hood River

Come together

Full disclosure: I don’t hate guns or gun owners. I didn’t hate the guy with a holstered hand gun in a grocery store in rural Kentucky. The guy in a Texas convenience store with an AR-15 slung over his shoulder? I struggled to accept it, but it is his right. I don’t hate guns any more than I hate hammers, climate change deniers, or vacuum cleaners.

I’m not in this to take away your gun. That right was endorsed by the Supreme Court in 2008.

I AM viscerally opposed to any instrument that can eliminate young and promising lives in a quantity and on a scale like a semi-automatic assault gun. Sure, you will come back with how a car, or a frying pan, or a ping pong paddle for that matter can be used to cause mayhem. To which I respond: Please … really?

The NRA has co-opted this discussion into a paranoid-laden fear that I want to come into your home and take your guns. And you buy that nonsense? Let’s get that pathetically stupid notion off the table and truly make America great again.

What do I want? I’d like us to register our gun(s) and to prove we know how to use responsibly through licensure. I’d like us to realize that assault weapons have no purpose than to do just that, assault. Those guns simply need to go. And so does the shrill leadership of the NRA. Not the organization that promotes hunter safety, rifle teams, JROTC and the like. No, the NRA that causes you to fear guys like me who are looking for reasonable compromise. See, if you buy into that NRA drivel, you can’t be part of the solution and neither can I because they fear guys like you and me even discussing assault weapons in this context.

Let’s stand down and take a deep breath away from the highly charged and deliberately polarized chaos that has become assault weapon control. Our children demand it of us.

Are we capable? Are we ready?

So let’s get started. Tell you what, I’ll buy the first round.

Mike Pendleton


Spirit of hope

The two Koreas, China, the U.S. and hopefully Japan will be gathering in May to try and resolve the problems in the Korean nations. Hopefully they’ll bring nearly 70 years of hostilities to an end.

While reading a BBC feed today, there was an article derived from a podcast relating to peace, this time in the Middle East. Somewhere on a hillside between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv there is an abbey. Father Bruno Hazar, working with several Jewish and Arab Israeli families, helped establish a community called — what is called? — al Salam in Arabic and Neve Shalom, in Hebrew, which translates to Oasis of Peace. It was established in 1978 and still exists. It’s one of seven settlements in which people choose to co-exist as there’s really no other way.

I offer this in the spirit of hope for peace both overseas and here in our own country, where we’re torn by children killing children in schools and on our city streets.

Rob Brostoff

Cascade Locks

Regulation needed

After the March for Our Lives, many are focusing attention on the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting to keep gun control in the public focus.

I believe it’s more instructive to remember the 20th anniversary of the first mass school shooting that happened at Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., on May 21, 1998.

When Kip Kinkel opened fire in a crowded high school cafeteria that morning, no one had heard of an active shooter drill. This kind of emergency was then unheard of. In spite of this lack of preparedness, he was only able to kill two of his classmates. He injured many, but only killed two.

Why would a shooter catching everyone by complete surprise have such a small death toll? The answer is the weaponry. Kinkel DID have a semiautomatic rifle and was able to get off many rounds. But it was a small caliber .22 and was not as deadly as the weapons used by future mass murderers.

I can imagine a rebuttal citing that Kinkel also carried two semiautomatic pistols. He carried them, but was only able to fire one of their rounds before being subdued by brave classmates. Those brave classmates saved lives by preventing him from using his most lethal weapons.

This evidence clearly shows that the death toll at other mass shootings in schools, movie theaters, concerts, nightclubs, Army bases, shopping malls and elsewhere would be smaller if semiautomatic weapons with high capacity magazines weren’t so widely available with such minimal oversight.

The Second Amendment doesn’t grant the right of ownership of ANY weapon. We don’t allow neighborhood nuclear weapons. There is room for a Second Amendment that regulates weapon ownership allowing everyone to feel safe.

Cary Mallon


Quality leaders

As a U.S. citizen, I like to believe our leaders have the capacity to demonstrate maturity and a thoughtful approach to the issues facing my fellow Americans. Given recent events, it was quite disappointing to learn what some of our leaders had to say publicly about possible solutions to the issues surrounding gun violence and social problems.

Former presidential candidate, U.S. Senator, and attorney Rick Santorum offered not condolences to the victims of the Florida shooting, but “expert” medical advice along with a scolding. A quick search on YouTube shows real news footage of Mr. Santorum telling kids they should learn CPR instead of taking action by asking someone (else) to pass a law.

It appears Mr. Santorum knows very little about either emergency medicine or the law. When he takes a CPR class himself, he will learn it is a useless procedure for people shot in the head or five times in the body. As for his legal knowledge, he may have been on the gun range the day his professor lectured in law school about how laws are created by legislators and not high school students.

More recently, U.S. Rep Steve King of Iowa demonstrated he has no knowledge or interest in the concept of bullying despite many party members speaking publicly about its negative affects on children. Mr. King decided the best way to resolve the current social discourse was to tweet negative comments about an 18-year-old woman whose friends were recently gunned down in her school.

It is unclear to me whether these leaders lack compassion, intelligence, or empathy. They certainly do not represent my views or sense of humanity.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Abounding AR-15s

Why did Mr. Mansfield have to mince words (AR-15s Will Abound, March 14)? Why did he have to ignore the reality of his defense to this weapon? Why could he not come right out and say it — mass shootings will abound, in schools, churches and large peaceful gatherings?

Why does his donations have to be only of that weapon? Why not a 30-caliber rifle that can be used from any big game? You cannot hunt big game with an AR-15 in Washington State and several others. I would buy tickets for a raffle for a 30-30 or 30-06, but never for an AR-15. Organizations using an AR-15 raffle will never get my financial support.

Gary Fields

Hood River

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