Gun control fallacies
The recent shootings at a school and on college campuses expose the fallacy of “gun-free zones” being safety zones. The mentally ill shooters who target these zones are not stupid. They carefully pick their targets and go where they can create the most havoc and have virtually no resistance. They are not concerned with gun laws or restrictions, so more “gun control” is not going to hinder their plans at all.
If we are looking to stop these senseless acts of violence we should look at the people behind the guns. Most have histories of mental illness and many have even boasted of their plans on social media sites prior to actually committing the crimes.
There should be at least one person on campus who can and will defend the helpless with lethal force if required.
Living in a rural area, my right to own a gun is an important personal safety factor. Calling 911 here will get the police to the scene of the crime in time to do cleanup, but not in time to defend me from an intruder or from a criminal attack. My home is not a “gun-free zone” and I do not plan on being a helpless victim.
Chrystal Perrow, Winthrop
There’s a solution
We are all too aware of the 2016 presidential election. But locally, the 2016 election to replace a majority of our county commissioners could have an even greater impact upon everyday life.
Last June, I described a predictable pattern in local politics. When upset by a decision of our commissioners, folks write letters, complain about being the county’s cash cow, file lawsuits, and whisper about “secession.” Time passes, the status quo resumes, and the cycle repeats itself.
During the past three years, clashes between commissioners and the public have increased, including these issues: concessions to monied interests regarding speed limits and vacation of important fire exit roads; proposed relocation of juvenile facilities to Medical Lake; a new comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance ignoring recent wildfire information and protection of existing water rights; and proposed dense development in areas susceptible to extreme wildlife and water shortage.
On Dec. 17, oral arguments are scheduled in Superior Court regarding our new county comprehensive plan and interim zoning. In approval of these regulations, the county ignored not only state law but also public concerns over lack of planning for water availability and plans for dense development in rural areas. The lawsuit by the Methow Valley Citizens’ Council and Futurewise (a statewide organization) has its roots in a bold move by Okanogan County commissioners around eight years ago. After 11 countywide neighborhood groups had met for one to two years on future development issues, the commissioners deleted this citizen input from the new comprehensive plan and its appendix. The plan was finalized last December, ignoring many citizen concerns — including recent information regarding catastrophic wildfire.
Will we grumble and litigate forever, or shall we try something more along the lines of democratic participation? Commissioners need good management skills, listening ability, willingness to learn and seek information, and responsiveness to voters. Promotion of strong personal beliefs favoring privatization of government responsibilities and denial of scientific information are not helpful right now. If someone you know is qualified, think about approaching them. The salary is $59,640-$64,800.
As a judge stated recently, our solution is “in the ballot box.”
Isabelle Spohn, Twisp
Thanks from Edwards family
We, the Edwards family, are blessed to be living in this valley. There are too many people to name who have supported us through this long journey.
Richard, as most of you know, was diagnosed with leukemia in January. After receiving several rounds of chemotherapy, he had a bone marrow transplant in June.
At the end of September, Richard and myself got to come home to our children. They stayed with their grandparents while we were in Seattle. Many years of treatment/recovery are ahead and weekly appointments with doctors. As long as we are home in this valley, time goes quickly.
The Lord has blessed us in so many ways, we are overwhelmed. How do we say thank you to all of you? Besides just … thank you! Our family is more grateful than we could ever express.
Richard, Jennifer, Autumn and Fischer Edwards, Carlton
Calling all health care professionals
Ranked 37th out of 39 Washington state counties in public health according to a respected study, Okanogan County remains in critical need of a secure public health system. Yet, our county commissioners have repeatedly cut the public health budget in recent years.
A new Board of Health will begin its term on Dec. 8. The new Board of Health members, who were appointed by the county commissioners, are Steve Varrelman, a licensed installer of septic systems from Pateros; Larry Zimmerland of Winthrop, who designs onsite septic systems and community water systems; and Mariann Williams, a family nurse practitioner in Oroville. The four existing board members are the three county commissioners and Oroville City Council member Neysa Roley.
Clearly, the apparent lack of public health expertise among most of the board members is a concern. I am calling on all health care providers and administrators in Okanogan County to take an active interest in the struggle to keep our Public Health District viable. We, as health care professionals, need to advocate for promoting health and preventing disease in Okanogan County. Therefore, please attend the Board of Health meeting on Dec. 8, 1 p.m., at the County Health Department. This is an opportunity to meet all the board members and ask each one the question, “How do you propose to maintain, strengthen and fund our Public Health District?”
Charlene Burns, family nurse practitioner, Twisp