High Desert Life

by Miles Hutchins

Today was a day of unity in our small community of Riberas del Pilar.

People from several Christian churches met with a Jewish congregation to mourn together the senseless murder of 11 devout Jews in Pittsburgh. Many people spoke, telling their stories of fear for loved ones in America, and fear for what the country is coming to.

The murder, wounding, and terrible racism, antisemitism and attacks on migrants and LBGT human beings has caused an outpouring of concern and outrage here in our little paradise. Speakers included, of course, members of the Jewish synagogue, but also Mexican, Canadian and American citizens, and a man describing himself as a Japanese-Mexican.

Mass murders at places of worship and schools are outrageous. As are those at rock concerts, night clubs and such. What is especially unbelievable is how often they occur, and how often they are done with guns — guns that are not made for hunting game.

Equally startling is the response from legislators in Washington, D.C. They express regret and offer their thoughts and prayers to the victims, then go back to their bickering and divisive ways with nary an action to curb the slaughter. The only suggestion from the leadership of House and Senate, and the White House, is to repeat the NRA line of getting more guns to the good guys.

Now Mexico has guns, mostly smuggled in from the U.S., and there is hate involved in the shootings, mostly between cartel drug gangs and the police. But there is no rampant gun buying “for protection” like in the U.S.

It was a revelation to hear the speakers, the expressions of exasperation, fear, and downright disbelief at how far wrong they believed the U.S. has gone. What they asked, can be done besides voting? And I would add how has this mess all come about?

The two questions deserve answers, but that will take lots of open-minded discussion. Is that even possible in this divided atmosphere?

— Miles Hutchins is a retired former Redmond resident who grew up in Central Oregon and now lives in Mexico. Contact him at milesredmond@gmail.com .