By John Wood

The Second Amendment is the law of the land. I wore the uniform of this country in war to defend every single article of the U.S. Constitution and 50 years ago I took a lifetime oath to defend it, but I have lost count of these senseless mass killings.

In Tehama County where another horrible random shooting just occurred, only 28.48 percent went for the Democratic nominee in the 2016 presidential election. That’s Trumpster land for you — State of Jefferson wannabees.

Del Norte County has a Trumpster majority and too many State of Jefferson voters as well. At least the State of Jefferson Measure on the 2014 ballot was voted down in Del Norte with a 58 percent no vote. But 42 percent voted yes to succession.

Sane people need to worry about that 42 percent. Succession was approved in Tehama County. While I am no fan of Hillary Clinton either, the fact remains the majority of Del Norte votes went for Trump. When that Trump majority badmouths me, I wear it as a badge of honor.

Could a mass shooting happen here? Locally, a young man was recently and mysteriously shot and killed with a single bullet to the back of his head on Elk Valley Road on Nov. 12. In the same area of Elk Valley Road near State Street at the radio station on Nov. 14 at 7:33 p.m., two separate people in the radio station called 911 to report hearing shots fired.

The woods on both sides of Elk Valley Road have long been infested with large homeless camps of particularly vile criminals where shots are often heard and meth cookers and burglars live and store the spoils of their trade. It has been that way for decades on Union Street, the Ruth Complex and the land beside and behind Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority.

I understand and have deep compassion for homeless souls who just can’t rub enough pennies together to find lodging and pay rent due to poor physical health, mental illness, lack of employment opportunities and old age, but these are not the run of the mill shopping cart pushing winos in the woods of which I speak. They largely consist of hard-core criminals and ex-cons hiding in the woods for a reason, and have illegally built little houses and large treehouses on other people’s lands in the sprawling camps which have been there for years.

Recently, our county codes department removed several burned vehicles from the power-line easement near Elk Valley and Union Street. They had been there for a year and I’ll bet a hundred bucks to a stale doughnut that more will soon appear and be burned.

I know property owners and others who have been shot at back there on there. Sheriff Erik Apperson told me at a neighborhood watch meeting those woods are the first place shots were fired at him as a young officer. Overworked and understaffed law enforcement can only come to investigate specific reports when called, so what’s the answer?

Ten dead some two years ago at the Umpqua Community College shootings in Roseburg Oregon. Now five dead and multiple wounded in Tehama County. It’s getting too close for comfort. Why are all these innocent children and other random victims being killed by madmen?

Some say, “Round up all the guns.” But it was a good guy with a gun who stopped the killer behind the mass murders at that small town church in Texas. By the time law enforcement arrived, many more would have been dead without that armed citizen’s heroic intervention.

One thing’s for sure, this country needs more mental health care, not less. The Republican Tax Bill now proposes to repeal the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act leaving another 13 million without health care. If passed, it will raise premiums 10 percent on the poor, sick, and seniors whose very lives depend on the most affordable health care possible in the only civilized, industrialized country where health care is only for the privileged few who can afford to pay through the nose.

John Wood is a Vietnam veteran. He lives in Crescent City.

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