Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday January 19, 2011 - 10:56:00 AM

Guns; Anagram; Gun Violence; The Violence and the Rhetoric; Darfur; Another Predictably Inane Editorial; Re: banning guns and/or high-capacity magazines; A short allegory in reference to current events; Living Independently; People's Park does not want a tree sit 


Amid all the blather about "civility" it's a relief to read Becky's editorial about the real problem—guns—and her sensible suggestion for a start toward getting rid of them by re-instating Feinstein's expired, modest prohibition on gun magazines holding more than ten shots. 

Aside from the tragedy of the latest mass shooting, what's depressing is the timidity of leading politicians of both major parties. Is the gun lobby so strong that elected officials are willing to just let people die? not only at the hands of deranged shooters, but at the hands of ordinary people losing control in a fit of anger, or, our children, in street fights that used to be settled with fists, and only in very extreme, furiously disapproved cases, with threat of a knife. (I'm showing my age, of course, describing the tough Mission District, SF, of my youth.) 

It's an ugly fact that people sometimes lose it, and attacks other people with whatever is available. The obvious remedy is to limit what's available. 

Thanks, Becky. 

Dorothy Bryant 




Think tall! A dreamer greeting truth. 

Ove Ofteness 

* * * 

Gun Violence 

I know that citizens have a right to carry guns for self-protection but they also have a responsibility to acknowledge the freedom of other people to assemble and express their views. I hear comments that the person who became murderous in Tucson, Arizona is mentally unstable. If that is so, how was he able to purchase a gun? What kinds of background checks were made? What kind of waiting period was required?
This may be a good time to think again whether guns should be available only to the police who are assigned the task of keeping citizens safe on behalf of all of us. 

Romila Khanna 



The Violence and the Rhetoric 

After this most recent shooting, folks on the right got angry (it is what they do best) over attempts to link their uncivil discourse to the shooting in Tucson, by what everyone agrees is a madman. 

OK...maybe they have a point. Military and gun metaphors have been used by both sides in political campaigns since forever. Heck, even the word "campaign" is a military term. 

But Sharon Angle's quote about "Second amendment remedies" was no metaphor. Words like that could easily have the effect of inspiring some dim bulb on the right to take up arms. Gabrielle Giffords had previously expressed such concerns herself. 

Is it too much to ask both sides to tone down the hyperbole regarding their political opponents? 

John Davis, RN 


We Must Keep the Spotlight on Darfur 

I am writing to you as a Jew, as a citizen of Berkeley, as a high school student, and as a person. For the past few years, I have followed closely the conflict in Sudan, and have done what I could to help out in small ways and raise awareness in my own community. I feel a particular connection to the people suffering there because although I don't know what it was like to have experienced the Holocaust, I have seen the destruction and pain it caused in my fellow Jews, and I do not want something of that magnitude to happen ever again, no matter who to. 

The last civil war between the north and south lasted for 22 years and resulted in the deaths of over 2 million civilians mostly from South Sudan. In December, over 32,000 Darfuri civilians were forced to flee from their homes of aerial attacks by the Government of Sudan and clashes between the government and rebel groups. In 2010, an estimated 300,000 civilians were displaced in Darfur and over 1/3rdof the population 2.7 million people - is living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. 

It is so easy to let these numbers float over your head and not be processed, but please don't. As you are probably aware, according to the referendum in Southern Sudan, the vote began on January 9th and will last until January 15th. If the vote is free and fair, the south is expected to overwhelmingly vote for independence. 

As we wait for the results, it is of the utmost importance that the media keeps the spotlight on Sudan. If the world turns its back on Sudan after the referendum, I fear that the country will lapse back into chaos. Please think about this when you consider what to include in each article. 

Yael Platt 


Another Predictably Inane Editorial 

So only government officials can be trusted to own certain types of weapons? And that is based on what moral code? And what reading of history? 

Considering the literal hundreds of millions killed by government in just the 20th Century alone, how could anyone come to such a bizarre conclusion? 

The only type of weapons that should be outlawed are the ones incapable of pinpointing a specific individual target. 

Those are all owned by governments, the famed WMDs. 

Of course the gun is never the culprit, it is always the specific criminal who misuses them. 

Since leftists abjure personal responsibility they always look to collectivist solutions that invariably punish the innocent with no effect on the guilty. 

The same with the mental illness racket. People should check out the massive work of Thomas Szasz,MD, in this. 

Hitler was a declared Socialist and all one has to do is to actually read the original 1920 Platform of the NSDP. 

He was no more on the Right than Stalin or Marx. 

As far as the old Southern Segregationists go they were wrong in defending compulsory segregation but totally right in opposing compulsory integration. 

The "vileness" is always in the eye of the beholder. 

Michael Hardesty 

* * * 

Re: banning guns and/or high-capacity magazines 

Please note: 1] Rights predate government; 2] Self-defense against the tyranny of violence - whether initiated by government or criminal action - is an Unalienable Right; 3] You can't legislate against crazy; and 4] The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently ruled the police are not responsible for the safety of the individual citizen. 

I would seem that Ms. Becky O'Malley's letter is offered in response to the latest attack by a lunatic, this time in AZ. Whereas I applaud her well-intentioned zeal and compassion, I doubt Ms. O'Malley is old enough to remember the societal breakdown referred to as the L.A. riots, much less consider those events in light of the recent happenings.  

During the L.A riots, the police abandoned certain parts of the city to mob rule and refused to enter these areas (yes, that occurred right here in America). While unchecked violence, burning and looting from roving mobs numbering in the hundreds reigned supreme, tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens were abandoned by officialdom to survive the chaos on their own. Caught in this no-man's-land of violence were a number of law-abiding businessmen of Korean ancestry, who - along with their family members - stood on the rooftops of their businesses bearing their privately owned weapons in order "to protect and defend" (Hmmm, now there's a familiar phrase) their lives and property from the ravaging hordes.  

It's undeniable that Ms. O'Malley is well intentioned. However, one wonders how she would manage to convince those American businesspersons of Korean ancestry that "There's absolutely no reason why private persons should have easy access to technology for firing multiple lethal shots in rapid succession from a pistol. Absolutely no reason." Knowing their lives were at risk and their businesses faced imminent destruction, these U.S. citizens thanked Almighty God for the U.S. Constitution's guarantee that our government protects "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" - an Unalienable Right so disputed and disdained by Ms. O'Malley. These courageous Americans armed themselves to the teeth and successfully managed to face down the mob.  

Life lesson #1: when SCOTUS says the cops aren't responsible for your safety and the national guard is nowhere to be found, "'Tis better to have a gun and not need one, than to need one and not have it." - author unknown but thanked. 

"Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs and life, but of my property is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps I could not surrender if I would." - John Adams - American Patriot, U.S. President, British Traitor 

Lee McGee, sovereign citizen 

New Iberia, LA  

* * * 

A short allegory in reference to current events 

My granddaughter Chelsea asked me after watching the latest news about the shooting in Arizona, "why don't they take the guns away?" Because, I tried to explain, "One of the rules in our Constitution says that Americans have the right to own weapons." 

Hmm," she mused, "then what about bullets? Is there anything that says Americans have the right to own bullets?" "No there isn't," I remarked. "Then they should take away the bullets. Bullets are what kill things, not guns." 

Smart kid. 

Her logic is sound, but how can I tell her that here in America the National Rifle Association has/exerts an undue influence and are in essence lobbyists for the weapons industry. How can I tell her that Second Amendment rights advocates cherish their guns with a fervor bordering on religious fanaticism? 

Gun violence will continue in America because nobody will stand up to the NRA, because of the easy accessibility of weapons and because a few egocentric NRA talking heads are dictating the debate on guns. 

Ron Lowe  

* * * 

Living Independently 

Included in Brown's $3 billion in health and welfare spending cuts, is a plan to end the adult day care program. Many people use the service as a way to remain in their homes, rather than moving into far more costly nursing homes. 

Nursing homes cost five times as much per IHSS client. The number of skilled-nursing-centre beds has dwindled through the years as IHSS’ success has grown at helping the elderly continue living independently. 

Ted Rudow III,MA 

* * * 

People's Park does not want a tree sit 

People's Park does not want a tree sit nor does it want the offensive poster of four Native Americans with rifles. People's Park does not want a name change. How do I know? I went to the Park and the wind cried Mary (not tree sit). 

Budgetary times ahead are challenging enough for UC and the state and I am sure the tree sit will wither if pragmatic Park supporters understand that no Park is an island; the trees must be thinned in the East End, the homeless and other users in the East End need triaging for help and training, as No Park is an Island and the Park cannot create miracles until all boats rise in Richmond and Oakland and Berkeley, etc. 

The original motto of People's Park was "Everybody Gets a Blister." That means that along with all the fun of picnicing and conversing, playing music, basketball, and enjoying diversity, Park supporters and users should help garden and clean the Park. Nature evolves with cycles of decay and renewal. 

I was against the first Berkeley tree sit as well. Love live sports! No one can repeat the magnificence of Luna and her tree sitter. 

Wendy Schlesinger