Guns, race relations, and the plastics plague

Second Amendment

Guns are the virus

Again, we are faced with children and teachers dying in the assumed safety of their school. And, again, we hear the NRA and those with the most extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment say guns don’t kill.  

Please consider a pandemic analogy: 

A deadly virus enters a country via an unsuspecting, but infected, host (a gun with live rounds enters a school through a deliberate move of a possibly ill or evil individual). The virus spreads to other unwitting people (the gunman shoots children and teachers). Would you say the virus is the ultimate killer? Are not bullets, shot by guns, also killers?  With the virus, safety procedures — vaccinations, handwashing, masking, social distancing — limit the spread of the disease.  This epidemic of shootings likewise calls for a multi-pronged approach.   

While we will still have sick or evil people, it is imperative they don’t have the capability to kill large numbers of people. If we don’t have the courage to ban military weapons, have age limits, background checks and waiting periods, let’s restrict the sale of ammunition. What has happened to common sense and working together to protect one another? 

Trudi Diffendaffer, Creswell 

Make your voice heard 

I would like to encourage everyone to sign Initiative Petition 17. It’s about time the people were allowed to vote on what kind of gun laws we would like, instead of allowing our politicians to make those decisions for us.  

While I would personally like even stricter gun laws, at least this petition is a start to making our gun laws safer. They are common-sense laws; they’re not trying to take your guns from you! 

You can go to, read the petition and they provide a form that you can sign and mail. 

It’s time our voices are heard. 

Allison Coles, Eugene 

Give these guns to Ukraine 

Come on, America, look at what they have done in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many of the countries of the world who have been faced with the same kind of senseless killing that we are continuing to see in the United States.  

We must ban these weapons of war from open possession. Let’s turn in all those automatic weapons that are designed for a war, not protection, and send them to Ukraine, a country fighting for its life. Turn this giant negative situation we are facing into a positive for a country that desperately needs it. 

Bob Howell, Eugene 

Enter the space 

We should not blame the 19 police officers who entered the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and did not enter the classroom where the children and their teachers were murdered. 

We should not blame them because we are doing exactly the same: In our head we can hear the screams of the children of mass shootings past and future, and we don’t dare to enter the space where we could act to prevent this from happening again and again. 

We don’t enter the space of action because we could get hurt – we could upset others when we speak up. If we were politicians, we may not be elected again.  

Yes, it would take some courage to enter this space. But let us try to anyway. Speak up calmly and in a non-confrontational way and ask the questions: “What gun restriction could you support? A ban of assault weapons? Raising the age for gun ownership and purchasing to 21 years? Close ALL loopholes of background checks?” 

Then let us have a conversation. Let us get out of our comfort zones. We owe it to our children of Uvalde. 

Peter Ganter, Eugene 

Bigger deposits, bigger results 

I am glad to see that more items — Nos. 1 and 2 plastics — can now be put into our recyclin bins. The R-G story states, “Most plastics haven’t been allowed … largely a result of China’s decision to stop buying.” 

The real reason recycling is difficult/impossible is the lack of deposits to pay for the process and the requirement that manufacturers make recyclable containers. 

The current 10-cent deposit on beverage containers results in a 90% return rate. The Recycling Modernization Act of 2021 (effective 2025) is a good start, but universal, large (25 cents) deposits would really work. 

John Fischer, Eugene 

The plague of plastics 

Some plastic containers are back in the “recycling” mix. Before readers shelve their plastic environmental guilt, please know that very few plastics gets recycled anyway. 

Nearly all collected plastics are made into products that are not recyclable. So much for circling little arrows. Plastic recycling is a scam by the oil and chemical industries to avoid meaningful regulations, like mandated plastic container content and reuse, and producer responsibility for the environmental costs of their plastic products.  

And since plastic is a fossil fuel product, avoiding it can and should be done almost entirely. I do it successfully and recommend it. All it takes is persistent looking for alternatives, like bar shampoo for bottled shampoo, and like adopting the plastics I do use as a valuable and very long-lasting “treasure” instead of a throw-away.  

If the price of oil drops again, you won’t see plastics “recycling” in the news again, except for instructions not to put it in your bin anymore. True plastic recycling is a distant dream for scientific researchers, enlightened public service planners and the odd politician who really cares about plastic pollution. For the rest of us, plastics are something to avoid like the plague that they are. 

Jack Taylor, Eugene 

Who’s to blame for US race relations?

USA Today columnist Mike Freeman argues that race relations in the U.S. today are “far worse” after the killing of George Floyd. He blames this on “white nationalism.” I acknowledge this as a factor. 

However, I place more of the blame on two-plus years of mayhem, arson, destruction, looting, assault and vandalism in our cities, much of it tied to the Black Lives Matter movement according to Purdue University’s U.S. Crisis Monitor. These were events Freeman and nearly all the leftist (“mainstream”) media repeatedly characterized as “mostly peaceful.” 

Add to that the rush to wokeness by corporations, the media, the military and government and the rampant cancel culture that has shut down much of free speech in America.  

Add to that the divisive race-based instruction of our children in our schools, against which parents nationwide are finally beginning to rebel. 

Yes, we have a growing race relations problem in America. Notwithstanding the constant mantra of the liberal media, the causes are not one-sided nor one color and the solution(s) cannot be one-sided or one color.  

Jerry Ritter, Springfield 

Kids, these days 

My parents spoiled me outrageously in my youth. Now that I’m 74, I can say, in hind sight, I believe tough love is better than the other kind.  

Erstwhile students, pay off your debt! They were not named “student gifts.” They were named “student loans,” the terms of which must have been disclosed to you when you signed up for them. And if you didn’t read the terms, maybe you shouldn’t have gone to college. If you want to help the country and the world, pay off your debt! Also, while a moratorium is in effect, you have an excellent opportunity to reduce your principal! Last thing, note that the government is $29 trillion in debt. That means all of us are in debt. Please take your debt problem seriously. 

Jon Heritage, Eugene 

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