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Letters to the Editor

Time for sensible solutions

TO THE EDITOR

I'm writing this letter to the moderate, reasonable majority. I'm done trying to speak to the unreasonable extremes. I teach my students that the truth is almost always in between the extremes, and that the middle is a difficult place to walk. America is reaching a point where we must find that middle in the gun debate. I believe there is such a middle ground, and most of us are already there. We just need to stop being scared to agree with one another, like it's a sign of weakness.

This country has always tried to bravely go in its own direction. We need to do that again. I believe America can be a responsible, gun owning country. We don't have to ban all guns like other countries in Europe, but we certainly don't have to allow all guns either. We can be a society that protects our right to protect ourselves and our right to follow our hunting traditions. I own a gun for those same reasons. But we can do all of that while creating sensible limits. To do so, we must stop listening to the extremes that stoke our fears and divide us for their own benefit.

When problems have plagued our country, we have always come together, with many perspectives, and laid our ideas on the table. It is time to do so for the gun violence that we seem to have no answer for. The reason we have no answer is because we've allowed people to keep us from the discussion table.

We must look seriously at mental illness, at our culture that teaches self-centeredness and glorifies violence, at the deterioration of families and the hopelessness of poverty. And we must look at sensible gun regulation, as well. The costs of allowing such high-powered weapons on our streets unregulated have far surpassed any gain. Violence is a multi-faceted problem that won't be fixed if we keep any of these solutions off the table.

And for all the politicians now that avoid the talk of gun regulation by calling on mental illness

reform, I ask them why they've continually cut from mental health programs. We must continue to be a country that disagrees; that is what makes us resilient. But to continue to be a healthy and functioning society we must meet in the middle when the problems call for it.

Contrary to what many political leaders tell us, compromise is not a weakness. Weakness is the

inability to be humble and being unwilling to shake hands in the middle when it's called for. If there was ever a time when it was called for, it's now. Liberals and conservatives, gun owners and non-gun owners, let's come to the table and talk, and please don't invite the extremes. They're no longer helping us.

Scott Herron

New Richmond

Why should children pay the penalty?

TO THE EDITOR

When dads and moms with their young children in tow crossed the U.S. border without proper documentation, who broke the law? Did the children break the law?

If you say, "No, it was the parents who broke the law, not the children," then explain why those undocumented children now living today as adult "Dreamers" on American soil should be literally kidnapped by government thugs and ripped away from their homes, families, neighborhoods, schools, colleges, and jobs to be exiled in lands to which they are totally unfamiliar?

Why should children pay the penalty for the illegal acts of their parents? That's not just stupid, it's every bit as hateful as the villainous biblical King Nebuchadnezzar who force-marched thousands of Israelites from their homeland across the desert to slavery in Babylon.

Let us instead live by the values symbolized by that "mother of exiles" known as The Statue of Liberty. She beckons, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Harlen Menk

Ellsworth

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