Letters 2/8-2/15 | Letters to the Editor | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
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Letters 2/8-2/15 

In Response to, Ladies of Lead (2/9)

Real cowgirls or real facts. The attraction to being one of those strong "Ladies of Lead" like the one in the photo strikes us Americans easily. We are an independent lot that thinks that by holding a gun like a cowboy, in a great picture, we'll be forever safe from the bad guys. But we are now seeing a country overrun with important decisions based on just such dramatic thought that is not based on facts.

Thank you, Source, for also printing that graph, which tells the picture much better. The fact is: having a gun in the house increases risk of homicide 40-170 percent risk of unintentional death by gun 370 percent and risk of suicide 90-460 percent according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The real statistics show that if the current rate continues, more youth will die from gun violence than by car accidents by next year. But at least, the outrageous level of suicide should make us think twice. And if you think, "Well, if not a gun, they'd just use another method," that's also incorrect. Most suicide victims take their life only after hours of deciding too.

On a personal note, I can tell you that if my sister's husband didn't think a loaded handgun in the bureau drawer would keep them safer, she wouldn't have had that gun to pull the trigger on herself in 2009. And I've met hundreds of people now that say the same. The statistics say that owning a handgun to protect your family actually makes your family less safe. Ladies, let's learn how to protect ourselves without putting our loved ones at risk with a handgun in the house.

Take a martial arts class.

— Bev Buswell

In Response to, Cougar Killings Back In The News (2/9)

To those who call for a ban on cougar hunting in Oregon, my question is, "and replace it with what?" There has never been a confirmed cougar attack on a human in the state of Oregon. By contrast, California voters banned cougar hunting in 1990, and since then there have been over a dozen attacks on humans, three of them fatal. That's more than in the previous hundred years combined.

Jim Anderson concluded in the Feb. 9, 2017 issue of the Source that if people want to stop attracting cougars into their neighborhoods, they should stop feeding the deer they prey on. That's good advice, but is unworkable as a wildlife management strategy. In the first place, it's logistically unenforceable, and second, wildlife behavior is seldom that easily manipulated. The argument against hunting cougars rests solely on a few studies that suggest that hunting disrupts the cats' social hierarchy, which may increase conflicts with people as young males competing for territory come into closer contact with communities.

True or not, it still doesn't offer a viable solution to managing the big cats. California voters' zeal to protect the lions resulted in 3,003 depredation permits being issued between 2000 and 2015, with 1,530 cougars killed. Clearly not their intent. In places where it's allowed, hunting helps keep predators and other wildlife from becoming habituated to humans. And when well regulated it has been astonishingly successful at conserving species and their habitat.

More than that though, our ancestors have been hunting for two million years, and carved out a niche in the world based on that predator/prey relationship. It's only been in the last twelve thousand years or so that people began moving away from hunting in favor of a more agrarian lifestyle, with the trend not really taking off till the industrial revolution of the 1800s. That's just the tiniest sliver of time, yet in that sliver an overwhelming parade of the world's wildlife has either vanished or is on the way there.

So I'm skeptical when non-hunting advocates try to craft wildlife management policy. If people care and really want to live with cougars and other wildlife, they should avoid trying to manage wildlife through the ballot box. They should stop trying to strip fish and wildlife agencies of the tools they need, and let the professionals do what they do best - ensure that both predators and prey have a chance to flourish in the face of an expanding human population.

— Ed Putnam

In Response to, The Darkness of Noon, (1/25)

At the same time Oregon already has its own National Socialist wannabes rioting, burning, looting, breaking windows, assaulting police officers and channeling their best Brownshirt brethren from 1920's Germany, you apparently think it's helpful to feature a Baltimore-based editor showing our locals how to do it right while dressed in black, with masks, throwing bricks and concrete, and burning limos?

It would require uncommon newsroom courage, and you could do something different. Why not prominently publish on your front page the attached county-by-county electoral map illustrating that for the most part, the great heartland, soul and center of America is sound, on solid ground and unified? And in addition to an electoral mandate, with the exception of California, Trump achieved over a 1.5 million 49-state popular vote win as well. What's to protest?

Every presidential election has winners and losers. This year the Left lost. Romanticizing thuggish paramilitary Brownshirt "black bloc" tactics of intimidation and property destruction won't change that fact one bit. Wouldn't it be better to encourage healing and harmony instead?


— David L. Dittman

Guns and Grizzlies

In the current environment, politicians and nominees suggest that guns will effectively protect our students and our teachers in our schools. The expression "Guns and Grizzles" is often used to proclaim support for this proposal, which is not only dangerous, but erroneous. In fact, this conflation creates a dangerous environment for both our schools and our ecosystems because guns are not an effective protective device in either circumstance.

First of all, school safety is a paramount concern for our communities. We do need to devote resources to creating safe places, and we need to consider a safe place in a myriad of circumstances. The largest threat we have faced in our schools recently has been degraded infrastructure, and these structures provide havens for our community in disasters. Thus, the loss of these buildings and safe water are not only losses to our schools, but losses to our future ability to cope and respond to disasters and community needs.

Schools are in need of protection, but that protection is best achieved through non-lethal forms of protection. In such an environment, we can protect our people, and we can advance our discussions to responses to disasters and traumatic events. With a divided focus, we fail to redress the true harm by our debate and our inaction when disasters do arise. The arming of our schools creates a traumatic environment for many of its students and teachers, its visitors and first respondents.

Protect our schools with non-lethal methods so that we can focus our attention on how to heal after traumatic events and disasters. After Sandy Hook, a senior at Sentinel High in Montana, Madison Thomas, proposed that we protect our students and teachers using non-lethal methods of protection (PBS Newshour, Feb. 2013). Her senior research on bears helped her see that non-lethal pepper spray may be useful in protecting students and teachers in our schools.

Similarly, protection against grizzlies is best achieved with sprays, not guns. State and federal agencies propose the use of bear spray over firearms for the visiting public and their officers. The use of non-lethal methods is also consistent with environmental policies that recognize our role as intruders in natural ecosystems. The arming of our schools fails to foster safe environments just as the arming of federal park officials is discouraged. As concerned citizens, we do need to temper our effect on trauma—both psychological and physical, both elementary and environmental. Creating effective and non-traumatic reactions empowers people to be both responsive and responsible.

— Lisa Goetz-Bouknight


Lisa, come on in for your gift card to Palate! You have a valid point—but it also brings up another one: The most looming "grizzly" in our schools seems to be a lack of funding.

And David: Fun, real fact: 53.64 percent of voters in Deschutes County did not vote for the current president. And last time I checked, California voters still get a say in who's elected. We don't condone violence, but in light of our First Amendment right to (peacefully) petition the government for the redress of grievances, I ask you, what's not to protest?!


In 2/9's "Ladies of Lead," we paraphrased a statement by Sharon Preston, writing "Knives, she says, kill more people than guns by far." Years of recent FBI data indicate the opposite, and Preston has since stated to the Source that she misspoke—intending instead to state that knives are involved in more incidents of violence, not in more killings.

In 2/2's "Source Spotlight," John McLeod's statement about the new Mt. Bachelor chair lift "taking pressure off Summit," was misstated. McLeod said the new chair will take pressure off the Sunrise lift, not Summit.

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