The Siuslaw news. (Florence, Lane County, Or.) 1960-current, February 21, 2018, WEDNESDAY EDITION, Page 4A, Image 4

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    4 A
❘ FEBRUARY 21, 2018
Siuslaw News
P.O. Box 10
Florence, OR 97439
Mass shootings will continue until
we address the real smoking gun
One day before 19-year-old
Nikolas Cruz murdered 15 stu-
dents and two teachers, and
injured 13 others during his
mass shooting spree at Marjory
Stoneman Douglas High
School in Parkland, Fla., 18-
year-old Joshua Alexander
O’Connor had been preparing
to carry out his own mass
shooting at ACES Alternative
High in Everett, Wash., after
choosing the school on the flip
of a coin.
According to court records
that included entries from his
journal, O’Connor wrote that
he “[Couldn’t] wait to walk
into that class and blow all
those f---ers away.”
The Washington teen was
arrested Tuesday, Feb. 13, by
Everett Police after his grand-
mother reported to authorities
that she had discovered plans
for the mass shooting in her
grandson’s journal, along with
a semiautomatic rifle hidden in
a guitar case.
The town of Everett is just
miles from Marysville, Wash.,
where, in 2014, freshman
Jaylen Fryberg lured four stu-
dents around a lunch table at
Marysville Pilchuck High
School and gunned them down
before killing himself.
A recent study of World
Health Organization (WHO)
data published in the American
Journal of Medicine showed
that, among high-income
nations, 91 percent of children
ages 14 and younger who were
killed by bullets lived in the
United States. According to
WHO, more youth were killed
violent criminal or mental his-
tory, and requiring all gun
owners to be certified and
licensed, I also believe that
guns are not the problem —
They are the symptom of a
much larger epidemic threaten-
ing our society more than guns,
opioids or partisan discourse.
From the Editor’s Desk
by gunfire (1,637) in 2016 than
during any year in the past mil-
Naturally, the call for
stricter gun regulations and
tighter security measures at our
schools has once again risen to
the top of our nation’s con-
sciousness as the debate
between the need to protect our
Second Amendment rights
goes head-to-head with the
need to protect our children —
and society as a whole —
against those who would abuse
those rights.
And while I do believe in
common-sense gun regulations
like banning high-capacity
magazines and bump stock
modifications, creating a uni-
versal background check and
centralized recordkeeping sys-
tem of gun purchases, barring
the sale of guns to those with a
The real smoking gun is our
growing lack of connection.
It’s no small irony that in the
“age of communication” the
divide between people is grow-
ing and, along with it, a sense
of mental and social isolation.
Studies show that the more
time we spend on social media
with politically or ideological-
ly likeminded people, the less
fulfilled we feel and the less
engaged we become within our
own family, neighborhoods,
schools and communities.
It’s a shift in our culture
over the past decade from
which we are only now begin-
ning to see the effects —
beginning with our children,
who sadly have become the
canaries in our collective coal
And not just in the U.S.
Last week, the United
Kingdom recognized what it
described as “an epidemic of
isolationism and loneliness
impacting communication at
community levels across the
nation.” As a result, Britain
has taken the unprecedented
step of appointing a minister of
loneliness, Tracy Crouch, to
address the challenge.
The trend of having fewer
social connections on a com-
munity level — whether it be
in school, at work or in social
circles — is something former
U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek
Murthy says impacts self-
empathize and leads to more
likelihood of depression.
While it’s true that we have
more ways than ever before to
communicate, it doesn’t mean
we are communicating better.
We need to recognize that our
devices are proving to be just
that: Divisive.
Though I support the pas-
sage of stricter gun regulations
and the need for increased
security in our schools, they
are only short-term solutions to
a long-term problem that will
persist until we are willing to
recognize that each of us is
already holding the smoking
Write Siuslaw News editor Ned
Hickson at nhickson@thesiuslaw or c/o Siuslaw News, 148
Maple St., Florence, Ore. 97439.
❘ 541-902-3520 ❘
The First Amendment
ongress shall make no law respecting an estab-
lishment of religion or prohibiting the free exer-
cise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of
the press, or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances.
USPS# 497-660
Copyright 2017 © Siuslaw News
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This is a letter to the quiet heroes, the
positive role models, the wise and good
Thank you to the people who (twice)
returned my wallet when I lost it at Fred
Thank you to River City Taxi for its
care of aged and disabled in transport-
ing for medical needs.
Thanks to the person who donated a
sum to enable low-income folks to
afford a community garden bed (peas,
spinach, strawberries and more).
Thanks to the folks who clean up
after their dogs.
Thanks to the folks who don’t let
their wood fires smolder day and night,
poisoning their neighbors’ air.
Thanks to the people who don’t leave
their dogs out on cold nights, and who
provide a warm place for humans who
have no where to go on those same cold
And thanks for this newspaper.
With so much focus on the negative,
I thought it would be a nice change to
remember the good within our commu-
—Carol Green
I feel I must respond to the angry let-
ter from Jill Rizk (“Animals Also Have
Right to Live,” Feb. 14). I feel she is
misinformed about the residents in
Greentrees Village and would like to set
the record straight.
Greentrees has 567 homes with close
to 800 residents. Many of the people
spoken so angrily about in the Letter to
the Editor are just as heartbroken over
the euthanasia of those bears.
Greentrees had no part in that decision
and didn’t know it was going to happen
until after the ODFW did it.
Our residents respected the bears and
enjoyed seeing them when they visited.
Residents were continually warned in
the Greentrees Newsletter, at board
meetings and by their district represen-
tatives about not feeding the bears or
leaving things out haphazardly. They
were also told not to put their garbage
out until right before the garbage trucks
There may be the occasional individ-
ual who would ignore the warnings or
would be careless, just like others in
Florence can be sometimes.
Greentrees has always had bears
because they return to their birth areas,
and also because of the close proximity
of the dump, as well as the landfill that
had been there before it.
The range of the bears includes the
dump, airport area, animal shelter,
Greentrees itself and the hospital.
We have all learned to live with the
bears and cherish them as part of our
beautiful life experience here. It was
those 800 residents of Greentrees
Village who, along with other citizens
of Florence, fought for months to get
the bike path done in the way it is now.
The original plan would have devas-
tated the foliage and vegetation that was
the animal habitat for all wildlife in the
area, including those magnificent bears.
It was my understanding that when the
necropsy was performed, they found
garbage from Spruce Point and the hos-
pital in their stomachs.
I would ask that instead of condemn-
ing the people of Greentrees, look into
the big picture. I would think, living in
bear country, that all facilities in the
area would have bear-proof containers,
as well as educate residents as they have
in Greentrees.
—Vickie J. Martin
Greentrees resident
Pres. Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461
TTY/TDD Comments:
Gov. Kate Brown
160 State Capitol
900 Court St.
Salem, Ore. 97301-4047
Governor’s Citizens’ Rep.
Message Line:
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden
221 Dirksen Senate Office
Washington, DC 20510
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley
313 Hart Senate Office
Washington, DC 20510
202-224-3753/FAX: 202-
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio
( 4 th Dist.)
2134 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
State Sen. Arnie Roblan
( Dist. 5 )
900 Court St. NE - S-417
Salem, OR 97301
FAX: 503-986-1080
Email: Sen.ArnieRoblan@
State Rep. Caddy
( Dist. 9 )
900 Court St. NE
Salem, OR 97301
Email: rep.caddymckeown
West Lane County
Jay Bozievich
125 E. Eighth St.
Eugene, OR 97401
FAX: 541-682-4616