Thanks for your email the other day. It looks like you don’t agree with Oregon UU Voices for Justice on gun regulation.
Its been a while since we have seen each other, but I enjoyed meeting you last year. I respect your opinion and your unique perspective. I was just about to say that I was sorry we disagree but I don’t think I am sorry! Our congregations need more healthy disagreement and difference. I hope you can understand my perspective also.
I want guns to be regulated the way we regulate cars. Traffic can be dangerous and so we license drivers. Some drivers get their license taken away if they are dangerous drivers. Car manufactures are asked by the government to make cars with more safety features. Does regulating drivers and improving cars make hi ways completely safe? No, we still have terrible traffic accidents. Cars and driving though, are much safer than they used to be. However, I would not want to live in a country where there are no regulations on cars and drivers. I feel the same way about guns.
Take care Victor, I hope all is well with you. I hope you don’t experience any more difficult experiences with the police.
Rev Katie A Larsell
Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice
First I want to thank your for recognizing debate as an important tool for effective policy development. The cultural interpretation of confrontation as unhealthy is incorrect. We had a whole class on group dynamics at Chemeketa that included debate.
I don’t want guns to be without regulations either. Continuing education should be necessary for parenting as well. I would even agree to the most strict regulations that you have suggested so far as you enforce limits on the weapons the police are using as well, require practice in a communication practice group at least as much as on the gun range and hold them accountable for not abiding by those regulations.
There is no supporting principles in the UU covenants for failing to protect those who cannot protect themselves. You talk about a drivers license as a metaphor. It is apt since we do little to provide transportation for the poor and disenfranchised either. I want regulations too. It is not the answer to reduce the size of a clip for ammunition for me while ignoring the abuse of military might by the criminal justice system. I would frame it somewhat differently. Spiritually I look for a balance between ying and yang. A six shot revolver against flash bang grenades and full auto weapons is not balanced. The wholesale disregard for due process and Posse Comitatus is not balanced. Marion County convicts almost as many people as Multnomah Co. with less than half the population. The public defenders don’t even pretend to defend their clients. To the contrary they twist their client’s arms to take a guilty plea even when clearly innocent. The public defenders says they are just doing their job. The DA says they are just doing their job. The police officer says they are just doing their job. Mass incarceration has increased exponentially since 1963 and the statistics that report 2.3 million incarcerated are misleading because they do not count those held in county jails or detention or on probation. This is state sponsored slavery and tyranny in the first degree. You cannot in good conscience tilt scales of power even further than they already are without spending time in the courtroom to see if what I am saying is the truth. even Martin Luther King Jr recognized the necessity of arming oneself against attackers. He only resorted to use of a weapon when they came in the dark in an attempt to hide their identity and some did wear a badge. A gun may not be as powerful as the pen but is still powerful enough to make them think twice. We can learn from him and others that open, armed rebellion is not productive but being armed is still prudent.
I have worked recovery from drugs and alcohol for over 25 years and I have been clean and sober, this time since 2009. I have worked recovery from mental health issues and family dysfunction for 40 years and will continue to do so the rest of my life, 150 percent. The pen is mightier than the sword so I concentrate on communication skills to a much larger degree than anything else in my toolbox. I can show you a resume of accomplishments to prove it yet the tyrants in charge of the courts take my kids, my estate and my ability to get a job.
I would not lightly associate myself with others so far to the right but the recovery that has been stolen is not just mine but that of my children. Families take generations to recover from the rock bottom that my parents represent. I am prevented from sharing the communication skills and spiritual growth with my children that will be so necessary for them to claim true liberty in this country. The loss of these relationships with my children is a pain that words fail to describe. Those who have studied slavery know that this is the worst pain that slaves suffer, when close relationships are rent by their masters. Most have dismissed me as a sore loser but none of them have taken the time to look at the overwhelming evidence presented in my custody and divorce proceedings.
The work of equal rights for people of color and the poor and consumers of mental health services is not a job that we will be finished with so much as it is a torch that we must hand off to the next generation. There is a universal mathematical formula that states 80 percent of the production is from 20 percent of the population and this is true for the civil rights movement. We must take every opportunity to recruit and share these tools with the next generation.
In closing I will address your last remark. I value the time I have spent in court and jail. It was not pleasant but it was a position of leverage that resulted in change. Polk county was taking money from the state via the Justice Reinvestment act but not using the dollars appropriately. They now have a real crisis response team, Counselors and Peer Support Specialists visiting the jail and have reined in their abuse of exorbitant bail amounts. The Command of the Jail and a Lieutenant were fired. In Marion county I revisited the Mental Health Court last week and observed more evidence of diversion in the form of a dismissed conviction for a successful program of recovery rather than just probation vs prison. The pro-tem judges in the Justice Center on Aumsville Hwy are no longer allowed to hand out guilty verdicts for anything worse than a violation since the defendant is never given the opportunity to have a trial under a pro-tem judge. Since I just watched Darkest Hour where Gary Oldman played Winston Curchhill I currently find it appropriate to quote this ….
Then out spake brave Horatius
The Captain of the gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods…”
—Thomas Babington Macaulay
One of the first rules of recovery is to look for things we have in common. A key element for consensus and effective debate is to put yourself on the other side of the argument. What are the larger concerns of those that oppose this legislation? How do we meet those concerns and give these people due regard while still pursuing better regulation and increased safety that seems to be our ultimate goal? Stephen Covey would consider these partly issues of leadership vs management.
— Communication is the problem and the solution