Letters published on March 9, 2018

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Applause for student movement

This student walkout is the most courageous and prophetic act of civil engagement in America since the student civil rights movement of the 1960s. Like then, young people are doing what their parents, teachers and other responsible adults have failed to — they are putting their bodies on the side of peace and justice and taking a stand against the heightening degree of uncontrolled violence in schools, churches and other public settings where youth gather.

Attempting to punish students for exercising their constitutional rights in defense of their own health and that of the public health and general welfare of their community is not only stupid but wrong as history has shown time and again. I deeply applaud and admire the youth who choose to participate and the adults and businesses who seize upon this historic memorial to honor those murdered across our country.

In solidarity. —Patrick Malone, Kalispell

‘We are change’ is battle cry of new movement

“We are students, we are victims, we are change.”

This is our battle cry, our call for help. And as we rally around the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the survivors, we beg and pray for change. We call upon our legislators, our congressmen and women, to push legislation and actively seek solutions to this crisis.

Seventeen. Seventeen lives lost. Seventeen families destroyed. And hundreds left horri?ed and terri?ed in the wake of this shooting. Our country has reached a pivotal point, our citizens are fed up and ready for change. We have been awoken, and the protest has risen. We are a force to be reckoned with and we will fight for our safety and peace of mind.

“We are students, we are victims, we are change.” This is not a liberal, anti-gun agenda. This is not the manipulation of a tragedy. And this is not a gun ban, stripping us of our Second Amendment right. This is a plea coming from our students. From students afraid to go to school, afraid to learn. From students who survived. From students who come home at night and tell their mothers they need new shoes, because their light-up sneakers will give them away to a shooter. This plea is being attacked. We are being told this is not the time to act, but to pray and mourn for those who were lost. But prayer does not equate to silence. We can, and will, pray as we exercise our right to assemble and protest peacefully. We will no longer sit idly by and neglect to take action because our politicians’ silence has a price tag that suits the NRA’s budget.

Never again will we allow the size of our congressmen’s wallets to determine the value of our lives.

“We are students, we are victims, we are change.” As a nation, we have a duty to those who died, those who survived, and those who are at risk of becoming future victims. A duty to fight for them and every other student in this country. We need change in the same way every human being needs oxygen. No more debate, no more discussion. We demand action. Discussion is great, but with no action to back up these arguments, nothing changes and another life is put on the line. We need stricter gun legislation. We need more in-depth and thorough background checks. We need more funding for mental health awareness and treatment. And we need a change in our education system’s lock-down policy. Remember when our biggest worry as students was who we played with at recess? Change has to occur to bring safety, peace of mind, curiosity and joy back into education. There will be protest. There will be calls made to our congressmen. There will be walkouts and sit-ins. We will not rest until something is done.

Because “we are students, we are victims, we are change.” —Amanda Cardin, Kalispell

Putting guns into context with other threats

The schools in the county are going to allow the children out to show support for the children that got killed in the school in Florida.

Why don’t they get mad about all the children murdered in abortions?

The Democrats and the left are pushing gun control. The Russians are starting the Cold War all over again. They would love to see Americans disarmed, and so would the Muslim terrorists and all of America’s enemies.

When I moved to Montana 40 years ago, the boys could bring their guns to school in there trucks. I never saw anyone killed because of those guns. —Frederick Hammel, Kalispell

Advice on how to survive a fall into tree well

Our area has once again been saddened by the loss, of another area skier, to the hazard of a snow filled “tree well.” As a survivor of such an encounter I would like to offer the following observations and suggestions.

Three years ago, while skiing at Whitefish Mountain, with a much younger relative, we ventured off the “Ant Hill run” into the tree area to the north. While ducking under a snow laden branch I caught a tip and fell headlong into an adjacent well, landing head down at a steep angle, skis still on and crossed above me. Fortunately, I still had my ski poles attached and after a couple of futile attempts to push myself upward with the poles and succeeding only in burying myself further and on the verge of panic, I determined to get my skis off. By reaching up and back with one pole, I was able to connect with the heel binding release and on the third try was able to push hard enough to release one ski.

By using my now freed boot I then kicked the second binding to release the other ski. However, the deep powdery snow still provided no maneuvering resistance and after more floundering I determined to place both poles parallel to each other and by pushing with them together achieved enough resistance to draw my legs down and under me. The combination of legs and poles allowed sufficient purchase to crawl out of the well and after a considerable time spent shaking and sweating I was able to ski out to the adjacent groomed run.

My apologies for the detailed description but, we seldom consider “how do I get out of this mess” when skiing. The most important lesson to please consider is that WITHOUT MY POLES, I WOULD NEVER HAVE GOTTEN OUT! My “powder partner” did not notice my absence for over two hours before we met at the lodge! To this day I see “off run” powder skiers not using their pole straps, but those same straps saved my life!

I write this article in hope that some previously read advice, about not using pole straps is re-considered. Your poles are your lifeline and in a fall you likely will not be able to reach them. SCUBA divers live by the rule “Plan your dive and dive your plan”! Do you really plan? If your partner is ahead of you, how far does he go before checking on you? Will he sidestep up the trail to see where you are? (Would you?) I have had a crossed shroud line while skydiving, a free-flowing regulator while scuba diving, BUT I have never been so scared or felt so helpless as in that “tree well” on my 74th birthday! —Greg Matelich, Eureka

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