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Being prepared

EDITOR: Four months ago this coming Sunday, in a small town in Connecticut, there was a horrific killing of 20 children and six adults. A lone gunman walked into a school with guns, and in less than 10 minutes, beginnings became endings.

As with many things in our lives, it was naturally assumed that the 20 schoolchildren would feel at home in the familiar surroundings that were much like a second home. This false sense of security contributed to the ending of young children. The assumptions of security and safety in the Newtown massacre are the same "assumptions" that keep so many people from the possible life-saving training through the Santa Rosa COPE neighborhood preparedness program, for example. The savage beatings of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina or the relentless waters and winds of Hurricane Sandy on our East Coast might have been less severe if, instead of assuming security and safety would prevail, pre-thought out personal survival and disaster preparedness skills were put into play.

In the case of possible, probable and inevitable natural disasters, everyone in the entire country needs to get emphatically involved with programs that will save lives. Please remember — never assume.

JAMES HARRIS

Santa Rosa

Laguna protection

EDITOR: Wednesday's article about Laguna protection efforts ("Santa Rosa struggles to create Laguna protection Projects") is a prime example of our leaders spinning their wheels and wasting money without solving the problem.

The article stated that in a normal year approximately 50,000 pounds of nitrogen and phosphorus are expelled into the Laguna, therefore, the city must clean other sites for credits to offset the discharge. How about no discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Laguna? Problem solved.

The time and money should be spent on finding ways to filter these items. In my very short research, I found there are methods that claim to be effective for this problem.

Wouldn't it be great if Santa Rosa developed this process so other small regional sewer plants draining into our drinking water can follow? Let's quit playing games and get serious about pollution.

GEORGE CINQUINI

Santa Rosa

Apples and oranges

EDITOR: Another hyperbolic overreaction and misunderstanding of the 14 stabbed in Texas by another nut ("Time for knife control?" Letters, Thursday). What if Dylan Quick had an assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine? Imagine the exponential carnage. What is this world is coming to?

The fact is that people can be killed with anything. But nothing is more efficient and deadly than automatic weapons. Any reasonably intelligent citizen knows banning kitchen knives is idiotic. Apples and oranges. Automatic weapons maximize results.

All 14 victims survived, albeit traumatized. Thank God all this unstable kid could organize was a kitchen knife instead of an assault weapon.

DAN NOVAK

Santa Rosa

Vietnam atrocities

EDITOR: Sheridan Peterson ("Orwellian account," Letters, April 6) references the Winter Soldier Investigation in 1971 by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Peterson insists that society has forgotten this investigation into American war crimes committed against the people of Vietnam, the Vietcong and the North Vietnamese Army. Peterson says that while in Vietnam as a journalist, he witnessed atrocities against the people of Vietnam including grisly photos of our soldiers proudly posing with mutilated corpses.

While there exists a criminal element in every army, including our own, such atrocities weren't condoned. If caught, our soldiers faced court martial. However, the atrocities committed by the North Vietnamese government against its own people were atrocious. The atrocities committed by the North Vietnamese government against our soldiers who were held captive in the Hanoi Hilton, including routine torture, were a matter of policy. The North Vietnamese government did not recognize the Geneva Conventions.

What about the thousands of people killed during Tet by the North Vietnamese Army in the city of Hue? Have we forgotten? Have we forgotten those hundreds of young men who did not return from captivity in the Hanoi Hilton?

GARY E. LOONEY

Santa Rosa