<b>It's about money</b>

EDITOR: My quadriplegic son has been served at Sonoma Developmental Center or more than 20 years, and the continuing effort to close it is not about abuse — it's about money. All institutions deal with abuse, some better than others, and the Sonoma Developmental Center has done well, all the while coping with dwindling resources.

It's about money, but no one wants to be branded as a grasping, insensitive money monger by closing an institution that has served those least able to protect themselves for more than 120 years. No, they orchestrate reasons to remove funding until the institution keels over and dies. Then they can move in to carve it up and realize obscene profits on the sale of a multimillion dollar property.

Let the same compassion and outrage be expressed here that is being expressed over the slaughter of women and children in Connecticut.



<b>Person of the year</b>

EDITOR: Time Magazine got it wrong. Time describe the criteria for a "Person of the Year" as the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and news of the past year for good or ill. As a professed news junkie, I can say, unequivocally, that thing is the gun in whatever form.

When I tune in or read the news, the first thing I most often see or read about is a shooting or killing somewhere, caused by the proliferation of these things that are made for the express purpose of killing someone or something.

It's way past time for us to stand up and yell "enough." Politics aside, let's all pray that President Barack Obama will have the guts to stand up to whomever and whatever stands in the way of changing this outrageous culture of violence.



<b>Special ed needs</b>

EDITOR: While gun control is needed in our land, we must ask whether we're at fault too for not providing for Adam Lanza's complex needs.

My heart breaks for the victim's families. But I read Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger's on the autism spectrum. As special education attorney, I represented children like him. While schools often want to provide proper services to special needs children, they can't due to inadequate resources.

The law, through unfunded mandates, requires public schools to provide children such as Lanza with education and services needed so they can become healthy functioning members of society. Their needs are complex, often requiring special schools. Yes, it's expensive. But the cost of not providing for them is worse.

We need to examine our failure as a society to give proper education and services to all children, including those with disabilities. If not, we can only blame ourselves. Tragedies will repeat, and we won't benefit from the gifts all children give us.

Special needs children and their pain are as much ours as were the treasures we lost in Lanza's rampage and the heartbreak we experience today. Along with gun control, we must examine our responsibility to our education system.



<b>Military weapons</b>

EDITOR: I'd like to rebut Mike Hawkins' ("Not about guns," Letters, Wednesday) excuse for the rash of senseless massacres that have taken place — the most recent being Newtown, Conn.

The issue isn't mental illness. The issue is gun control. The issue is certain lobbying groups that have convinced state and federal legislators that the Second Amendment should include assault rifles. Hunters don't need or use guns that can fire 50 to 100 rounds per minute to kill a deer or a duck. Law-abiding citizens who legally own pistols don't need high-powered assault weapons to protect their families. Why then are they so easily accessible?

How did Adam Lanza in Connecticut and the kids from Columbine get their hands on assault weapons? Unless you are a member of the military, you do not need an assault weapon. Amend the Second Amendment to make it a federal crime to own an assault weapon and you take away the majority of the massacres.