Senator Jeff Kruse - January 18th, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:
E-Newsletter                  Number 1, Volume 1 

 Working Hard For You


JANUARY 18, 2013




I expected a lot of responses to my last newsletter from a variety of perspectives and I was not disappointed.  For new readers as well as those who have been with me for a while let me remind you I don’t assign my emails to my staff, I read them all myself.  While I do not have time to respond to them all individually, they are very important to me.


For those who responded with, basically, the response to violence should be love my response is, wouldn’t it be wonderful if that would work.  I would submit, however, that if someone broke into your house and pointed a gun at your head telling them you loved them would probably not get you the result you wanted.  I want to use my nephew as an example.  He lives out in the country and has two small children with another on the way.  He also is a bird hunter and loves target shooting.  He is one of the least “violent” people I know.  Additionally, he is very serious about having the ability to protect his family.  Living 20 minutes away from the quickest 911 response means he is clearly his own first line of defense.  We should not take that away from him.


For those who say limiting the number of bullets in a magazine or banning semi-automatic weapons are reasonable approaches, you need a higher level of understanding.  Dropping a spent magazine and inserting a full one can be done in 2 to 3 seconds, so in reality you will be accomplishing nothing.  As for semi-automatic weapons it would depend on the definition, but for the most part any gun that isn’t bolt action is semi-automatic.  Those who have the objective of banning all guns do have a way of making their approaches sound reasonable, but one should always dig deeper into the issue before reaching an opinion.  Unfortunately, to a large degree, the media today does not seem interested in doing the research they should on some issues.


As I have stated more gun laws are not the answer, so what is?  This is not an easy question to answer, but I will try and point to some directions we should look.  For example, in the case of both Sandy Hook and Springfield the first death was the mother.  We can assume, in many single parent households, there is a certain level of disconnection and isolation.   In both cases school personnel had noticed warning signs, but did not have the ability or resources to deal with it.  We know that by the third or fourth grade teachers can identify those kids who will be successful in school and those who will struggle.  Unfortunately it is no longer politically correct to “label” kids.  We are depriving ourselves of some very valuable tools with this approach.


Some would say this is a mental health issue, and there is some truth in that.  Unfortunately going down that road can very quickly become a slippery slope.  For example if we were to determine a set of risk factors and mandate treatment based on this assessment we would be violating the civil rights of a great number of people.  I have for years had an issue with the number of school age kids who are prescribed mental health drugs for behavior problems and wouldn’t want to increase that number.


Some would say we need to invest more money in counseling, and there is probably some truth in that.  The issue there would be how can we afford this investment when we don’t even have enough money for classroom teachers? 


If we go back to the examples I used earlier it is clear the home environment is a key component.  If one looks at all of the gang related shootings one would find a vast majority come from broken homes.  As the percent of two parent households and nuclear families has decreased the level of violence has increased.  One cannot ignore the connection.  This is one of the reasons I have been such a strong advocate of government programs like Relief Nurseries and non-government programs like the Boys and Girls Club.  While these are valuable assets they are not by themselves the answer.


The reality is, there is no “answer”.  When a child turns to a violent act it is clearly the result of a very long chain of events going back years.  One of the things we are trying to do in health care is put a greater emphasis on preventative measures and I would suggest we take the same approach with the issue of teen violence. 

Focusing on guns is an easy solution which ultimately will not get us the results we want.  It is our job as legislators to look behind the curtain and deal with the real issues.  It is my hope this will be the approach we take.




Senator Jeff Kruse








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