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The Observer welcomes letters to the editor. Letters are limited to 350 words and must be signed and carry the author’s address and phone number (for verification purposes only).

We edit letters for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We will not publish poetry, consumer complaints against businesses or personal attacks against private individuals. Thank-you letters are discouraged.

Letter writers are limited to one letter every two weeks.

Email your letters to news@lagrandeobserver.com or mail them to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850.

My Voice

My Voice columns should be 500 words. Submissions should include a portrait-type photograph of the author. Authors also should include their full name, age, occupation and relevant organizational memberships.

We edit submissions for brevity, grammar, taste and legal reasons. We reject those published elsewhere.

Send columns to La Grande Observer, 1406 5th St., La Grande, Ore., 97850, fax them to 541-963-7804 or email them to acutler@lagrandeobserver.com .

Joseph: Community should support Union Library levy

To the Editor:

I am writing to encourage Union voters to pass the levy to fund our Union Carnegie Public library. Some might believe that the digital age has made public libraries a thing of the past, but there is so much our library and librarian offer our community.

Union Library offers computer and Internet access, DVDs, audiobooks, large-print books, access to a printer, movies, computer games, puzzles, magazines and, perhaps most important, the Summer Reading Program for kids. Summer reading is important for students to keep up their reading ability and improve language skills
during break. The kids also enjoy arts and crafts, all absolutely free. The program provides all kids safe, educational fun throughout the summer.

Louise, our librarian is friendly and helpful. She helps find materials, requests books from other libraries, helps people with the computers and keeps our library running, plus much more.

Our public library is a safe and friendly place to gather, meet people, read and learn. Please keep our library open for us all to use and enjoy

Letha Joseph


Morrison: Deaths the price we must pay to guarantee our right to bear arms

To the Editor:

This past week, the news was all about the Las Vegas shooting in which more than 50 concertgoers were killed and 500 more wounded by a high-rise hotel shooter. Songwriter Suzanne Vega’s line seems to describe the situation well: “It’s a one-time thing. It just happens. A lot.”

It’s easy to feel concern for the Las Vegas victims — the needless deaths, the pointless lasting physical and emotional injuries, the trauma experienced by those killed and by the survivors. Unfortunately, events like these always trigger the same tired arguments about Second Amendment rights. Some people will insist, again, that guns should be regulated — after all, people must get licenses to drive legally. They are tested to show that they know how to drive and that they know the laws regarding the operation of motor vehicles before they can get a license. Car owners are required to register their vehicles and to notify the state when a vehicle is sold. The anti-gun advocates will argue, again, that guns and gun owners should be regulated, just like cars and drivers are regulated.

Such people miss the point. They seem unable to understand that guns are different than cars, in more ways than just being more deadly. In moments like this, the important thing is to remember the constitutional issues involved. We all know that the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution provides that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The wording of this amendment clearly shows that the founding fathers intended that there be no background checks, no gun registration and no restrictions whatsoever on the transfer or sale of guns, up to and including semiautomatic weapons. Our constitutional right to own guns, unfettered, is virtually God-given (even if the men who wrote the Constitution were not really all that religious). Questioning the amendment that gives us our right to bear arms, or its interpretation, really should be a crime.

The Second Amendment is what safeguards our rights as Americans, and our freedoms. This is proven by the fact that no other country has our Second Amendment, and that no other country is free. The Second Amendment is what protects the citizens of this country from government overreach. This is obvious from the number of times we have needed to take up arms against our own government, with the result that our government no longer overreaches.

And it’s not like we haven’t been here before. Scores of people have already been killed in shootings, at Columbine, at Thurston, at Virginia Tech, in Orlando, at Sandy Hook, in San Bernadino, at Umpqua Community College, in San Ysidro, at Fort Hood.

Such deaths are simply the price we must pay to guarantee that the free
exercise of our constitutional right to bear arms is never restricted in any way. The real danger of shootings like the one in Las Vegas is that they may cause people to ask why their right to personal safety isn’t at least as important as other people’s right to bear arms.

Anne Morrison

La Grande

Shepherd: How troubled
is America?

To the Editor:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a study that
110 million Americans are infected with at least one sexually transmitted disease.

The incidence of gonorrhea increased 22 percent in men in just one year and is becoming antibiotic resistant.

Last year, syphilis rates increased by 18 percent generally and 28 percent among newborns.

USA Today reported that nearly 50 percent of black 23-year-old males and 40 percent of white males already have a criminal record.

Opioid addiction has reached an epidemic, and of 44 percent of adults who smoke weed, 51 percent are parents.

Forty-four million Americans depend on food stamps and 49 million Americans (or 19.4 percent) are considered disabled.

Educationally, American schools are failing, even though we spend more than any other nation. American students ranked 30th (out of 35) in math and 19th in science compared with their peers abroad. And locally, only 26 percent of our high school students are proficient in math and 49 percent in science.

What can save our nation? Turning back to God. The Bible says, “Righteousness exalts a nation” but “the outcome of sin is death.” A return to Godliness will save us from our troubles and restore American greatness.

John Shepherd