Gun-free zones don't protect students
To the editor:
At the Oct. 18 School Board meeting, I was dismayed by the attitude of the District's legal advisor and a few others toward those who have gone through the extensive background check and training to legally carry a concealed firearm.
The majority of the School Board members understand that an armed maniac can be stopped by an armed citizen or teacher, and I applaud them for their common sense. They have decided to investigate the issue further instead of making an uninformed or ill-advised decision.
The police do an outstanding job, but they can't be everywhere.
Law-abiding citizens, including teachers and school staff, should be
able to protect children, if they take the steps to do so. Even the
belief that someone in the building might be armed has a deterrent
effect. A "Gun Free Zone" gives criminals an unnecessary advantage and
Later I was reading an article on the "gun buyback programs" that ask
people to sell their guns and only rely on the police. The writer asked
what would happen if they went a step further and asked people to sell
their fire extinguishers and only rely on the Fire Department. Would
people think this was a "reasonable option," or would they call this a
callous disregard for the safety of the community?
Limiting the options to fight a fire is ridiculous and even criminal.
When the Baker High School burned in 1989, a sprinkler system might
have made a big difference. In the end, the Fire Department, with the
aid of large construction equipment, tore into the building to reach
the fire and the fire destroyed much of the building because of wasted
When seconds count, firefighters and police are just minutes away.
Someone on the scene with a fire extinguisher, a fire hose or a firearm
can be the difference between life and death.
In a fire, there is a good chance to evacuate the students. With a
deranged person with a gun, bomb or knife, that option might not be
Is climate change bill too high?
To the editor:
For the past couple of months, a debate has been going on in the
letters to the editor sections of our local newspapers. On one side,
there are those who believe the theory that human-caused global
warming, unless checked, "threatens human existence on Earth," while I
believe the studies which show that in the past, mankind actually
thrived during the times when the world was a warmer place than it is
This debate may seem academic to you, Gentle Reader, but the theory of
catastrophic global warming has already had a profound impact upon your
wallet and your life. Billions of your tax dollars have been spent
subsidizing wind farms, solar panels and biofuels. But electricity from
these "renewable resources" is four times more expensive than that from
conventional power plants. That more costly electricity appears on your
monthly power bill. Adding ethanol to gasoline increases the cost of
your motor fuel but reduces your gas mileage.
The theory of catastrophic global warming gives the federal government
an excuse to micromanage your lives, dictating such things as what kind
of a light bulb to usein your lamps, what size car you'll drive, what
fuel to put in it, and so on.
But wait! There's more! In 2009, the Waxman Markey Bill was introduced
in Congress. This bill would authorize the federal government to
severely limit the amount of carbon dioxide produced in this country.
President Obama, who supported the bill, admitted that it would cause
the cost of energy to increase significantly. Our last three recessions
were triggered by sharp increases in the price of petroleum. Waxman
Markey would have the same unfortunate effect on our economy.
The theory of catastrophic global warming says that this economic pain
is necessary to avoid the disastrous effects of global warming. Yet
climatologists estimate that Waxman Markey would reduce global
temperatures in 2050 by only 0.1andordm;!
And the expenses go on.
So, you high-priced climate change alarmists, answer me this: if global
warming threatens human existence on Earth, why do historians call the
warmest periods in human history climactic "optimums?"
Our goal is simple: Safe schools
To the editor:
The first issue in schools is safety. Some information from the Center
for Disease Control from 1999 to 2007: There were 27,270 deaths by
firearm to persons 19 or less for all reasons; 1,515 deaths that are
deemed unintentional; 7,765 in that same group deemed suicide. In the
last 37 years in about 100,000 schools and colleges there have been 109
armed incidents killing 206 persons; that is 109 incidents in about 3.7
million school years. Armed incidents are very rare in any one locality
but widely reported.
Chaos Theory in simple terms: "In any system, the more parts there are,
the more parts can fail." When applied to student safety and guns, more
guns mean more ways for a gun incident. This is the formula used by
insurance. Reasonable people will draw their own conclusions.
Our advisors are: PACE risk management, the state school boards
association and the district counsel. They all give the same advice.
Second issue, then, and their advice; follow the law, choose the option
that is the safest. The federal Gun-Free Zone Act is law of the land,
challenged in court and found to be constitutional at the national
level. Oregon statute 166.170 defines the right for gun-control by the
Oregon Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly wrote statute
166.370 that defines weapons carried in a public building as a Class C
Felony and provides exceptions to restrictions on legal carry in public
buildings. The exceptions are persons performing their legally defined
duties, persons with concealed carry permits and persons given special
permission by a responsible authority. Finally, statute 339.315
implements, in Oregon, the Gun-Free Zone Act.
Medford School District made a rule that employees, contractors and
volunteers could not bring guns to school, a safety issue. In 2009 the
Oregon courts found the Medford School District rule is constitutional
and the concealed carry permit exception can be removed for employees,
contractors and volunteers in Oregon public schools; making schools
statistically safer. The Oregon University System case does not involve
an employee and does not apply.
The district follows the local, state and federal laws. The documents
printed in the media are for board deliberations, not for distribution.
The actual rule in use can be acquired on request. The cited laws and
court cases define the current status of our district administrative
rules and the legal reasons for them.
We seek safe schools.
Baker Schools Superintendent