GUNS IN THE USA
As a Springsteen fan, I’m offended by your Nov. 29 cover. This image must somehow fit with the wacky worldview of EW staff, but it in no way fits with Springsteen’s music or stated political views. Couldn’t you have found someway to use Ted Nugent on your cover instead?
Born in the U.S.A., Aaron Toneys, Eugene
EDITOR’S NOTE: Baby, we were born to pun!
I’m writing in response to “Another Deadly Winter,” Gwendolyn Iris’s letter in the Nov. 21 EW. She bemoans the fact that the Occupiers were “tricked” into complying with a shutdown order a year ago, that the promises the city government made to help the homeless have not been made good. I have to ask: Did she honestly expect anything to go differently?
Occupy Eugene caved. We surrendered. We made a strong start, but then we shuffled our feet, mumbled embarrassed apologies, moved around a few times to avoid inconveniencing anyone, and finally scattered when the city authorities starting tapping their feet impatiently. It was a complete failure as a movement of civil resistance. I stopped taking Occupy seriously last November, and I helped organize the initial Occupation at Park Blocks. Why on Earth would the invested officers of capital in this city take us seriously when we had proven that we would, under no circumstances, actually stand up for anything? That the mere threat of police action was enough to get us to back down? I’m sure the City Council made whatever promises they felt were necessary to minimize blow-back to their political careers, then when it was over, heaved a sigh of relief and never gave it a second thought.
If you want to force change through civil disobedience, you kind of have to, you know, disobey. Undermine the legitimacy of civil authority and force them to expose themselves as the violent agents of capital that they are. The city of Eugene figured out quickly that Occupy Eugene did not have the spine for confrontation, and killed us with false kindness and empty promises. And we made it easy for them. If 200 Occupiers had joined Gwendolyn and chained themselves to City Hall, it would have garnered a lot more attention than a “Happening People” spot in EW. If we had done it again and again and again, filled the jail with our bodies and the newspapers with our stories, maybe it’s the city that would have lost will and backed down.
I hope this serves as a lesson that you cannot achieve revolutionary change by complying with cease and desist orders. Gwendolyn obviously knows this; I just wish Occupy had backed her up when we had the chance.
Steve McAllister, Communist Party, USA, Eugene
BULLETS WILL FLY
Allowing untrained, or under-trained persons to carry loaded hidden handguns in public puts Oregonians at risk of being killed or injured, intentionally and unintentionally [see cover story, 11/29]. It also makes it harder for law enforcement to identify the real perpetrators during a shooting. Allowing more people to carry concealed handguns in densely populated areas like downtown Eugene, in crowded malls, on buses and sports stadiums, is a recipe for disaster.
Curtis Taylor, Eugene
David Piccioni [Letters, 11/22] asserts that climate change will “destroy civilization” and that corporations “are making our planet unlivable.” What will destroy civilization is overpopulation and those responsible for making our planet unlivable are the people making babies beyond replacement numbers.
Jerry Ritter, Springfield
THE CRIMINAL MEDIA
This article [on Project Censored 11/21] really rang a bell with me. To this day I have an absolute hatred of the “press” and the media for the under-reporting or no reporting about blacks, Asians, Hispanics and all other groups who contributed to this great nation while I was growing up. By the time I graduated from high school (1954) I was completely brainwashed. I volunteered to be drafted into the Army in October 1954 and found out we are all pretty much the same.
The media and the press really suck. It’s all brainwashing. Professional journalism is dead. Why should the media and the press be allowed to “hide” behind the Constitution? Shouldn’t they be held to some kind of standard — or lose the protection of the Constitution?
Perhaps only reporting part of a story should be considered a lie. And not reporting a story should be considered negligence — perhaps criminal negligence? Perhaps the all local papers should be become public utilities? Everyone would get a copy of the paper and the cost would show up on utility bills. With lots of public participation.
Frank Skipton, Springfield
If we want to be patriotic and support the American economy, create jobs and all that, shouldn’t we be banning second-hand stores and recycling centers? Isn’t “Buy it new, use it once and throw it away” much better for the economy? Further, shouldn’t we prohibit publicly available instructions for using or repairing any kind of equipment, other than what comes in the box? Oh wait, I forgot, that’s pretty much already done. Go looking for instructions for most anything electronic or otherwise high-tech and you’re much more likely to find an ad for buying it, as well as for buying a competing product.
Could it be that “economy” isn’t quite the right word here?
Dan Robinson, Eugene
OUR GUN CULTURE
Regarding “Born to Gun” [cover story 11/29]: America’s gun culture harbors the enemy within. It began when manufacturing interests swayed the outcome of governmental appointments, ensuring that judicial interpretations were biased in their favor. Hence, the subject of the Second Amendment has been ignored.
The Second Amendment is one paragraph with one sentence, with one subject: “a well regulated militia.” Two subordinate clauses briefly describe the subject’s necessity and its nature: “security of a free state,” and “people’s right to keep and bear arms.” The sentence ends with a verb phrase. It describes an action not to be imposed upon the subject: “shall not be infringed.”
Article 1, Section 8 of the original Constitution describes the subject of the Second Amendment: “Congress shall have power … to provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” The right to bear arms, individually, has not only been taken out of context, it has no context with the original Constitution.
Manufacturing companies, in their pursuit to maximize profits, have acquired, controlled, and protected markets; consumer choices are handed down corporately and controlled politically. Even though the Second Amendment is more fat than pork, it has enabled manufacturing companies to thrive, but thriving in a sick culture that has perforated the nation with fear is the bane of free market enterprise.
Jon Meadow, Eugene
Per the letter “We Can Do More” by Eliot Treichel [11/29]: Yes, Yes, yes. Our Willamette River has changed from an industrial sewer into potentially Lane County’s largest recreational resource. Now much cleaner with restored habitats, it should be a top priority in developing environmental awareness and recreation. Kayaking and rafting are clean participatory sports that encourage stewardship and care for the river, but also could generate millions in income with a whitewater park, events, classes and tourism.
We have a major opportunity perhaps by replacing the hazardous low head dam remnants upstream of the new I-5 bridge with a safe, fun whitewater park. With bridge construction already on site, replacing a public danger with a skill-building water safety facility now would make sense.
Mark Murphy, Creswell
SOCIETY’S DIRTY WORK
I agree with Curtis Taylor, Ken Barnhart and others who have pointed out to EW readers that euthanasia is unfortunately a tragic necessity. It’s simple math: There are too many companion animals and not enough good adoptive homes. Many people breed animals intentionally or fail to prevent them from bringing unplanned litters into a world that is bursting at the seams with unwanted animals!
The result? Between six and eight million unwanted dogs and cats are dumped at animal shelters in the U.S. each year, and between three and four million must be put to death. Even worse are the fates of animals who suffer on the streets or are trapped at the end of a chain in a lonely backyard.
As long as animals are still purposely bred and people aren’t spaying and neutering their companions, open-admission animal shelters and organizations like PETA must do society’s dirty work.
Please, if you care about animals, help prevent more of them from being born only to end up chained and left to waste away in people’s backyards, suffering on mean streets where people kick at them or shoo them away like garbage, tortured at the hands of animal abusers, or, alas, euthanized in animal shelters for lack of a good home. If you want to save lives, always have your animals spayed or neutered.
Abby McDonald, Springfield
JUST TALKING POINTS
As Rae LaMarche notes in a recent letter [11/29], the whole truth is often missing in the discussion of the Palestinians. Unfortunately, her letter commits the same error, for it is simply a compilation of common talking points from members of the Israeli government. She writes that more than 800 rockets have been fired from Gaza this year; but fails to point out that until the recent fracas the last killing in this manner was in October 2011.
There can be no doubt that such events frighten Israelis living in Sderot, that they are outrageous and constitute a war crime as designated by the 1949 Geneva Convention. (I can’t help but note that, fortunately, such things were not war crimes when the Greatest Generation was killing Japanese and Germans by the millions.) But I would ask what would you expect the residents of Gaza to do, besieged as they are in a giant lager (see the Anglo-Boer war)? He is upset that an IDF jeep was destroyed in November; but Israel often defends its military actions as acts of war, and surely this attack can be so described.
She is upset that Hamas does not provide bomb shelters, but fails to note that Gaza has a population of 1.7 million, is an economic basket case, and Israel sharply limits shipments of concrete. They have a good reason for this, for they are concerned that it would be used to build bunkers to shelter military units; but it is surely unseemly when an Israeli government official raises this very criticism.
And finally she is upset that military units hide in civilian areas. Good point. Surely what they should do is put military units in areas distant from civilians, and then the Israeli Air Force could easily destroy them in a single afternoon. An ironic variation on the famous Masada suicide in around 73 CE.
John Buckmaster, Eugene
A BALANCED GOVERNMENT
Why should the middle class have to suffer from the pledges the Republicans made to Grover Norquist, a man with less influence than the president?
I am a senior and my total income a month is $200 over the poverty level. I have worked for 45 years. If the Republicans in Congress would drop their pledges and raise taxes on the super wealthy, the middle tax cuts could go into effect.
I would feel more secure as an individual living in a balanced government knowing my Medicare and Social Security was paid for and I could enjoy retirement with a government that honored and respected the work I put into the system.
Sherry M. Joiner, Portland