Letters to the Editor for Oct. 24, 2011

By Jayson Jacoby / The Baker City Herald

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

endangers children.

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

time.

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

available.

Jim Thomas

Baker City

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

today.

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?"

Pete Sundin

Baker City

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.

Walt Wegener

Baker Schools Superintendent

13113328
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