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<b>Soldiers over politicians</b>

EDITOR: In rebuttal to Jim Minton ("Guns and ammo," Letters, Thursday):

First, there are no "former Marines." Once a Marine, always a Marine.

Second, the Marine in Wednesday's photo offered his life so that we may continue to exercise our constitutional rights. If he wants to "get the feel" of a gun in a gun shop, God bless him. It's his right, more so than most, to do so. It would be the beginning of the downfall of our form of government to deny him or anyone else their Second Amendment rights.

Third, it is not inconceivable that the FBI could be ordered to go door-to-door confiscating guns. The first doors they'll knock on are those of registered gun owners.

Who would have thought the National Security Agency would collect our phone or email exchanges or the Internal Revenue Service would single out an applicant for tax-exempt status based on the perceived political affiliation of that applicant?

It may be wiser not to trust government, or should I say not trust those people in control of government and instead rely on the lessons of history to guide our actions?

No, I'll put my faith in that Marine or soldier or sailor before I'd put it with any politician.



<b>Improving the lake</b>

EDITOR: I keep seeing pictures of Lake Mendocino with really low levels, and it makes me wonder. Why aren't they using this opportunity to grade the lake and remove dirt to increase the holding capacity of the lake? Also could the dirt be used to raise the dam level?



<b>Spirit of giving</b>

EDITOR: When our home burned, we lost everything that we and our children have accumulated over the years that made us comfortable and defined us as a family ("Couple escape fire, home destroyed," Dec. 11). Christmas looked bleak as we faced the daunting process of getting the basic necessities, let alone trying to replace presents and decorations. We also had the task of finding a place where the six of us could be together during the holidays.

Then came the students, staff and families of Rincon Valley and Slater middle schools, Brush Creek Montessori School, Franz Valley Mothers Club and Santa Rosa Bible Church along with a host of other wonderful people, including John and Suzanne Fouts, who let use one of their cottages.

We know how blessed we are by all the thoughtful people who have given us coats, hats, gloves, professional attire, blankets, pillows, gift cards, cash and words of sympathy and encouragement. We hung all the cards on Christmas ribbons to cheer us, and we thank God for all of you who have uplifted our spirits.

We are overwhelmed by the generosity of all who helped us, young and old alike. You definitely made Christmas happen for us and have shown that the spirit of giving is alive and well in Sonoma County.



<b>Unanswered questions</b>

EDITOR: Resolution or closure in the Andy Lopez case will not come until four underlying questions are honestly debated:

Had Andy been white, is it more likely that he would be alive today?

Are police more likely to resort to lethal force in high crime areas and, if so, is this justified?

Read all of the PD's fire coverage here

Race and neighborhood notwithstanding, would this tragedy have occurred 15 years ago before Columbine, Newtown and other mass slayings by young people with semi-automatic weapons?

In light of these tragedies, do parents bear some responsibility in preventing their children from carrying look-alike weapons?


Santa Rosa

<b>Made our year</b>

EDITOR: Thank you, Press Democrat. Two days into January and you've already made our year.

Thursday's front page: A story about positive signs in the need to revamp our nation's immigration laws.

Page A2: A photo of the first gay couple to be married on a Rose Parade float in front of millions of people.

Page A3: A photo of New York's new mayor, Bill de Blassio, and his mixed-race family.



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