District 4 C-5 Downieville Lions Club (DLC) held their Annual Club Speech Contest at the Downieville School on Monday night. Four contestants spoke on the chosen topic of “Liberty and Justice” and what it means. Kaylon Hall, Megan Parker, Makalia Rollins, and Matt Lozano each gave meaningful and thoughtful speeches to an audience of family, friends, teachers, fellow students and DLC members. A $100 1st place award was claimed by Matt who will compete at the Zone level in Nevada City. $25 was awarded to each to runner ups Megan, Kaylon and Makalia. Judges were Honorable Real Judge Bill Pangman, Wells Fargo Bank Manager Mindy Strine and Retired County Clerk Mary Jungi. Time keepers were County Supervisor Lee Adams, the lovely and smart wife of Ross, Pam Gordon, and Editor of the Prospect ROTW Liz Fisher. Tellers (the ones who made sense of the convoluted scoring) were FNP, MICN Frank Lang, Firefighter and former DLC Treasurer Ross Gordon and Planning Commissioner and husband of Betsy, Phil Cammack. Snacks and punch were provided by members of DLC.
Most important to western Sierra County is our emergency responders, fire, medical and law enforcement personnel. Alleghany, Pike City, Downieville and Sierra City Volunteer Fire Departments (VFD) and Downieville Ambulance and Sierra County Sheriff are the folks in charge of making sure everything works the way it is suppose too. SCSO is staffed by paid personnel who attempt to keep us safe from bad things, luckily not many bad things happen in our county. Downieville Ambulance and all of the VFDs are staffed by volunteers. EMTs and Dispatchers do get paid when they are on a call with a patient onboard, but much of their work is unpaid. The thing about this is they are you, the only thing that keeps our homes from burning down or an ill or injured person being thrown into the back of a pickup for a two hour ride to a hospital is You, Us, We. The county and the world has changed over the past thirty years, but what has remained the same is living in our rural community where we need each other to survive. Right now our emergency personnel have thinned out and we are struggling to have enough people to respond to any situation. You may not think of yourself as someone who can do the job. I know you can. Our volunteers have always had full time jobs, families, young children and other reasons to believe you can’t do it, but with more volunteers, we have options, when you are working, someone else may not be, volunteerism is just that, you volunteer when you are available, you respond when you can. Yes there is a responsibility to your fellow volunteers but schedules and personal responsibilities happen to all of us, so do what you can, when you can. You will get the training you need to deal with situations in the field. You will have camaraderie and support from your fellow volunteers. We need you. I need you. You need you. Help yourself and help your community. An EMT class is being planned for this Spring, please call Frank Lang at 289-3644 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to sign up. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.
This week Dianne Ponders, Carrie’s Corner, Cats, Others, local news and news and happenings in Truckee see this http://www.townoftruckee.com . Be sure to check out our guest columnists Robert Gould, Michael Nagler and Ira Hefland. Gabby’s on vacation this week, and the Mountain Messenger is fighting battles for life, liberty and the pursuit of information.
The photo is from Jim Yeoman, collector of historical Sierra County photos and this is of the Jersey Bridge, now known as historical bridge on… Hwy 49 thanks for the catch Rick Simi and correcting my mistake…. back before the St Charles Hotel was burned to the ground.
Free Training in Heber, CA
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Dream state – by Robert J. Gould
I grew up in the first American Dream, where returning soldiers from World War II were greeted by new suburbs, with cute ranch-style homes on quiet cul-de-sacs, surrounded with green grass and white picket fences. That American Dream was filled with square deals: military service earned veterans’ benefits. A union job earned a square deal of pay and benefits. Income disparity between the rich and poor was minimal (relative to the present), as we all sacrificed in the war effort, so we all deserved fair treatment in the workforce. Of course, “we all” were nondisabled, heterosexual, white people, as racism, anti-semitism, sexism, homophobia, and a hatred of foreigners still persisted in this American Dream. It was an exclusionary White dream to be sure. An additional flip side of this dream was the largess gained from the new American Empire, with massive income streams driven by our growing worldwide domination and exploitation as we surged past Britain and Japan and China was not yet on the horizon.
Now, more than 70 years after World War II, other marginalized peoples in the US have fought for their access to some version of the American Dream, from the Civil Rights movement to women’s rights, gay rights, Native rights, and more.
Contemporaneously, since my post-WW II childhood, the first American Dream was rolled back, replaced by a new American Dream. This second dream is the American Lottery Dream, where somehow, one can suddenly get rich through talent or luck, just as the currently wealthy were either luckily born rich or talented. This new dream undermined union power, as individual workers abandoned solidarity for the dream of individual wealth. A friend of mine, while he worked at a homeless shelter during the Reagan administration, polled homeless people about their presidential preferences. The people he polled were vastly in favor of reelecting Reagan because he offered the best pathway toward becoming rich, even though his policies escalated homelessness. This was in the 1980s, near the beginning of the American Lottery Dream, which I believe started during the Me Generation of the 1970s, based on the myth of class mobility.
The American Lottery Dream is literally expressed in the massive numbers of Americans that play various lotteries, along with other forms of gambling, which accounts for more than $70 billion in US spending per year. The media did not play up the wealth of celebrities much in the post war era that I grew up in. Today, the wealth of celebrities (they won the Talent Lottery) and their power (e.g. Donald Trump) is constantly played up–at a high volume–in today’s mainstream and social media. It is easy to see how young people, growing up today, may dream of becoming a “rich celebrity” against the nightmare of becoming a “poor nobody.” When their personal American Lottery Dream fails legitimately, it is also not surprising that young people turn to the crime or drugs version.
In the context of the American Lottery Dream, Donald Trump’s popularity makes sense, but what are we to think of Bernie Sander’s popularity? Is his social democratic dream more like an improved original American Dream? A dream filled with the security of square deals: a union job earning decent pay and benefits, income disparity between the rich and poor becoming minimal once again, and American life becoming fairer to all diverse peoples, domestic and foreign. This mirrors the European Dream, which is also much less violent than the current American Experience. 2016 may be the Year of American Dream Redefinition. Stay tuned.
Robert J. Gould, Ph.D., is an ethicist, writes for PeaceVoice, and co-founded the Conflict Resolution Program at Portland State University.
Ok, so Don Russell is having a tough time lately. Fighting for liberty and justice for all is a tough job and sometimes you have to pick on your friends. When it comes to liberty and justice and picking on friends who don’t understand the concept of free press and people’s right to know there is none better. As many people recall years ago a headline in the Mountain Messenger used the terminology “Chicken*hi* Sheriff, Don calls it like it is, and not like the Trump guy, who’s an idiot (IMHO). Russell hits the nail. So be sure to read the Mountain Messenger and don’t forget if you are the 5th new subscriber before the next issue you will get a year’s free subscription. (thanks to a generous donator). Meanwhile stand tall and know that you are reading words of an editor who truly believes in “liberty and justice” and all the good things that come with them.
Send anything you need published to Milly, the CEO and most important person in the office, at email@example.com or you may call directly to 530 289-3262 and talk to Don, (and suggest he give a raise to Milly). For a subscription: send in money or call 530 289-3262 with credit card in hand.. Write to Don Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him you subscribed because you read about it on Sierra County Prospect…..
Photo by Milly – Camera of Fiz
A Lesson (Still) Not Learned
By Michael N. Nagler
I was deeply saddened to read last week of the death by suicide of Cmdr. Job Price who was with a Navy SEAL team in Afghanistan. I was even sadder when I realized that the hopeful idea that sprung up in my mind was naive: “Now maybe people will understand why soldiers commit suicide.” The only reasons for his suicide that the media could offer were the usual suspects: it was a bad deployment, “a cautionary tale of how men were ground down by years of fighting and losing comrades,” and of course, the old fallback that puts a stop to the whole inquiry, “no one knows why.”
The fact is, we know very well why soldiers and veterans commit suicide – if we allow ourselves to know it. In his book, “On Killing,” Lt. Col. David Grossman describes that from the beginning of the historical record up to the Korean War, soldiers were extremely reluctant to kill their fellow human beings, going so far as reloading weapons they hadn’t fired. Muskets were found on the battlefields of the American Civil War with as many as eighteen balls rammed down the barrel in this pretense. And what Grossman concluded has been strongly confirmed by science: human beings have a strong, inherent inhibition against killing and injuring their fellows.
We can, of course, be trained or conditioned to go against this inhibition; but what results is what psychologist Rachel MacNair calls Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress (PITS), a form of PTSD that affects not only combat soldiers but police officers, prison guards who carry out “legal” executions, and many others. In any of these people, the cognitive dissonance can lead to suicide. This inhibition is arguably what makes us human; we cannot violate it without serious consequences, no matter what society or our conscious minds tell us about it’s being necessary, or even glorious.
This inhibition, which we should be very proud of, goes back so far in evolution that we are born with “mirror neurons” in our brain that cause us to feel what others feel. Distinguished neuroscientist Marco Iacoboni of UCLA says, “Although we commonly think of pain as a fundamentally private experience, our brain actually treats it as an experience shared with others.”
In Grossman’s second book, “Let’s Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill,” he reports that after the military had discovered how few men were actually firing their weapons in combat situations, it set about conditioning recruits to override the inhibition. In some cases, they simply used the same games that our children are playing on their X-Box or Playstation (hence Grossman’s title). They were very “successful” – that is, in increasing the firing rate – not in changing human nature.
A SEAL is supposed to be beyond all this, but the case of Cmdr. Price shows it isn’t so. Now, I have no idea what goes into the making of a Navy SEAL, but as part of basic training in the regular army, recruits shout out in unison when asked the purpose of the bayonet “to kill, kill without mercy.” But to be without mercy is to be without your humanity. And this is what veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are telling us: “I lost my soul in Iraq,” “I no longer like who I am,” etc.
When will we realize that the reluctance to kill and injure is not an inconvenience, but a precious capacity that we should celebrate and reward and that we could use as a guide to how we can and should live?
There was, to be sure, one hint in the press: just before he killed himself, Cmdr. Price had in his pocket a report about an Afghan girl who had died in an explosion near the base. But it was mentioned without comment, and of course with no attempt to draw conclusions. It’s left to you and me to tell this story when and wherever we get a chance. Of course, it means that Americans will have to rethink how we conduct ourselves in the international arena, how we treat offenders in our society – many such things must be examined and re-examined, and we shouldn’t shrink from this challenge. The alternative is to go on dehumanizing our servicemen and women, who are already committing suicide at an appalling rate. And why should we shrink from it, when if we accept it we can build a far better world based on the true recognition of who we are.
Michael N. Nagler writes for PeaceVoice, is Professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and is author of The Nonviolence Handbook and The Search for a Nonviolent Future.
By: Carrie A. Blakley
I’ve heard a lot of people mention how they’d love to be able to just go back to ‘the more simple times’ of living. What people who have never lived in said ‘more simple times of living’ are saying is that they’d love to be able to live in a time when people were more civil,and proper (per se), and not everything was regulated to no end, but keep (and maintain) the technological advances, as well as most laws, that we have now. Sorry folks, we can’t have it both ways. Moreover, although most of the people in this nation are heavily reliant on said technological advancements, folks up here in Sierra County don’t really have too much of a choice in the matter. Our cell phone services are minimal (at best), anyone not living inside of an established town is lucky if they can even get satellite Internet service, some folks are still having to use dial up Internet service. There are also places (such as a stretch of Pearl St.) that can not have television, simply due to the fact that there’s a huge mountain blocking the line of communication between a satellite and a receiver.
Sad, right? Not really. When you think about it, we’re pretty much well blessed with our lack of, well…..almost everything. Why? Because it forces us to learn how to rely on what we DO have, and who IS here, and what we CAN obtain, rather than stooping to a near zombie-level of instant gratification. Sierra County is, in essence, one big family, containing just over 3,000 people. Sometimes, we all get along. Other times, we bicker and argue….and, then we all get along again and everything is all right, until the next major topic for discussion pops up. If we hear that someone is sick, we make sure that they have any help that they need until they recover. If we know that something needs to get done, we roll up our sleeves and ‘git r dun’. Power outage? Yeah, the only thing anyone up in these parts really cares about is if anyone has been injured due to the power outage. Other than that, we’re all pretty much just firing up the wood stoves, and swearing about where those damn flash light batteries went to. Again.
Also, like a family, if one of us gets wronged by an ‘outsider’….may God have mercy on the soul that did the wronging, for they will be feeling the wrath of an entire county of people falling on them as if the 7th circle of Hell itself had just been opened upon them. If you need comforting, we do that. If you need a set of ears to just listen, we do that. If you need food, you’d best be having plenty of room in that refrigerator of yours. If you need medical help, we do that. If you need clothes, well….I hope your closet is empty, and you have plenty of hangers laying around. If not…we’ll bring hangers as well. So, like a family, we all like to bicker, and snap, and argue, and discuss everything with absolutely no end in sight. We get fed up, frustrated, tired and aggravated with each other. But, like a family, we’re also always there when the times get tough. Let’s keep it that way folks. It’s the people in this county that truly make it a special place to live. Have a good week and please, try not to piss off the neighbors, ok? Thanks.