Letters to the editor for February 20, 2013

By Observer Upload February 20, 2013 08:20 am



Outlawing clips won’t eliminate shootings

To the Editor:

It seems axiomatic that when a person takes political office, state or federal, some sort of brainwashing occurs that turns them into politicians, by eliminating common sense and leaving their moral system, if they had any, at the door. The case in point is the outlawing of clips (removable magazines) containing more than 10 rounds for a gun. 

First, it should be noted that in the recent school shootings, deplorable as they were, at least 10 or 11 existing laws were violated. What is the sense of adding a few more that can easily be ignored by those with criminal intent? 

Second, a number of clips can be carried by a shooter. When a clip is exhausted, you simply push a button on the side of the gun, and the clip falls out. Inserting another clip is so easy and fast that a person can continue shooting with hardly a pause.

Lastly, it is not the ordinary law-abiding citizen that is the problem. It is usually an unbalanced person using a gun not his own. If the politicians, who are supposed to be representing us, want to do something useful, they can ban violent movies, video games and even books. The entertainment industry has a powerful influence on society. 

Other useful tips that won’t be heeded: eliminate state and federal funding of abortion. That would save more children’s lives than anything. Reduce 50,000 deaths per year from traffic accidents (lower speed limits, mandatory prison sentence and permanent loss of driver’s license for drunk driving). Encourage more honest citizens to own and carry guns.

Lastly, get some politicians with half a brain.

Richard Beverly




Time to rethink potential of rail right-of-way

To the Editor:

David Arnold, vice president of the Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates, has joined a state committee to help update Oregon’s State Rail Plan (Observer, Feb. 11, “All about trains”). Hopefully, he can lead the way in returning Amtrak service to La Grande. 

Our town and particularly my senior generation need Amtrak to facilitate getting to airports, jobs, hospital appointments, metropolitan entertainment or children and grandchildren. We’re getting too old to hop freights.

But railroad romance is dying with the senior generation and with it the appeal of tourist trains. The Wallowa Union Railroad Authority made gallant efforts to make the Wallowa Union Railroad a success. It has brought much pleasure to the people who have ridden it.

But it has always struggled and recently suffered a serious setback.  The train has had 10 years to take hold. Now it’s time to rethink the potential of our spectacular 63-mile right-of-way between Elgin and Joseph.

Those not raised with Lionel trains generally haven’t developed the railroad mystic. They vacation in hot spots for non-motorized recreation. Our counties have benefited greatly from Cycle Oregon. More and more people are attracted to the Scenic Roadside Bike Trail newly designated in Union and Baker counties.

If our counties’ awesome right-of-way became a Rails to Trails pathway, Wallowa and Union counties would very likely become a national bikers’ destination. Bicyclists put Moab, Utah, on the U.S. map. Biking could transform our area as well.  

Many new jobs would be created starting with the salvaging of the rails and ties and building the trail. Salvage alone would bring in approximately $4 million. Once completed, the trail’s ripple effect would create a wide assortment of jobs, many outdoors, which longtime locals are looking for to replace lost traditional jobs.

Bring your ideas to the next Wallowa Union Rail Authority meeting at 5 p.m. Monday in Elgin City Hall. The last meeting was well attended by people supporting Rails to Trails. Let’s continue to show support.

Mary McCracken

Island City



Health care struggles continue to be daunting

To the Editor:

Each year as I attend the annual gathering of Impact 100, I am struck with the requests to help people who are struggling to obtain and pay for medical care. Even with the federal legislation commonly called Obamacare, millions of Americans will still be uninsured or underinsured. 

Why is health care in the world’s most “advanced” country still unattainable for so many? Our system of for-profit insurance companies is wasteful and inefficient.  

Oregonians have a chance to create a better system. Health Care for All-Oregon, HCAO, is a statewide grassroots effort to change Oregon’s Constitution to include health care as a human right and to find a way for all Oregonians to have health care throughout our state. Go to http://oregonrural.org/our-work/health-care-reform/ to educate yourself about this important issue and become a part of this important change.

Carol Lauritzen

La Grande



This bullying stuff has got to stop

To the Editor:

I am writing because this bullying stuff has got to stop. Look at what it has done once again. 

Parents, do you sit down with your kids and talk to them about bullying? About how some people may be born with birth defects, people may be heavy, may be mentally challenged, may be gay, may be different? Doesn’t mean that they deserve to be bullied, made fun of, or treated differently. 

This young man seemed to be a very kind person, and it is awful that he was bullied so badly that he felt he had no choice but to end his life. We are all God’s children. 

We as parents need to see what our kids are watching on television, video games and the computer. 

How horrible for his parents to have to go through this. I feel so bad for them. The ones responsible for this — I only hope that if you have children it doesn’t happen to you. We shouldn’t make fun of people or be cruel to anyone. Be nice to people. This is the way it should be. 

My thoughts and prayers go out to Jadin’s friends and family. 

Robin Morin