The means to act

EDITOR: These horrible massacres by means of firearms all have the same basic sequence of events: (1) motivation to commit the act; (2) the means to do it; and (3) the tragic result of many people dying. The National Rifle Association has focused on dealing with (1) as the only means to prevent (3), while denying that (2) has any role.

If this is correct, then, by analogy, a farmer motivated to plant and harvest 160 acres of wheat should be able to achieve this result whether or not he could use a tractor. But I think the magnitude of the result has a great deal to do with the means to accomplish it.


Santa Rosa

FBI vs. Occupy

EDITOR: Documents obtained from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, even though heavily redacted by the agencies, reveal that the FBI started monitoring, spying on and disrupting Occupy in July 2011. When the FBI found out that a group with the ability to act on its threats planned to have snipers murder Occupy leaders, it ignored the matter.

Here's an excerpt from Dave Lindorff's "FBI Ignored Deadly Threat to Occupiers," in the Dec. 29 issue of Counter Punch: "Commenting on this peculiar lack of action (failing to protect Occupy leaders from credible threats of assassination) by the FBI and other national anti-terrorist organizations, Partnership for Civil Justice executive director Maya Verheyden-Hilliard says, &‘The documents we've obtained show that the FBI was acting as a private intelligence and protective agency for Wall Street and the banks against people who are engaged in First Amendment-protected free speech activities.' "

I'd like to see an article on this in The Press Democrat.


Santa Rosa

Homeless shelters

EDITOR: To be homeless in this cold must be terrible ("Body found at waste disposal site," Saturday). As there seems to be a shortage of real shelters or rooms, could the horse stalls at the fairgrounds be made available as emergency shelters? Doesn't sound elegant? In comparison to the cold, wet ground or a dumpster, I think a room with a roof and access to a bathroom with toilets and hot showers would be wonderful. It might even be cost effective to have security police on hand to monitor the warm, live people, rather than the police investigating the pathetic frozen ones. Let's think outside the dumpster.



Focus on prevention

EDITOR: As I consider the White House's latest attempt to enact new gun laws, I reflect on the fact that many of the guns used in the recent mass attacks have been stolen or "borrowed" from lawful gun owners. Would more laws with hoops for legitimate purchasers to jump through change this outcome?

I remember hearing that the Newtown shooter was under care for mental issues while in high school but was forgotten by the system once he graduated. I hear of others struggling with emotional disorders in Colorado, at Virginia Tech, in Tucson, in Norway. I also have read of a clubbing death of an elderly victim in Grass Valley and the recent stabbing of a local driver by a hitchhiker.

Shouldn't we as a society be turning our focus away from the weapon that in and of itself does no damage and toward helping to heal those who commit such crimes before they act? Whether it is a stick, a gun or a knife, someone who is not mentally well can and will act out. Let's turn the anger and effort away from gun laws and put the energy toward prevention of such tragedies by helping those in need.


Santa Rosa

Nurses strike

EDITOR: Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has once again chosen to spend its precious capital on replacement workers rather than investing in nurses of the Staff Nurses Association and the community.

We need to defend the gains we have made over the past 30 years in having a voice in caring safely for our patients and in our benefits. The outsiders who have come in to "negotiate" want to slash incomes of the nurses who work the night shift and those on call at all hours, while increasing health insurance contributions up to 400 percent for some part-time workers, yet we earn millions for their bottom line. They also want to have temporary workers routinely work before their own employees, many of whom have been here for decades.

The corporation increasingly has failed to listen to our concerns and solutions to keep you safe when you are in our care, turning instead to consultants for the latest gimmicks and scripts. The Staff Nurses Association is the leadership that Memorial has been unable to provide us. Thank you for your support on Monday and Tuesday and until we are permitted to return to work.


Santa Rosa