In response to Mr. Paulson's guest column in the Bend Bulletin dated 2/15/23:
Yes, we're raffling a hunting rifle. Hunting is a common hobby in this country.
According to the Rand Corporation, "...approximately 10 million people used firearms for hunting, more than 50 percent of all hunters participated in target shooting, and 22 percent of hunters visited shooting ranges...Target shooting is also a popular U.S. sport. Results from the 2016 survey indicate that 32 million people aged six years or older went target shooting with firearms in 2015."
While we can all agree that the gun incidents that have occurred throughout the country are horrific - and we need to continue to work on ways to mitigate gun violence among youth (of which there are many contributing factors) - if the millions of hunters in the country were the problem, you'd know it.
Gun raffles are a common fundraiser to raise money for causes. In fact, the Oregon State Sheriff's Association recently held a gun raffle.
Mr. Paulson, your assumptions about Republican candidates turning a blind eye to gun safety is completely false. In fact, many Republicans support gun safety programs, such as the Boys Scouts who have partnered with the NRA to teach gun safety to youth.
In Oregon, a Hunter Education course is required for all new hunters age 17 and younger unless hunting on land owned by a parent or legal guardian. This training is facilitated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Many of us fully support this.
In our community, there are several notable businesses who support the Oregon Hunters Association, such as Les Schwab Tires, Coastal Farm, and Sportsman's Warehouse. Are you going to demonize them, too?
The Oregon Hunters Association had a recent gun raffle as well. Are you going to demonize all hunters and accuse them of not caring for our children as well?
Insinuating that we don't care for our children simply because we're raffling a hunting rifle is offensive and absurd and we don't appreciate the gross misrepresentation.
In regard to what we'd like our children to learn in schools, we'd like them to learn academics and focus on what brings humanity together by promoting compassion, unity and respect. Our country's history does include some ugliness (as with all countries), but it also includes bravery, inspiration, and hope...and we have come a long way and made great progress. We don't want our children to focus on what divides them or tears them apart or makes them unnecessarily hateful, angry or resentful toward one another; in school, we want them to focus on learning and being compassionate and treating everyone with respect.
(By the way, the segregation of the past you refer to was mostly supported by Democrats, not Republicans.)
You stated, "School board members must be people who recognize and respect the diversity of families who entrust care of their children to our public schools." We couldn't agree more. Therefore, we expect the schools to protect our children from obscene content that they're not expected to be exposed to in rated PG-13 or R movies. (There's a reason there are parental advisories attached to these ratings.) If parents want their children learning about non-academic adult issues or themes at a young age, then that's the parents' choice and they can teach their kids at home accordingly. Unless the parent(s) choose to opt in to such education for their children, schools are not the appropriate venue for this, especially with the diversity of values and expectations among families. (You honor and respect diversity, don't you?)
We expect school board members to put the needs of children and parents first, over any political, unscientific or extremist agenda.
In closing, the Deschutes Republican Party has always taken pride in promoting values that support the wellbeing of our children, parents, and schools. We welcome anyone to learn more about us at www.deschutesrepublicans.org.
Connie Whelchel | Vice Chair
Scott Stuart | Chair