Half-staff flags

Once again we see the flags at half-staff, following the recent Texas massacre. I ask myself, “Why aren’t the flags almost always at half-staff,” since there have been at least 307 mass shootings (four or more killed in the same incident) so far this year — essentially a daily occurrence.

Is there some particular “standard” number of dead there must be in a shooting to require the flags to drop down? Has some government official issued a specific guideline on this? Certainly it means little to the family of each victim whether their loved one was one among four fatalities or one among four dozen. And finally, does the race or religion of the shooter matter in making the determination on flag behavior?

So many questions concerning this and many, many other mass shooting situations — and yet so few answers from those we elect, and expect to deal reasonably with our mutual societal problems. Any answers, Messrs. Walden, Wyden and Merkley? Anything beyond “thoughts and prayers,” or moments of silence in Congress?

Can we get past the quibbles about what features define an “assault rifle,” and who actually needs oversize magazines and bump stocks for their “black guns”? (Hint: not hunters.) And for the sake of the innumerable victims, take a courageous stand against the extreme positions of the NRA: tackle once and for all the loopholes enabling firearm purchases online and at gun shows without any background checks.

After each mass shooting, there is always plenty of hand-wringing from on high about inadequate identification and treatment of those with mental health problems. However, such mental health treatment would have been further decreased under the Trumpcare that  Walden labored so assiduously to bring us — and will be decreased as well if the GOP tax cut plan is passed, with its proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

John Kloetzel

Ashland

Support the recall

Kudos to members of SOS for their recall petition of our wayward Park and Recreation commissioners!

In addition to their insensitivity in respect to seniors, the decision of these would-be empire builders to let a quarter-million-dollar contract for a consultant to study "Lithia Park for the 21st Century" is convincing proof that we have folks here who've run amok and need to be replaced. It would not be amiss for mayor and councilors to step in and request resignations, so this can proceed with minimum muss and fuss.

While we’re at it, we also need to consider replacing the head of this department, if he's been complicit, as appears highly likely, in recent misfires. We need people in government who solve problems, not cause them. Again, we look to leadership from our local gods on high to get this done.

Bob Wetmore

Ashland

New Facebook group

I'd like to invite Ashland residents to join the new Facebook group, "Ashland Reads."

Tell us what you're reading and why you recommend it. Anything obscure that you love and would like to share? Anything popular that does or doesn't live up to the hype?

We're all looking for a good read. Together we can find it. Pass the word for new members. And, be patient. A group takes time to reach critical mass and catch on. To quote the president, "It'll be really fabulous."

Bob Beggs

Ashland