Friday, November 10, 2017
A violent, untrusting culture
Three hundred and seven mass shootings in 310 days, according to the media.
At one time, churches were regarded as places to seek sanctuary. Apparently that time has come and gone. In the 20th century, there were almost no mass murders in our country — before the Texas tower shooting, they were rare. Even into the mid-1980s, there were almost no shootings. What’s happened? How did we change so quickly and not for the good?
We’ve become a violent, untrusting culture rather than “stand your ground.” Maybe a little peace, love and trust would be helpful.
Some are claiming this is a mental health issue; they are correct as far as that goes. During the Reagan administration, the government shuttered most mental health facilities. They were supposed to open new ones in the communities — we’re still waiting. If the government really cared about mental health, they wouldn’t be trying to cut funding for mental health in the budget, not to mention the attempt to do so in their failed repeal and replace attempt.
Allow postage-paid envelopes for ballots:
Did you know that Oregon law prohibits counties from providing postage-paid ballot return envelopes to Oregon voters? Yet with more everyday transactions completed digitally, people are increasingly unlikely to have postage stamps in their home (42 percent of new, first-time voters do not!), and lack of postage is becoming an increasing barrier to voter participation.
Ahead of the winter legislative session in Salem, please call or write our state lawmaker, Senator Chuck Thomsen (503-986-1726), and urge him to change this law, to allow counties to provide pre-paid ballot envelopes. This reform would expand access and participation for eligible voters. Better turnout means a democracy that better represents the voices of the people. All Americans who want to cast a ballot should be able to do so.
Your voice can help ensure that our legislature takes action and further extends Oregon’s national leadership on voting rights issues. Thank you for making a call!
Don’t grieve alone
It is a complicated grief — that which is borne by those who lost a loved one to suicide. Stuffed inside, in silence or denial, is often where this grief resides. Despite an increasing number of grief support groups showing up, there is still reason for a special day dedicated to the survivors of suicide loss held annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org) provides a DVD that features a diverse group of individuals who have lost a family member to suicide. Through conversations, it reveals how each has managed through a variety of emotions and personal struggles. There can be comfort found in hearing how others have coped with this grief and an opportunity to share with people locally in a supportive environment. One out of six people have such a tragedy in their personal history; if not a family member, then possibly a friend, neighbor, co-worker, or former classmate. Whether it has been only a few precious months, several years, or decades since the suicide, everyone is welcome and anyone could benefit from this two-hour program on Nov. 18. This year, in addition to the morning program, conducted in English, 10 a.m. to noon at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, there will be an afternoon program in Spanish held 3-5 p.m. at the Wy’east Middle School Library. If you have been harboring your grief alone, or know someone who is, please consider this invitation. I will be there to meet you!
Americans once again find ourselves vehemently defending one side of the gun control debate following the mass shooting in Texas. The common response is to offer prayers to the survivors and their loved ones. It seems ironic and perhaps a cruel joke that praying is exactly what the victims were doing at the time they were murdered.
Those seeking changes in our gun laws are quick to point out that a madman with a knife could never cause such death and sorrow. In effect, the argument that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” may not hold much water. What may hold water in the argument for gun control is the dramatic disparity in statistics about gun violence in the U.S. compared to other first-world countries with far fewer guns per capita.
Advocates for the Second Amendment feel justified every time a mass shooting takes place. Their argument (perhaps rightly so) is that we obviously live in dangerous times. History has proven that churches, concert venues, and schools are not safe. The only reasonable response is to own and carry a gun to protect themselves and their family. This is a legal right granted to every U.S. citizen.
Furthermore, this legal right for self-protection outweighs any arguments about public safety or mental health.
I do not know which side poses the stronger argument. There does seem to be a new group filling up the America’s Most Wanted list: the American-born, white, gun-owning male with psychological issues.
The collaboration of last year’s Tony Award winner Rachel Harry and music teacher Dan Kenealy have taken the high school fall musical to an entirely new level. A woman sitting next to me leaned over and asked, “Are these high school students?” Hard to believe such amazing young talent! Oh, and the choreography is fantastic. Don’t take my word for it, go see “Fiddler on The Roof”!