Veterans with PTSD shouldn’t have gun rights restricted

Mass shootings have sparked a national debate on how to keep firearms out of the hands of those who might go on a rampage. At the same time veterans’ suicides occur at the rate of about 22 per day. I’ve cautioned before that attempts to stop this should be well reasoned out. A knee-jerk reaction has happened just as I predicted. The July issue of the DAV, Disabled American Veteran, magazine has an article, “Caught in the Crossfire,” that should cause outrage. To quote, “in 1998, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms adopted a new procedure that defined ‘mental defective’ to include someone who lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage their own affairs due to injury or disease.’ ”

“For veterans, this means that if a veteran is mentally incompetent and appoints a fiduciary, a prohibiting record is created and sent to the FBI. The FBI enters the veteran’s record in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which contains names of people who are flagged and access to firearms restricted.

“As of the start of 2017, federal agencies had contributed 171,083 records to the system’s index under the new provision enacted by the ATF.”

“The VA contributed 98.1 percent of those, or 167,815.”

It’s a four-page article, much too long for a daily paper, but in a nutshell, if you are a veteran who has served in combat and suffer from PTSD you will have to decide to get help and see a VA mental health provider and lose your gun rights or try to beat it on your own.

I’ve said it before, the VA should be prohibited from adding names of those who used a firearm in defense of the country to any gun banning list and the ATF agents should be encouraged to get a real job with the border patrol.

Steve Culley

Baker City

Watching usable items going to waste in the landfill

We don’t like taking anything to the dump or (an oxymoron if there ever was one) “sanitary landfill” but sometimes it is unavoidable. We scatter our cut grass and fallen leaves around the yard and garden the best we can as mulch and/or a way to stifle unwanted growing things. We try to recycle, compost, reuse and repurpose to the best of our ability but sadly and inevitably we find ourselves with a pickup load of branches, weeds or just plain old accumulated worthless crap at least two or three times a year.

We have never made a trip to any dump, transfer station, landfill ... where we have not seen something discarded that we desperately wanted to rescue. Baker’s landfill is no exception but, as the signs proclaim, “No Salvaging Allowed.” We have always found this policy (at any dump) totally unacceptable, if not downright ridiculous. Being involved in recycled art only intensifies our desire to change this confusing policy.

A week or so ago we made one of those trips to our local landfill. As we were emptying our cans of yard debris a little truck with a trailer backed in next to us. We watched in shock as two adult size mountain bikes and a small child’s bike were tossed from the trailer. They appeared in fine shape, they had all their wheels, tires, seats … even with problems the parts alone were worth salvaging. These were promptly buried in an assortment of reusable wooden boards and topped off with a couple of intact sliding windows (would’ve been perfect for the top of homemade cold frames!) We watched helplessly as the bulldozer combined it with the rest of the rubble and waste. We couldn’t help pointing out, to each other, all the other reusable treasures destined to become a part of the landscape. We understand liability is the concern. We would be the first to sign any release, waiver, contract ... and follow all rules. Seems senseless to bury things others could use. Maybe have a certain day or even just an hour?

Think about it. Peace to all.

Barb and Mike Meyer

Baker City