Opinion | Susan Knopf: Plastics and pistols

Last weekend was county-wide clean-up day. I picked up trash in northern Silverthorne with Friends of the Lower Blue River. Current Summit County Commissioner Josh Blanchard and past county commissioner Karn Stieglemeier helped our group.

I’m giving a shout out to Summit County residents. Usually it’s a three orange-trash-bag-day. It was a bag and a half. The road seemed less littered. Good on those disposing of their trash properly.

Now for the rest of you …

It looked like some jerk took a baseball bat to the reflectors attached to the concrete barrier on the side of Colorado Highway 9. I picked up one reflector after another on the shoulder of the road. Hey fool, you know your tax dollars pay for those reflectors, right? Even if you aren’t a local, you probably bought something and paid sales tax. Personally I think we pay enough taxes, so please don’t waste our tax dollars on your batting practice.

I’m grateful for those who spend money in Summit County. Your sales tax pennies add up and pay for the recreation path I like so much. When you are leaving town, could you please put your wrappers in your bag, and keep that bag in your car until you arrive at a trashcan?

This seems like a good time to remind folks drinking alcohol and driving don’t mix. I prefer not to find liquor bottles on the side of the road. I wonder if the driver made it to the next town alive.

The items I found most were recyclable drink bottles. That brings me down. We can’t recycle filthy plastic bottles. Please recycle your drink bottles. Can you bring a little commitment to your purchase?

Plastic can have a lifetime of 450 years. Most plastic is designed for single use. You eat with a plastic fork today and your descendants will be dealing with your choice. Consider reusing your plasticware, or class up your act and bring your own silverware. Surprisingly, it’s not a big deal to clean. When you wash your hands, wash your utensils. I wipe them off until I can get that done.

One of the most perplexing things we observed on the highway was a road sign used for target practice. Seems like a good time to suggest idiots shouldn’t be packing.

For the record, gun violence is the number one cause of death for children in the United States. That’s more than disease, more than car accidents.

I’m happy that child safety seats and seat belts are saving lives. Can we save kids by regulating gun rights the way we regulate other rights? Remember last week’s column, the individual right to gun ownership was established in 2008. Prior to that ruling, the Second Amendment was considered to pertain to lawfully organized government militias.

You know how anti-abortion people took us back 50 years? They decided their right to control other people’s bodies was the most important issue. They decided the unborn should have more rights than those who are alive. It became single-issue politics. A lot of gun rights enthusiasts are also voting on a single issue.

We should vote on a single issue: protecting American children.  Kids in school, grocery store clerks, teachers and people praying in church all have constitutional rights that supersede anyone’s right to own a gun. I suggest if you have ever loved a child … we should decide that protection of American children from senseless gun violence should be our number one priority, and only vote to elect those who vow to separate dangerous people from gun access.

We have more guns in this country than people. If more guns made us more safe, we would be the safest country on earth. From 2015 to 2019 we had the highest rate of gun deaths in the world. Americans die from guns more than six times the rate as Canadians, almost 12 times the rate of Israelis and Italians.  

Last week we discussed a few gun regulations that might make a difference. Most of the measures being considered nationally, have already been implemented here in Colorado.

We can share with our family and friends living elsewhere that those laws haven’t hurt us. The laws protect innocents. No one is whining about a lack of gun access in Colorado. Maybe while you’re having that conversation you might mention our voting laws work well too. Paul Olson’s conservative column vouches for that.