Letters: Keep up the pressure to change gun laws
I am just a mom who wants a change in our country to protect our children.
We have had far too many moments of silence since Sandy Hook. Our children and community deserve real action to stop the epidemic of gun violence in our country. We're not alone, and we're not helpless. There are many seemingly simple, yet powerful things we can do today.
More and more of our neighbors are uniting to bring the change we need. The phones in Congress are ringing off the hook with calls for common-sense gun reform, peaceful rallies are growing in numbers in cities across the country, and families and friends are gathering together in their own living rooms to talk about bringing violence prevention programs to their schools. The movement is growing, and we must keep growing it.
There is reason to have hope that we can prevent gun violence before it happens, through sensible gun safety laws and programs in our schools and communities that help us identify the signs and signals before a shooting happens and intervene.
To keep this hope alive and bring the change we need, I am asking everyone to take two simple actions today. First, call your member of Congress today and ask that he or she support gun violence prevention legislation to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Second, make the promise at: sandyhookpromise.org and help bring Sandy Hook Promise's no-cost, violence prevention programs to our schools and community.
I will not carry a gun into school
In the wake of another recent school shooting, thousands of students across the country are marching and asking a single question: Who will take action to protect students? President Trump listened to some of those students in the White House and suggested afterward that teachers and other adults working at schools should be trained and armed with concealed-carry weapons.
As a teacher in a public school in Gresham, I would not be among them for several reasons.
First, in all the mass shootings over the years, when has "a good guy with a gun" stopped "a bad guy with a gun" even in concealed-carry states where good guys with guns have been present?
Not in Florida. Not in Texas. Not in Oregon.
Shooters succeed because even well-trained people caught by surprise cannot match a well-planned plot that seeks to carry out maximum destruction. The knowledge that good guys might be around hasn't been an effective deterrent to shooters.
Second, adding more guns makes no sense. The president is suggesting that schools add security guards and security technology. Where will the money come from to pay for these guards? Out of already cash-strapped school budgets?
Hardly. My district is just emerging from 10 years of annual budget reductions that have reduced staff to a bare minimum, increased class sizes and, as a result, have negatively affected the quality of education that our students receive.
Thankfully, Gresham residents passed a bond last year that will partly be used to install security technology throughout the district. But this is a one-and-done solution. Paying security guards would require a restructuring of budget priorities that would have an even greater effect on quality of education.
Third, teachers are trained to teach, not to be armed guards. Preparing to be a teacher requires many years of training. Maintaining a well-managed environment and delivering well-planned lessons requires much time outside the classroom and great concentration in the classroom.
Teachers don't have the time or the capacity to take on the additional level of training that would be needed to become armed security guards, much less effective security guards.
Fourth, what if an angry student got hold of a teacher's gun? An angry student in a classroom can cause great disruption and possibly even destruction. In my 12 years of teaching, I've seen students get very upset for a variety of reasons.
On rare occasions, the room may need to be cleared in order to keep other students safe. If an angry student could get hold of a gun from a teacher in a classroom, I cannot imagine the mayhem that would result.
People on the left and the right sides of the political spectrum are in agreement about one thing: something must be done. Students are demanding an answer to their question, but arming teachers is not that answer.
Would I do everything in my power to protect students if an armed intruder forced his/her way into the building? Absolutely. Sadly, I have formulated a plan for that. But that plan falls short of potentially causing greater harm to other students by arming myself with a gun in the classroom.
Failing our children
We have failed our children. Those kids in Florida did not know that Wayne LaPierre and the NRA has a $58 billion industry to protect. The United States is 80 percent of the world small-arms trade market.
Start with banning high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, Teflon-coated bullets and weapons of war in civilian hands.
But remember that ghost gun will always be there, so best to "be prepared" as the Boys Scouts would say.
Don't embrace a bad idea
Re: Frank DiMarco's column "Submit infill plan to public vote" on Feb 15: Ballot box zoning is a tremendously bad idea.
Portlanders should avoid reducing some pretty complicated decisions to bumper sticker slogans and stirring people up with bogus uninformed arguments. Portland's zoning is gummed up with the remnants of the terrible 1959 downzoning that made it illegal to build the range of housing we used to see in Portland's neighborhoods, and also by decades of redlining.
People who are speculating on single-family houses make more money when the supply of places to live is limited by Portland's current unfortunate zoning. They would love to see zoning decisions placed on the ballot where they can be decided by folks who have not invested the time and effort necessary to understand the problems created by the current zoning — nor what solutions are available to thoughtful people.
Your next-door neighbor in the Portland Small Developer Alliance, (pdxsmalldeveloper.org) has invested that time.
We believe that your sons and daughters, your local shop owners and transit agency are the ones with the most to gain by strengthening the currently proposed Residential Infill Project. It needs to allow fourplexes as a use by right and accommodate those four units by adjusting the allowable house size accordingly. Then your own air quality and climate will benefit, as well as the city as a whole.
We are sorry to see that Mr. DiMarco seems unable to distinguish between the small developer who puts everything they have on the line — in many cases, their own home — in order to improve Portland's neighborhoods for more to enjoy, and the big developer that he wants to demonize.
We hope he will visit a couple of our Missing Middle projects (citizenflatscondos.com/index.php/about/ AND orangesplot.net/current-projects/) and reconsider. The rest of your readers are welcome, too. Just watch for our open houses.
PlanGreen and Portland Small Developer Alliance