Need solutions

China announced in July 2017 they would stop importing plastic waste at the end of that year.

Yes, recycling is at a slow point. But the cause is a lack of leadership and foresight. While worrying about fake news and collusion, we are slowly drowning in our garbage.

We need better solutions than build a wall.

Lawrence Witt

Brookings

Take responsibility

I have read with dismay the recent articles about China refusing to take our recyclables. Perhaps it is time we take responsibility for our own trash rather than offing it onto another country.

What a pickle we have gotten ourselves into with all the excess packaging that everything comes in and nobody repairs anything any more. All of our appliances are made to be thrown away. So sad. Remember when every town had a small appliance repair shop? There’s a niche job for somebody.

Earth Day is coming, April 22, and I’m thinking about local businesses who facilitate recycling (as opposed to consumerism). Thrift stores are a great way to recycle things a few more times while they are still useful; and repairing furniture and appliances instead of replacing them makes perfect sense. Old furniture was so much better made it is worth refurbishing. The new stuff is made with the cheapest materials that fall apart in a few years.

Another way to recycle (and reduce trash) is composting kitchen wastes and newspaper/cardboard to improve your soil so you can grow food. Then you don’t have to buy the processed and packaged stuff shipped from halfway around the world.

If everybody would reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose; how much more independent we would be from our trash woes.

Joyce Hannum

Brookings

Join together

To those who decry our local March for Our Lives as an adult-only political event, have you forgotten that mass shootings continue to happen in places other than schools or that adults of all ideologies are also being murdered?

Has it occurred to you that your attitudes and intimidation might be what prevented local students from being involved? And if this march was only attended by Democrats and progressives, shouldn’t you wonder why more Republicans and conservatives aren’t interested in a safer society with less gun violence?

Our laws are indicative of the type of society we want to be. Murder and robbery are illegal but still, murders and robberies occur. No one proposes doing away with that legislation. Laws mean there are consequences and hopefully act as a deterrent.

I’m not anti-gun and don’t want to abolish that antiquated amendment. But how can we accept that the vast majority of us want tighter gun control, yet nothing happens — until the next mass shooting, followed by thoughts, prayers, and more nothing. Until now.

Will background checks or outlawing military weapons stop all violence? Of course not. Will access to mental health care, smaller class sizes, or anything else that’s been suggested cure the problem? We hope, in time.

Most of us acknowledge that we have a problem and need to try something different. So, instead of saying what won’t work, how about joining in and making suggestions that don’t include arming everyone. This should not be a partisan issue.

Susan Shampo

Brookings

Dropped the ball

I would like to state some facts on all the frenzy on the children and the AR-15. I am not for or against gun control; just logical.

The March for Our Lives (demonstrations) are commendable. Question? Should the children be sent to these cities from adults who have a political agenda? Should these children be protesting in the streets during school hours for days on end?

They are demanding the U.S. government outlaw ownership of the AR-15. OK, what should be done with the AR-15s that have been sold since 2010? On cable news, they were in Washington, D.C. and were asking the children protesters to “Describe an assault weapon, what is an assault rifle?” Eight children showed had no idea what a assault weapon was.

Two people called the FBI on Zachary Cruz, giving a awful lot of information on how bad he was. The FBI stated, “We dropped the ball. Procedures were not followed.” The school district, instead of addressing the Cruz problem, shipped him to another school, getting Cruz out of their hair. The city police were called to his house 36 times in 2017 and 2018. They had all sorts of options — the police did nothing.

In the real world a few days ago, a male teen with a lot of problems, came into a school to shoot an ex-girlfriend. After shooting her, an officer who was there to protect the school, was right on the spot. As the shooter shot another teen, the officer stopped the shooter. Eliminating more carnage.

Andrew T. Ragan

Brookings

Change for worse

First, mentioning suicide numbers reminds me that mental health services have been dramatically reduced since former Gov. Ronald Reagan closed the mental hospitals in California. Before that time, one could get mental health treatment for a loved one, by having a mental health professional corne to one’s horne and evaluate said loved one. That service is no longer available.

Mental health is now, for the most part, limited in our national, state, county and school budgets, deemed too expensive.

Second, regarding vehicular accident fatalities and injuries, at least it is necessary to prove one’s ability to drive a vehicle, pass a written test and pass a driving test, to buy a license — all unnecessary to buy a gun. (However, at this time, no mental health examination is needed. Should it be?)

I grew up in a time when a single-shot rifle was sufficient for deer hunting. Is it really a sport when a deer doesn’t have a sporting chance with these automatic weapons? Our home and farm was protected by a 12-gauge shotgun and the family dog. The shotgun kept away the chicken hawks and the dog took care of the land predators.

Also, when my husband was in the military, it was illegal for anyone to bring his military assault rifle home for a souvenir, even, let alone to buy one for sport. The world has, indeed, changed. But has it been for the better? How, or why, have we allowed this to happen?

Claire Haight

Brookings

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