EDITOR: A headline in Tuesday's paper said: "Santa Rosa City Council told to stay mum on shooting." Who is it that can tell any American citizen to "stay mum" on any subject? Especially our City Council members who we elect to be our voices?
EDITOR: Even if Andy Lopez heard the warning, why would he think it was meant for him? He was not doing anything wrong; he had a toy gun. His reaction was typical of an innocent person, turning to see what was going on. Turn suddenly; your arm tends to rise somewhat. This might have seemed like he was raising the gun.
Some years ago, after speaking to a summer student, I was crossing the parking lot at Petaluma High when a police car zoomed past me. Shortly, I heard, "Freeze! Get your hands up." Did I? No, I turned to see what was happening. Nor did the police shoot anyone, although they were responding to a drive-by shooting. Rather, they told the few of us in the parking lot to go inside while they apprehended the boys. No shots fired.
Now, it too often seems that lethal force is the first response. Andy hardly had a chance to react. The deputy shot him seven times, possibly even shooting while the boy was on the ground. Why? Panic? Reflex? I appreciate the hazards of the job and that we ask a great deal of our officers, but given their training and authority, we expect them to deal appropriately with dangerous situations.
EDITOR: Yes, I played with cap guns and BB guns as a kid. But first my dad taught me, "Never, ever point a gun at anyone unless you intend to shoot them."
When I was a teen, my family and I target practiced with real guns. But first my mom taught me, "Never, ever point a gun at anyone unless you want to get shot."
Law enforcement firearms training years ago taught me, "If someone is moving to point a gun at you, you'd better shoot them first."
Sounds to me like the deputy paid attention to training. Seems to me Andy Lopez missed out on some important lessons.
With guns available, if parents aren't teaching gun safety to their kids, maybe our schools need to do it.
I've pushed aside toddler-finger-guns to the astonished approval of their parents. Never, ever point any kind of gun at me. Unless . . .
EDITOR: In Bob Dylan's "Visions of Johanna," a man wonders whether it's him or them who's really insane.
That thought struck me when I read the accomplishments of the three Assembly members and two senators who represent Sonoma County in Sacramento.
Our county's roads are in crisis, but our legislators have not noticed. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission just reported that 65 percent of Sonoma County roads are in either poor or failed condition. They are deteriorating to gravel and dirt before our eyes.
What more important issues have garnered the attention of our local state legislators during the past nine months? I can now fill my growler at any microbrewery, sign up for more online classes at a CSU campus and consider donating to yet another worthy cause on my state income tax return. Sunset dates for certain programs have been extended.
North Bay Suicide Prevention 24-hour hotline: 855-587-6373
NAMI Sonoma County warmline: 707-527-6655
Sonoma County Psychiatric Emergency Services: 707-576-8181
For information on Sonoma County support groups, call 707-527-6655 or go to namisonomacounty.org