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Early intervention

EDITOR: I have been reading the media accounts of the need for gun control and better mental health programs. I've even seen interviews depicting Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook school shooter, as being "different" in high school.

What is missing are accounts of this young man in his earliest years. Where is the interview with the preschool teacher, neighbor or friend who knew him then? I suspect such accounts would show that Lanza had special needs from the beginning of his life. I have focused a 40-year career in early intervention working with scores of children on the autism spectrum, including those, like Lanza, diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. These children are not inherently violent, but their unusual behaviors are misunderstood. Their families are misunderstood. Years of not being accepted by the community has a negative effect on a child's self-esteem that can result in a tragic outburst such as we just had.

Early intervention/behavioral mental health programs are much more available than previously. Yet parents still shy away from enrolling their children because of the stigma it places on them and their child. I believe that reducing the stigma attached to behavioral disorders is integral to reducing the number of incidents of this type.

SUE POWELL

Santa Rosa

Finding greed

EDITOR: Greed — an excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.

Greed is all around us.

If I make more because there is opportunity in this country and there is an infrastructure that lets me thrive, is it greed that makes me not want to pay a fair share of what I make to maintain the country?

Is it greed that makes me want to acquire more powerful weapons with greater killing power than I need, so I can do what? Or is it the greed of those who make the weapons so they can make more money regardless of the consequences?

Our government, big pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, banks and other institutions are being overrun by the greedy.

Some say greed is good. I want to be successful, and no Mrs. Romney I don't teach my children to "just do OK." At the same time, I do hope they learn from me not to be greedy.

WALLY KRUTZ

Windsor

Disrespectful view

EDITOR: A person beginning a letter with "hitting a target with the first shot is gun control" to defend gun rights is absolutely appalling and totally disrespectful ("Dangerous ideas," Letters, Dec. 28).

Twenty-six human "targets" recently lost their lives due to this attitude that represents a small minority of an otherwise civil society. Basic rights can be regulated to protect society from harm without infringing on individual rights by passing laws that assure responsible accountability.

When the Second Amendment was written, all the patriots had were single shot muskets. It could be that's all the Second Amendment guarantees.

J.W. HALE

Petaluma

Driving and courtesy

EDITOR: So, I'm a senior citizen who faithfully takes the 55-and-older driving class every three years. This class keeps me up to date on the latest rules of the highway per the current California driver's handbook. It seems that there are other-age drivers out there who could benefit from this "refresher" course.

Then the media has the temerity to suggest that I give up my driver's license. Come on. Let's not be so quick to sit in judgment. Look first to your own driving habits and compare your approach to the rules of the road as stated in the driver's manual, then decide who is at fault.

Rudeness is not a character trait that I would be proud of. As a senior citizen, I probably do a better job of planning my time so that I don't have to push the other person out of the way to reach my destination on schedule.

This letter is to the "perfect" driver. I'd like to know why they think the highways are designed and maintained for their use only. Courtesy is contagious.

CARRIE RAY

Santa Rosa

A terrorist organization?

EDITOR: Isn't it time for the government to designate the National Rifle Association a terrorist organization? The NRA sponsors and promotes unlimited availability of weapons of mass destruction to criminal and lunatic elements around the world. Isn't that one definition of a terrorist organization?

It is sad that NRA members, who are mostly sane and reasonable, have no control over the NRA's lunatic leaders, who are totally beholden to the gun manufacturers, which, in turn, are only interested in making money over the dead and maimed bodies of the men, women and children of this nation.

EARLE A. PARTINGTON

Santa Rosa