by Alan Ferdman
It has been a little over a week since an individual of “pure evil” released a barrage of carnage in Las Vegas. He killed 59 people and caused injury to over 500 others. All were individuals who he had never met, and had never caused him any harm. Once again, we end up asking ourselves what kind of a sick and deranged individual would want to kill people at random, and how can we prevent something like this from happening again? While I applaud those who are willing to have an honest dialog, too many would rather twist the issue to forward their own agendas.
In this case, evil used firearms to commit the crime. Almost immediately, the call came up: “We can’t just do nothing — let’s write some more laws.” But looking at the facts and using some analysis, we can easily reach the conclusion that background checks would not have prevented this tragedy. The shooter bought all the guns legally, which included a longer “wait period” and California’s “one gun-per-month purchase limit.” Yet, outlawing bump stocks, which are used to enable semi-automatic weapons to be fired like fully automatic weapons, is being rightfully supported for legislative action by both sides of the political aisle and the NRA.
While these concerns weigh heavily on the minds of all Americans, stories of heroism and extreme personal sacrifice came forth. They remind us how our community members were willing to put themselves in danger, to help the fallen and those in need. Each month, as I chair another edition of the Canyon Country Advisory Committee, the meeting always begins with a tribute to a person or group who exhibit the courage and conviction necessary to help someone in need. I then remind those in attendance, “There are heroes all around us.” A prime example of such gallantry was exhibited in Las Vegas last week by local residents John Phippen and his son Travis. While they could have fled for their own safety, they chose to stay behind and help individuals already injured. Travis Phippen was shot in the arm, as he worked to bandage at least 14 other wounded victims. Sadly, John Phippen was shot in the back and killed while shielding a woman at the scene. May God bless them and all the other heroes who came to the aid of the injured. Let’s all pray for the 59 who perished, those currently recovering, and the families touched by this senseless act. May they all experience a bright and loving future, free from additional hardship.
I often wonder how I would act under similar circumstances. While, thankfully, the vast majority of us will never be subjected to making such a stressful decision, there are other ways we can help those in need. Which brings me to why you should ADOPT A DUCK.
For three years I have had the honor and privilege of being chairperson of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center’s Rubber Ducky Festival. SDFHC operates clinics in Val Verde, Canyon Country and Newhall, providing health care services to the uninsured and underinsured in the Santa Clarita Valley. What an amazing group of people, working to help those who might otherwise be overlooked.
This year is the 15th annual Rubber Ducky Festival, which will take place on Saturday, October 14 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Bridgeport Park in Valencia. Admission is FREE and during the event, several duck heat races and a main event will take place on a man-made “pond” raceway. Children and adults love to watch the thousands of rubber ducks racing down the track, each franticly competing to earn their owners the top first place prize of $2,500, second place of $1,500, or third place prize of $500. Duck adoptions are available at any of the three Samuel Dixon Family Health Center Clinics and will also be available the day of the event at Bridgeport Park. A prime racing duck can be adopted for $5, a Quack Pack of 6 Racing Ducks for $25, a Quaker’s Dozen (12) for $50, or whole Duck Flock of 24 well-trained, race-ready Ducks for $100. (You do not have to be present to win).
Local vendors and other non-profit community partners will be on hand presenting a stage program filled with local talent of dancers, singers and martial artists. There will be plenty of things to do with the family, including a rock-climbing wall, bounce house, face-painting, balloon artists, a photo booth, games and an appearance by the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s “Shakey Quakey” house. When you get hungry, you can visit the food court comprised of popular gourmet food trucks, including The Ice Boxx, Griddler Gourmet Catering, Humble Crust Pizza and Tacos Don Chicharron. Plus, raffle tickets will be available for purchase. You may win Disneyland Park Hopper tickets, a one-night stay with breakfast for two at the Hilton Garden Inn, Magic Mountain tickets, a party certificate with MadCap Balloons, various gift baskets and restaurant gift cards.
You will have the opportunity to meet Rick Chambers, our master of ceremonies, meet the SDFHC team and take a picture with, or if you are lucky get to dance with, Dorothy Dixon Duck, the most gorgeous, yellow, six-foot duck in the world.
The Rubber Duck Festival is Samuel Dixon Family Health Center’s only fundraising event of the year. You will get a good feeling remembering that every duck you adopt translates to additional heath care services for a person who might otherwise go untreated.
I hope to see you there and shake your hand. I will be the guy in all yellow, with a duck hat, duck sunglasses and funny shoes. Please stop by and say hello.