A national embarrassment

The NRA's reaction to the horrific Newtown slaughter of schoolchildren and their guardians reveals more about its self-delusion than about the shooter's deluded behavior. This handmaiden of the gun industry encourages us to believe we are reverting to frontier lawlessness except for individual facility with personal weaponry.

The individual's firepower was far more meager in Revolutionary times, so the Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms conditioned upon maintaining a well-trained militia.

Evidently, however, today's gun fabulists imagine themselves in an arms race, individual bulwarks against imminent domestic tyranny and deadly personal attacks. Although a good hunter needs only a bow or bolt-action .30-06 to bag a deer, the subtext of today's NRA propaganda cynically ennobles gun owners not as self-reliant family providers but as heroes before the fact, a brotherhood of patriotic knights, somehow ready to react decisively, alone or en masse, to a hazy montage of governmental threats to national integrity. The gun, especially the semiautomatic military variety, is thus hyped as a mythic icon of potency, an a priori badge of courage and resolve — imagery especially directed to the romantic conceits of adolescence.

No wonder unstable personalities resort lethally to high-powered weapons as ultimate problem solvers. — Gary R. Collins, Jacksonville

2013 waste zero challenge

It's a new year and time for resolutions. We often resolve to exercise more, be kinder, or lose weight. Consider striving to generate less trash.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Reduce or eliminate disposables (items designed to be used once),
  • Bring your own mug
  • Drink local tap water in reusable containers
  • Choose washable napkins, silverware, glasses and plates
  • Bring bags, and choose products minimally packaged
  • Choose products with recycled content: paper, clothes, shoes, metal, plastics
  • Use both sides of a sheet of paper
  • Recycle and compost
  • Never pour anything hazardous down a storm drain
  • Choose the least toxic product available
  • Ride a bike, walk, take the bus or carpool whenever possible
  • Use it up, wear it out, pass it on or do without it

This partial list may provide some guidance. Team up with your household, school, business, athletics and organizations to strive toward these achievable changes. I look forward to helping you troubleshoot the challenges and celebrate the accomplishments. We can do this, and together we can do it a little faster.

May 2013 move you closer toward all that you aspire to be. — Risa Buck, waste zero specialist. Recology Ashland Sanitary Service

Thank the policyholders

I see in the paper that Regence BlueCross made a generous $1.8 million donation pledge that will benefit several local charities.

Before thanking them for their generosity, you should know that their policyholders are facing rate increases beginning Jan. 1, 2013. Maybe we should be thanking the policyholders, since they are the ones who are really paying more so that those contributions can be made statewide.

By the way, Jackson County will receive only $15,700, divided among three charities, while the remaining $1,784,300 goes to the other 55 recipients. So now, not only are people forced into carrying insurance but will be supporting whatever nonprofits the insurer chooses as well. — Sheryl Leffler, Central Point

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