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The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
December 19, 2012     The New Era Paper
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December 19, 2012

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Page 4 le T 'ra - December 19, 2012 -- COMPItJNITV From Our Files Looking back on more than 80 years of coverage in east Linn County... -December 20, 1962 Gov. Mark O. Hatfield, ac- cepted an invitation to speak to the Sweet Home Union high school student body on the subject of youth citizenship. A Cascadia school bus was ex- tensively damaged about 2:45 p.m. Thursday when it collided with a semi-truck and rolled over on its top about 11 miles est of here. The bus was carrying three pas- sengers. No injuries were reported. The truck was eastbound when the trailer swung across the center line on a curve hitting the westbound bus. The name of the Cascadia Ranger District of the Willamette National forest will be changed af- ter the first of the year. The change to Sweet Home Ranger District has been approved by the regional office of the Forest Service in Portland. December 16, 1987 Leah Land will become the first Sweet Home swimmer to par- ticipate in the U.S. Open in Orlando Fla., facing the best aquatic per- formers from throughout the United States, and a few from overseas. Land holds every major girls record on the SHHS swimming board. At last years state competi- tion she won-two firsts, two second places, and one third-place finish. Peace on earth not something laws can create Two mass shootings in a week - two victims dead at the Clacka- mas Town Center, followed by the killing of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn. - have brought out the usual chorus of commentators, all with their own spins. So I guess this means I'm joining the crowd. In a season - Christmas - that is viewed by many as one of com- munity and joy, it's particularly distressing to see these tragedies. The prevailing question is "why" and, though it sounds rath- er plaintive and weak, in the wake of these atrocities, it's a question we should ask. Some are blaming the prepon- derance of firearms in our society. Others the lack of intervention with the two perpetrators, both ap- parently angry young men, who pulled the triggers. There have been question s about the role vid- eo games might have played. Fam- ily problems. Mental illness. Since neither of them has, it appears, left much explanation behind, it's a puzzle. Notes From The Newsroom Scott Swanson Publisher As usual after such incidents, the debates over violence and guns have flared up. This has been hap- pening since 1966, when Charles Whitman climbed into the tower at the University of Texas and shot 5 people, killing 13 and an un- 9orn child. The problem with these de- )ates - and with us as a popula- tion looking for answers - is we are looking for Band-aid solutions. We have a problem that we want to see solved. Nobody wants to see children die. But we aren't really getting to the heart of the problem, which, I think, is us. A locally owned newspaper founded Sept. 27, 1929 Scott and Miriam Swanson, Co-Publishers .sweethomenews.com Office: 1313 MainSt,, Sweet Home, Oregon Mailin 9 address: The New Era, Box 39, Sweet Home, OR, 97386 Phone: (541) 367-2135 Fax: (541) 367-2137 WHO WE ARE Scott Swanson, Editor/Co-Publisher scott@sweethomenews.com Sean C. Morgan, Staff Writer sean@sweethomenews.corn Miriam Swanson, Advertising Manager, Co-Publisher mifiam@sweethomenews.com Christy Keeney, Classified Ads classifieds@sweethomenews.com Firiel Sevems, Advertising Sales fifiel@sweethomenews.corn The New Era (USPS 379-100)is published each Wednesday. Periodical postage paid at the Sweet Home, Ore., 97386 Post Office. Postmaster: Please send address changes to The New Era, Box 39, Sweet Home, Oregon 97386 SUBSCRIPTIONS In Linn County: $32 Elsewhere: $40 Snowbird: $38 NEWS QUESTIONS/TIPS Carl (541) 367-2135 or e-mail news@sweethomenews.com I'm not talking about the fact that Americans are statistically more likely than other developed nations to commit mass murder. I'm also not suggesting that mass murder is new in the United States, because it isn't. One of the most famous post- Revolution crimes in America was the mass murder of Caleb Mallory, his wife, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren in their home in ru- ral Connecticut by their boarder, Barnett Davenport. Apparently unprovoked, Davenport beat Mal- lo to death, then beat Mallory's 7-year-old grandcfiild with a rifle and killed the daughter-in-law. Davenport looted the home before setting it on fire, killing two oth- ers. Sounds remarkably similar to some of the horrors we hear about today. Davenport's arrest and confes- sion provoked much soul-search- ing in the late-18th-century press. Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota State Depart- ment of Corrections, has studied mass murder and has concluded that the rate mirrors that of gen- eral homicide. What another study called an "unprecedented" increase of mass killings in the 1960s, Duwe says, was accompanied by a doubling of the overall murder rate following the relatively peaceful previous decades. Duwe found that mass mur- der was as common - in frequency, if not in scale - during the 1920s and early 1930s as it is today. But in those days, he says, mass mur- derers tended to be failed farmers who killed their families because they could no longer provide for them, then killed themselves. Their crimes reflected the despair and hopelessness of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, the sense that they and their families would be better off in the hereafter than in the here and now. And here's where we get be- neath the surface of where today's mass media usually go. Behind the cold, hard facts of the numbers of victims, the details of the perpetra- tors' lives before they committed their crimes, the calls for new poli- cies and more restrictions to keep such things from happening again, the real problem gets sloughed over. I'm suggesting it's us, and here's where I'm going beyond the normal scope of mass media com- mentary. We live in a nation that is rap- idly rejecting the principles and be- liefs - the largely Judeo-Christian heritage - that was the foundation of our general society and govern- ment for 200 years until we began rejecting it in the 1960s. The Ten Commandments (one of which is "You shall not murder") have become, to many, quaint, if not annoying, remnants of past civilizations that weren't as advanced as we are. The notion of a sovereign God is increasingly forgotten or rejected, replaced by human reason and modern enter- tainment and technology. Families are fractured as we pursue individual pleasures that don't include riding out life's rough spots with our spouses when the thrill isn't there like we see it in the movies. Prayer is an antiquated notion WRITE A LETTER We encourage readers to express their opinions in letters to the editor on matters of public interest. Letters should be typed and may be submitted by mail, e-mail, fax or in person at The New Era office. E-mailed letters may be sent to news@sweethomenews.com. Please include a telephone number in case we need to contact you. Also, we require;that you inclucle your name and city of residence or your letter will not be published. There is no length restriction, but letters may be edited for length and all letters will be edited for libelous content. We discourage letters that attack or complain about private citizens or businesses on a personal level. Also, letters containing comments on topics deemed by the editorial staff to have been exhausted in previous letters will be edited accordingly. - forgotten quickly after the shock of nasty life experiences, such as 9/11, dissipate. All of these changes impact us as individuals and as a society, I think. Yes, we like to be told we are masters of our own destiny and we want to think we're calling the shots. But when things don't play out happily ever after, we get mad. And, for some, that anger mani- fests itself in something far worse than divorce or drugs or preoc- cupation with whatever eases our personal pain. I think these shootings are just manifestations of that problem, the wrong ideas we have about who we are. In America we've always danced uncomfortably with the notion that we might have an in- ner problem - sin, or however else we'd like to identify it. We've got psychology and other mechanisms to explain our deficiencies - what used to be known as "sin." Back in the era when Daven- port murdered the family he lived with, society in general had a dif- ferent idea about how good they were. Crime was generally seen as the result of common sinners losing their way, accord!ng to one website on which I found the sor- did story. The question I'm asking is whether, as a society, we've ratio- nalized ourselves away from grim reality. Are we kidding ourselves about how good we are? Maybe there's more to sin than we'd like to think in our increasingly secular, rationalistic views of ourselves. Is it possible that what the perpetra- tors of these evil deeds, and what we, need is inner change - change in what drives us? I know this is pretty search-" ing, but this is Christmas and, at least from the standpoint of histor- ic Christianity, this is what the sea- son is really about - the coming to earth of a Savior of sinners. Amid the flashing lights, flowing spirits and other general merriment, it's easy to lose sight of that. But if we're seeking "peace on earth, good will toward men," perhaps we need to start by look- ing deeper.