Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Video games send an awful message about violence

I was horrified by the shootings in Newtown, Conn., on 14 December. I cried many times that weekend as I followed the story and listened to the interfaith service on 16 December.

And then I was outraged when I read the "Best of 2012: Games" (Time magazine, Dec. 24, 2012, page 60). The top five games listed were: Guild Wars 2, Xenoblade Chronicles, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Dishonored, and Assassin's Creed III. Seriously? Thousands of years of civilization; abundant natural, technical and intellectual resources; and the best our society has to offer are these violence-saturated games?

I am not so naive to believe that violent video games are THE cause of real-world violence, but I do believe that they contribute to the problem. Studies show a link between playing violent video games and subsequent aggressive behavior.

I believe that all of us, on some level, accept that video games can influence behavior. I assume that is the reason there are no commercially available games called "Rapist" or "Prostitute" or "Child Abuser." Moral revulsion prevents us from allowing these role-playing games to exist. Why do we have a different standard for murder?

Killing is not a game.

Shoot a person and he bleeds. He is maimed or dies. His family grieves. First responders are haunted by memories. Lives are shattered. There is no reset button.

Killing is not a game.

We don't need legislation to lessen the effect of violent video games. Do not buy these games. Do not rent them. Do not play them. Talk with family and friends about using these games.

Because, killing is not a game.

Barbara Tylka

Baker City

Spend school money on schools, not legal advice

With the election over, we had hope that we could all move on.

Unfortunately, during the District's December meeting, Walt Wegener orchestrated another maneuver. He contacted the Secretary of State's Office and instructed the board to authorize the use of School District funds to consult with legal counsel. This would allow them to start the proceedings of a civil suit against the petitioner in an effort to recover the costs of the election.

You'd think that with all of the challenges and problems we're facing with educating our children they could find better things to do with their time and our money? Maybe they could start by changing the budgeting process that currently "allows" the administration to negotiate contracts prior to having an approved budget, AND one that does not allow public comment until AFTER the budget has been approved.

Perhaps they could figure out how to improve our District's performance in a state whose overall grades and scores rank 42nd and whose K-12 achievement ranks 45th in the nation. Oregon's high school graduation rate is fourth worst in the nation! It wouldn't hurt to discuss ways to improve that. Why do we rank near the bottom in all of these categories yet rank near the top in average salaries?

Five states recently announced that they will be adding at least 300 hours of instructional time to their school calendars. These states are already near the top and are all currently operating on a longer school year than the State of Oregon whose school year ranks second to last in the nation.

Only South Dakota has a shorter school year and, coincidentally, ranks dead last in overall grades and scores. To compound the issue, the administrators and school board have saddled our District with arguably the shortest school year in the nation with a 147 day school year.

We have some of the best teachers, principals, and classified staff around.

However, we have severely handicapped them with bad policy. Now, they're after revenge and pursuing personal vendettas. Advocating for a better educational future for our children will have to wait.

Mike Ogan

Baker City

On the road to Lexington and Concord

We are living in historic times. The country is divided like the period of the American Revolution and the Civil War. The school shooting in Connecticut has brought things to a head. In times like these it is important for Americans to be able to express an opinion, but it's not to be. The only opinions that get a lot of play from the major media come from the talking heads and those in government who have zero experience with firearms. The biggest fool and biggest threat comes from CNN's Peirs Morgan, a foreigner from England who is pushing an English and Australian type of gun control. On the off chance that there are some from the has-been British empire visiting my country I would like you to take this message home.

Mr. Morgan, the Brits underestimated us in 1775 and you are doing it again. Your disarmament agenda is setting us on a road to another Lexington and Concord. You are right, I don't need a so-called assault weapon to hunt. I have one but don't hunt with it. The reason I have one is precisely because the military and police have them. It might sound quaint to you but an armed populace is a barrier to tyranny. Our founders believed it and things have not changed. Human nature is the same as at the time of the revolution and the centuries before. I would offer recent history as proof, the massacre in Tiananmen square, and the massacre of unarmed civilians in Syria right now. Places that could use a Second Amendment. I have no desire to become like England where you can go to jail for life for shooting an intruder in your own home. The Martin case comes to mind. We gun owners were appalled when Australia destroyed 700,000 rifles and shotguns and we know that is your agenda here.

Go back to extolling the virtues of your idiot royalty and keep your British nose out of my business. Better yet go home.

P.S. I would like to thank you for waking up so many gun owners, they are arming themselves at an incredible rate.

Steve Culley