Lawsuit explains anti-Ashland bias

Ithink the lawsuit filed against the Ashland Gun Club by the folks that recently moved out to Emigrant Creek Road is just another example of why so many people around the Rogue Valley think Ashland is such a bunch of whiny, wacky rich elitists.

Those of us who have lived in Ashland most of our lives know Ashland as a really nice middle-class small town. But more and more, when I meet people from around the rest of the Rogue Valley and tell them I'm from Ashland, I get this kind of funny look, eye-rolling and sometimes even a remark about the land of nuts and flakes.

The lawsuit that Ed Kerwin and Cathy Deforest filled against the gun club is nothing more than buyer's remorse, a sense of entitlement or at best an attempt to further drive up property values on their street by closing the shooting range. If I didn't like guns or shooting, I sure wouldn't build my home right next to a shooting range! And why would someone build a 19,000-square-foot mansion and winery right above the gun range in the first place unless they thought they would eventually just pay an attorney to get it closed?

When ultra-wealthy people move to Ashland and try to push their beliefs and agendas on the rest of us, it makes me think about how tolerant so-called "new agers" are. They preach about acceptance and "celebrating diversity" in our community, unless of course that sort of diversity doesn't fit their predetermined perception of what they think Ashland should look like now that they have arrived.

After 25 years, I'm finally starting to understand why so many folks in Medford, Grants Pass, Phoenix and the rest of the valley just shake their heads at Ashland. When I see these wealthy newcomers trying to change our community, I also think about all my friends that have moved away over the past 10 or 15 years because they can't afford to live here anymore.

When I moved here in the late '80s, most of the police officers and the police chief all lived in Ashland. Their wives and families shopped at the local markets and went to the public schools. Now it seems like most of the police force and many other public service employees live outside of Ashland. Several of the schools have closed and I can't help but think there is some connection with all the wealth that has moved in lately.

Ashland used to be a community of tolerant, accepting, thoughtful people. But more and more, Ashland seems to be becoming a playground for elite, rich, intolerant hypocrites. In my opinion this lawsuit against the gun club is just another example of where Ashland is going and why the rest of the valley has the sometimes negative opinion of our community that they have.

Whether or not you approve of gun ownership, target shooting or hunting, you must know there are people in this community who enjoy these things. I feel the community has been tolerant and accepting of this fact by maintaining a safe, clean shooting range for these folks.

Bottom line: If you don't like guns, don't go to the shooting range. And for God's sake, don't build your castle next to one.

Todd Kemp lives in Ashland.

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