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Slant 9-3-2015

• Another week, more shootings, more senseless death — and not in some unfamiliar city across the country, but in our in our own neighborhoods. We have heavy hearts over the deaths of John Ramsey Tainton-Platts, 33, and Justin Gardner, 17, who were both shot and killed this past week (Aug. 28 and Aug. 30 respectively) in Eugene. Both were beloved by their community; Tainton-Platts, who went by Ramsey, was known for his photography, ushering at the Hult Center and his own talent for performing  — tenor singing with the Eugene Opera, acting, dancing — while Gardner, a student at Central Linn High School, was an aspiring rapper. Let us not be numbed by another statistic piled on top of a heap of summer violence, both locally and nationally. Let’s stare straight into the depraved muck and examine our relationships with guns, to talk openly and rationally about what role they should play in society. Who are the leaders in this city, in this county, in this state willing to have that tough dialogue? This must not be the new normal.

It’s ironic that the same week gun violence shut down a southwest Eugene neighborhood for five hours, petition gatherers were canvassing the same neighborhood asking residents to help recall Sen. Floyd Prozanski because of his support for mandatory background checks for private gun buyers.

 

• We hear rumors about another clown bouncing into the political circus right here in Oregon. It’s Monica Wehby, the Portland physican who ran against Jeff Merkley for the Senate last round, now considering a challenge of Kate Brown for the governor’s chair. Republican money probably would flow to Wehby, but her miserable showing last time should ease the governor’s concerns. We applaud Brown’s performance so far, considering the circumstances that made her governor.

 

• Speaking of clowns, Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston is parroting Donald Trump, taking pride in not being politically correct on racial issues. We joke about political correctness, but “being PC” indicates an elevated level of understanding, sensitivity and compassion for others. Ralston’s bigotry is an embarassing carryover from the Springfield of decades ago. If Ralston really wants to serve Springfield, he should resign. But that would be the politically correct thing to do.

 

• Giant online store Amazon has been under the media microscope for the past couple of years, including a remarkable exposé by Jim Hightower last August (wkly.ws/225) that was carried by the alternative press and finally got the attention of the mainstream press this summer. Amazon is convenient and efficient, but the online business is devastating for retail stores that drive our local economy and create local jobs. Amazon is also sneaky. One little click when you are ordering and you’ve inadvertently signed up for “Amazon Prime” and you might not even know it until you see the $99 charge on your credit card statement. It continues perpetually unless you stop it. Amazon banks on people not checking their monthly statements.