Police shootings

EDITOR: Another unarmed minority male killed by police gunfire, this time in Missouri. Who is next?

Question: Of all deaths due to gunfire, what percentage of those deaths are due to gunfire by sworn peace officers? I would like to see these statistics county by county, nationwide. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Leave out all the circumstances and how justified; just look at the deaths. We might even find some best practices to study and copy.

Are we allowed to do science related to firearms or is that forbidden by the National Rifle Association?



Thumbs down

EDITOR: I appreciate the thoughtful local commentary that I usually find in The Press Democrat, but I think the editorial “A little too much pampering?” was a misplaced attempt at comedy (“Thumbs up, thumbs down,” Monday). “Lawmakers are just teething about this” … “this one may leave a rash with voters”… “swaddled in revenue requests” … Really? This isn’t the Colbert Report. Low-income parents who can’t afford diapers. Nothing funny about that.


Santa Rosa

A comrade-in-arms

EDITOR: The news of Robin Williams’ passing slapped me in the face. I found myself shuddering and almost fearful, yet I couldn’t understand why. We weren’t personal friends. I don’t think I’ve seen him in a live performance. I knew nothing of his personal demons, nor anything about his angels. Yet there was a sense of simpatico, and I think I figured out why.

We’re the same age, 63. He’s a comrade of my generation.

I think there’s a kinship amongst people of the same generation. Although that kinship may be different from family and personal friends of all ages, it’s deep and strong. Members of a generation grow up in similar cultures and times, are shaped by the status quo of those times and view the world through a special pair of glasses that no other generation wears. Each generation shapes history in its own special way.

I can’t listen to John Lennon’s “Imagine” without a heart bursting with pride. I look at how organic foods have become mainstream, and I feel the same pride. The challenges of big business and inefficient government, the awareness of our environment’s fragility, the futility of war — these are things my generation brought to the table.

And Robin Williams was part of it. He used his fame, wealth and heart to raise money for the causes our generation deemed worthy. We’ve lost a comrade-in-arms. That’s why I cried.

Why did I feel fear? I guess because I realize my generation is beginning to slip away to take its place in history.



Nixon’s legacy

EDITOR: Al Hunt wrote, “Nixon without Watergate: it’s like Beethoven without music” (“Watergate conspirator and good liberal,” Sunday). Indeed, the mainstream press has assured the odium of Watergate overwhelms Nixon’s legacy.

However, in fairness to Nixon and posterity, Watergate should now yield to the many contributions he made: Nixon supported the (failed) Equal Rights Amendment; introduced Affirmative Action (without quotas) into government hiring; spurred hiring women into policymaking position; integrated Southern schools; launched the wars on cancer and drugs; outlawed sexual discrimination with Title IX; ended the draft; urged passage of the Clean Air Act; proposed “NixonCare;” created the Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Occupational Safety and Health Administration; and, wielding the B-52 cudgel to force Hanoi to a peace treaty, he delivered the Paris peace accords.

But here is the real scandal of the 1970s, obfuscated by Watergate: The Democrat-led Congress passed the veto-proof Case-Church Amendment halting regional U.S. military action and denying Nixon the B-52s to enforce the peace accords. Then, in 1974, it inexcusably slashed by more than 50 percent military supplies for the Vietnamese army. We thus abandoned the South Vietnamese who valiantly fought on until April 30, 1975. Hanoi didn’t win the war, the 93rd Congress lost it.


Santa Rosa

Fire safety

EDITOR: Thank you for publishing such a helpful special publication about fire safety. There was lots of wonderful advice. But I still feel overwhelmed, and I’d love a little hand-holding. As a business owner, I have searched periodically over the years for a fire consultant to help us conduct fire drills. No one, including the fire department, has been able to help me. I would also love some advice at home on where to put fire extinguishers inside and how to create a fire-safe environment outside. The consultant could arrange tree-trimming, clearance of leaves from gutters and setting up extinguishers. One-stop shopping. Is there a retired fire fighter out there who would be interested in helping people like me?


Santa Rosa

Smart weapons

EDITOR: Time and again we debate the wisdom of arming “good” rebels in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine — name your hot spot. One reason not to export weapons to volatile regions is we have no way of knowing into whose hands they may fall. But assuming our lawmakers will, at times, vote to ship weapons abroad, let’s at least export smart weapons that can be “killed,” or turned off, by remote from our country.

Iraq and Syria would look very different now if ISIS couldn’t use the weapons wrested from the Iraqi army. If Apple can render even a stolen cellphone inoperable, why can’t we apply the same controls on machine guns and anti-aircraft missile launchers?


Santa Rosa