Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Make Washington County a ‘Gun Safety County’
So, Washington County is now a 2nd Amendment sanctuary county thanks to our county board of supervisors. It would be laughable, if this board hadn’t wasted the taxpayer time and dime on a worthless and unnecessary proclamation. Creating a problem and proposing a solution to an imaginary problem is not something we elect the county board to do. Only one of them had the courage and common sense to vote “no” on this silly proclamation.
But if the supervisors are convinced that the Biden Boogie man is going to take their guns, and they feel they must protect that right, I challenge the county board to also pass a resolution that attaches responsibilities to that freedom. Freedom without commensurate responsibility is a juvenile mentality.
Therefore, I challenge the Board of Supervisors to pass a “Gun Owners Responsibility Proclamation.” That proclamation would include the following:
1. All gun owners are encouraged to periodically enroll and take a gun safety course and show proof of completion.
2. Require every gun buyer to undergo a criminal background check at the point of purchase and once every five years.
3. Support funding and efforts to keep guns away from our public schools.
4. Encourage and require gun owners to safely stow guns so they cannot be stolen or found and used by a minor.
5. Ban the use of bump stocks.
6. Increase funding and support for mental health programs for suicide prevention because the leading cause of death by guns is suicide.
7. Support Red Flag laws to allow law enforcement to intervene and temporarily remove a firearm from someone that is a risk to use that firearm to harm someone.
8. Encourage the strict enforcement of all gun laws currently on the books in the state of Iowa, especially not allowing criminals, felons, drug users/dealers, domestic abusers and other at-risk people access to guns.
These actions, if followed, would help to reduce the number of deaths by gun violence, which is currently running about 33 people a day nationally. There are no bans in this list other than for bump stocks. These measures do not restrict in any way a person’s right to own a weapon, so long as they are not in an at-risk category.
These measures are also widely supported by overwhelming majorities of people in our society. Perhaps the county board of supervisors should appeal to the broadest constituency possible instead of a narrow partisan one. The county board should be a non-partisan role, yet our county supervisors are playing politics by throwing red meat to the most conservative groups they can. Fixing potholes in our roads is not a partisan issue.
The 2nd Amendment is not going anywhere, and the hyperbole used by the supervisors is irresponsible. If you want our county to be a gun sanctuary, then you have the responsibility to also declare Washington County to be “Gun-Safety County.” Pass the Gun Owners Responsibility Proclamation, gentlemen, and quit playing politics.
Great program on Vaudeville
My name is Nancy Albert and I am co-owner of Studio on the Square here in Washington, a private art studio that hosts art classes, discussion groups and a weekly Open Studio. Recently, Dan Henderson came to give a talk about Vaudeville, and his very personal connection to the genre.
His presentation was not only well-researched and engrossing, but his use of film clips, pictures, personal archives, and audience participation enhanced an already fascinating subject. This was a fun and informative program, very well received by the community and it left the attendees wanting more. Thank you.
Code red for humanity
How strong do climate warnings have to get before we decide that it’s time for bold action?
“It’s code red for humanity.” That’s the summary by a lead author of the just-released climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to the 230 international experts who created that report, there is little time left for humanity to make sweeping and dramatic changes in how we produce and use energy, if we are to avert truly devastating consequences. In the days following the report’s release, it was all over the news, but coverage has subsided.
How is it possible that we can treat such dire warnings with a tepid response? Perhaps we have seen too many movies where the military responds to a threat by going to DefCon 1, but a hero always saves the day in the end. The problem, of course, is that there is no superhero in the wings to protect us now. This crisis is not a film fantasy, but a very real emergency, and it’s our responsibility to step up.
A more likely reason for our lack of urgency is that we feel there is “uncertainty” about the increasingly dire predictions about our planet’s future, and so we don’t need to be really alarmed. A recent letter in the Wall Street Journal addressed the issue of uncertainty in this way: If Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry is pointing his .44 Magnum at your head, and you are uncertain about whether he has run out of bullets, does your uncertainty make you feel safe? Would your uncertainty make you feel there was no need to take immediate evasive action? When the danger is very extreme, a degree of uncertainty does not remove the urgency to respond in a crisis.
But the fact is that any uncertainty about where our climate is heading, and why, and what we need to do about it, has been steadily shrinking with time. At this point, the experts are fully convinced – by the science and by the proof we see all around us in the form of unprecedented fires and droughts and floods and storms and heat waves – that we are facing enormous dangers, and that time has nearly run out. But even if, for some reason, you don’t completely buy that solid consensus, the only prudent and responsible thing to do is to prepare for the grave dangers the scientists see coming – because if you bet wrong on this one, the consequences are unimaginable, not just for you but for everyone who comes after you.
Action as bold and far-reaching as we took when the U.S. geared up to fight World War II is the only way to address the climate emergency, because every part of our economy and society is affected. We need to insist that our leaders act boldly and immediately. After all, if there is a warning level beyond “code red” it may be too late to solve the problem at all.
Support Washington school bond
I am writing to express my strong support for the $25 million Washington Community School District Bond Referendum. The intended renovations and additions to the high school, which include moving the middle school to the high school campus, are long overdue.
As a mother of four children who have attended the Washington Community School system, our children deserve to have facilities that will provide the best possible instruction in a safe environment.
This bond referendum gives us a unique opportunity to make the necessary improvements to buildings and building infrastructure that are past their useful life in many cases. Further, it provides us with the chance to do so without raising our school taxes. As a local business owner, I know this type of win-win can be rare so it is important for us as a community to support this referendum.
I encourage all to vote yes on Sept. 14 for the Washington CSD Bond Referendum.
Vote ‘yes’ on Washington school bond
After retiring in 2015, I pursued a Substitute Teacher Authorization requesting to substitute teach in only the middle school and the high school. Most of the time I subbed in the middle school. Let me emphasize that I witnessed the great diligent care in which the administration and custodians embraced their responsibilities. I also witnessed the deterioration of the building from just normal wear. Without my direct internal contact, I would have never understood the need for a facility upgrade.
We have a responsibility to provide good education for tomorrow’s leaders in the best learning environment possible.
We don’t have many choices. We can either approve the referendum now, later at a higher cost, remodel at an even higher cost, or do nothing and live with the consequences.
I certainly understand that many are opposed to taxes no matter what the cause. It is rare to undertake a project of this magnitude with no increase in taxes. I also understand that no building project will be perfect in every detail.
Therefore I urge you to with an open mind support the future of our youth in the same manner that others sacrificed for our education and vote “Yes” on Sept. 14.
Keith W Lazar