(Editor’s Note: Viewpoint submissions on these and other topics are always welcome as part of our goal to encourage community discussion and exchange of perspectives.)
Protect Our Children
Recent shootings throughout our country compel me to voice my opinion on this serious issue.
Three years ago, I listened to Alissa Parker, the mother of one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012. Mrs. Parker is co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, an organization that promotes school security and safety. She spoke to a room full of parents and educators at an Oregon Parent Teacher Association Convention. There was not a dry eye in the room after she spoke.
At that point, I was thinking, “When is enough, enough?” I remembered back to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 — and still (23 years later) there hasn’t been sufficient legislative changes to prevent more of the same!
While all past shootings that have taken the lives of our children have been heart-breaking, the recent one in Uvalde, Texas, broke me. I was devastated, angry and frustrated. It’s senseless, and it’s long past time for our country to come together to make decisions that move us forward on stopping these senseless acts of violence.
In the Siuslaw News on June 1, Francis J. Straley wrote, “It’s Not the Gun.” His point was, “It’s not the gun; it’s the shooter.” Mr. Straley, I’d go a step further to encompass the whole problem — it IS the gun AND the shooter.
The gun is the tool. I’m not saying to ban guns altogether, but it makes no sense for everyday citizens to have weapons like the AR-15. Weapons with high power and the capability of shooting rapid fire ammunition have no place in society. I don’t see any reason that stricter background checks and significant waiting periods couldn’t be put in place to deter the purchase of guns by people who shouldn’t have them.
We also need better systems in place for those (especially our young people) who are struggling with mental health. Adequate funding should be made available for more counselors and support professionals in our schools, to provide mental health education to families, and to put in place systems to recognize and help those with mental health needs.
Everyone has a right to their opinion, but there’s common ground here for us to come together, and that is to protect our children! What could be more appropriate and uniting than making sure that our future leaders have futures?
— Diane McCalmont
I notice the very first thing in the Siuslaw Vision, as cited by Graham Ross in “A Vision for Development” on June 1, in response to my May 25 letter, “Develop vs. Conserve,” is: “We’ll share a love for our heritage and history and respect our region’s natural beauty and resources.”
How does the Siuslaw Vision actually take action to create the region’s idea? Do they testify or comment on plans being made by the various commissions, or to the city council? I don’t think I’ve seen their collective stand on anything reflected in something like a letter to the editor.
I invite them to share examples of positive differences they have made so far, specifically related to climate, housing and conservation.
And I agree with Jean Perry, “Conserve and Learn,” June 1. We need different leadership if we want things to be different.
Thank you both for speaking out about this issue.
Ivy Medow — Florence
Something Must Change
In the weeks since the deaths in Uvalde, we have had at least one mass shooting a day, some days two. Obviously, something must change; thoughts and prayers just aren’t working. If Republican senators are reluctant to regulate guns to stop the carnage, then I propose an alternate method.
We know that 95.7 percent of mass shooters are male, and of these, about 25 percent are younger than 25. It can be concluded that the mix of testosterone and an under-developed brain is a significant contributor to the desire to kill many people.
Therefore, I propose that at the onset of puberty, all boys be removed from their homes and confined to special camps, where they will remain until their brains are fully matured. At these camps, they will be closely monitored and regulated, and in addition to academic schooling, will receive special training in empathy, anger and impulse management, and vocational training so that upon “graduation,” young men will be productive and safe members of society.
If a family instead insists on keeping their son at home, he would be required to undergo hormone therapy to delay puberty until age 25, when his brain, after receiving the same special training as those of the boys in the camps, can safely handle the onslaught of testosterone.
All young men would undergo intensive psychological testing to determine if the training has been successful before being released into society. Those who are deemed incorrigible and therefore a danger to themselves and others would not be allowed to rejoin the rest of us; perhaps they could be sent to a heavily guarded and remote island somewhere, where they could spend the rest of their days being as violent as they like.
Suddenly, regulating guns doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Debra Walker — Florence