Time for a conversation
When I was a kid, we played with cap pistols. And, since I grew up in the Alaskan bush, I was a good shot with a .22 by the time I was 10. We kept loaded guns in the mess hall because my father ran a profitable placer mine.
No one confused play with real guns.
I am pretty sure that after the initial “scare,” no one thought this kid’s cap pistol was a real gun, no matter the hindsight protestations. And I am equally sure, as an educator for 40 some years, that this incident should not be cause for expulsion, either short- or long-term.
It should, I would think, be cause for a sensible conversation. Don’t bring your guns to school, boy. OK? OK.
Then there should be time for the rest of the conversation: so why did you bring your gun and shoot it off on the bus? Listening about this time would be a good idea, and talking sensibly about the issue would also be a good idea. Vigilante justice, though, is never a good idea.
In Seattle, where I live part-time, we understand that expelling kids is never a good choice. Why? Because by the time they return to school they are behind and often ridiculed and bullied. If kids get too far behind, they can’t catch up. They become frustrated and drop out. Now that’s cause for real concern. A kid who can’t read by the third grade, a kid that can’t get caught up so he can graduate high school, is a kid headed for real trouble — the kind that more often then not involves real guns.
Maybe it’s time for the community to come together and have a sane conversation about how to handle guns, the play kind and the real kind.
Think about it.
Julianne Seeman, Mazama
Thanks from the market
On behalf of the Methow Valley Farmers Market, I would like to give a big thank you to the Boy Scouts of America, Grayson Alexander, Quinn Wengerd and troop leaders Ed Sellers, Bryan Alexander and Kermit Nykriem for installing our new market sign on Highway 20 just west of Winthrop. Good job!
We also want to send a huge thank you to Dawnie Moss for allowing us to put our sign on her property. She saved the day!
Bonny Lince Stephens, Twisp
Time to decriminalize
Two weeks ago I watched the Sox/Orioles baseball game played in an empty stadium for the first time in history. It is amazing how important the fans are to the game. This sad day came to pass because outside the stadium riots were going on in protest of a man killed in police custody.
Many want to interpret the Baltimore riots as race riots. Others want to demonize the police. As Orioles first baseman Chris Davis stepped up to bat, it came to me that what is really going on is a war on the poor.
Chris Davis is a mighty slugger who served a 25-game suspension last year for testing positive for amphetamines. It was his second violation. Somehow he is forgiven by the league, the fans and the federal drug enforcers. Meanwhile, outside the stadium the police are required to treat amphetamine users like criminals.
We have laws on the books criminalizing vices. A person who owns a home can indulge in vices behind a stout door and be unmolested. A poor person with less privacy feels the full brunt of our lifestyle crimes. In any county in America the poorest are the most harassed by these laws, whatever their color. The prohibitions on vices in America are, in practice, class wars. The rich can have their vices delivered. The poor have to dodge the cops. As the old saying goes, it’s a rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight.
It is time to end the criminalization of vices. Government must resist the urge to criminalize. Instead, government must do the heavy lifting of taxing, zoning, licensing and labeling. Dumping the governing of vices on the police as crimes is just political grandstanding. It also makes policing dangerous and the police resented.
Dan Aspenwall, Winthrop
Help with the rink
Our community never ceases to amaze me. With belief, passion, generosity and hard work we create these amazing places and programs for all to enjoy. The list goes on and on and for this I reckon we are all grateful.
Through complete acts of kindness and giving, our community financially met the matching funds goal for the $1 million Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink refrigeration project and we have flashy new hoods on all the lights to decrease light pollution. A grand hearty thanks to all!
Now we need manpower to turn this dream into a reality. We need laborers for demolition and dasher board removal and repair. We need carpenters and helpers to expand and finish the existing building, folks to help place and tie the refrigerant tubing and lay sand before the big slab pour. If you are willing and able to donate a few hours or a day, surely we will find a place for you to be a part of the dream. Be the one who can say, “we did that together” and created a community and economic legacy.
Please contact winthropicerink.com or call 996-4199 to volunteer. The Methow Valley community puts a big smile on my face and a glow of gratitude from my heart. Thanks for amazing me. We rock!
Jill Calvert, Winthrop Ice & Sports Rink president
Honoring EMS providers
In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Week to celebrate its practitioners and the important work they do in responding to medical emergencies.
As chairman of the Okanogan/North Douglas Emergency Care Council and on behalf of the council in observance of EMS Week, I would like to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to all the volunteer and paid EMS professionals in Okanogan/North Douglas County. The council would also request the public to take a moment to reach out and thank the many individuals and agencies which serve our communities.
These individuals serve our county unselfishly, putting in hundreds of hours of training, both initial and ongoing. Many are volunteers: men, women, fathers, mothers, neighbors, our friends, co-workers, and others, who live, work and play in our communities every day, mostly unnoticed. They provide thousands of hours a year to maintain a state of readiness to any emergency at a moment’s notice. They answer these calls regardless of weather, holidays, time of day, or family time. We are very thankful to have such dedicated individuals.
In recognition of this week, we want all EMS providers to know we recognize your hard work, and how much you care for our patients and communities. We give you our respect and pledge to support you and your agencies as best we are able. We know that you will continue to give your best to all you serve.
The Okanogan/North Douglas Emergency Care Council is a nonprofit organization made up of EMS providers within the counties we serve. Our council provides support and assistance to EMS agencies.
If you would like to get involved with an EMS agency or the council, there is a need. All EMS agencies struggle with limited personnel and budgets, so if you would like to get involved or want to provide support please contact your local agency director Cindy Button, Aero Methow Rescue Service, at 997-4013 or contact me at (509) 422-4212 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be glad to offer additional information or contacts.
Wayne Walker, Chairman, Okanogan /North Douglas County EMS Council, Okanogan
Reject the TPP
As Joshua Zaffos notes (Methow Valley News, May 13), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would expand the ability of corporations to sue foreign governments over lost profits, enshrining yet further the Investor-State Dispute Resolution of previous trade agreements, whereby, as Elizabeth Warren points out, “highly paid corporate lawyers … go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment (of disputes) the next.” Thus a French company sued Egypt after Egypt raised its minimum wage, and Philip Morris is suing countries for attempting to reduce smoking rates.
For the Pacific Northwest, the TPP would provide the framework for corporations to sue First Nations: the Lummi Nation in Washington state for protesting the proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point; the Salish people for objecting to oil trains traveling across the Swinomish reservation; and whoever stands in the way of exporting liquefied natural gas to Japan.
The most recent IPPC report states that most of that coal, oil and gas has to stay in the ground if our children and grandchildren are to inherit a world in which they can survive. The TPP would enable huge swathes of the Pacific Northwest coastline to be turned into industrial wastelands; the poisoning of water tables at source of extraction; and the rapid acceleration of game-over for human habitability of the planet.
Naomi Klein notes that we are already living in “decade zero,” i.e., that we have less than 10 years to derail the relentlessly increasing ‘”for profit” extractivism which has brought humanity to this precipice. The last 25 years have proven beyond all reasonable doubt, that a fundamental inability to put people before profit is locked into the DNA of the corporate way of doing business. Since James Hansen testified before Congress in 1989 that global warming was real and was already happening, temperature records have been broken year in year out, in lock-step with record use of fossil fuels, record levels of greenhouse gases being dumped into the atmosphere along with record profits for big oil, et al. Rejecting TPP is a step in the right direction of dismantling the suicide bomb of fossil fuel.
Danbert Nobacon, Twisp