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Missed warnings

EDITOR: Interesting reading about the Sonoma County emergency response system and our 40-school-district financial crisis. Anything new here? In the 2004-05 Sonoma County grand jury’s final report, both of these issues were addressed in great depth and detail: “A Disaster Waiting to Happen” and “School Districts: Time for a Change.” Both accurately addressed these critical issues.

If there is cause for alarm, read the county and school district replies in “Responses to the grand jury report. Let’s summarize: blah, blah, blah, everything is OK.

The county response incorrectly assumed that the next local disaster would be floods and mudslides. We got it covered. Of course, “we” was to be determined. The 40 school districts wanted NIMBY local control and basically said, “Leave us alone, we’re OK.”

A wake-up call here is that nothing has changed in the past 12-plus years. These problems continue to face us today, and they aren’t going to resolve themselves.

I would encourage the excellent Press Democrat reporting staff to examine and report on the details of these critical unresolved issues. We all need to be better informed so that we can influence our elected officials to take ownership and address these issues.

KEN RICHTER

Santa Rosa

Tyranny? No, democracy

EDITOR: Any American patriot reading Greg Kawaguchi’s letter should be outraged (“The NRA is voters,” Thursday). He implies that citizens need weapons to overthrow our tyrannical government. But our government is not tyrannical. It is a democracy. All of our representatives were elected by the people. If you don’t like the way things are going, you can vote.

And guess what? In our democracy, half the people are unhappy half the time. So if you don’t like the results, too bad. I, for one, am loathing the latest results, but I’m not going to kill anyone over it.

Ever since its founding, our democratic system has served us pretty well, without resorting to violence. The only time someone tried it the rebel way was when some Americans tried to hold on to slavery and ignited the bloody Civil War.

In contrast, the early Americans took up arms to overthrow a non-representative government (that’s non-representative) ruling from another continent. They were true American patriots. Overthrowing our own representative government is not patriotism. It’s called treason. (Again, recall the Civil War.)

It is just this kind of disturbed thinking that enables the proliferation of weaponry and the slaughter of 17 schoolchildren. There is nothing patriotic in any of this.

JOHN HOY

Petaluma

Trump needs a friend

EDITOR: As his staff departs for one reason or another, Donald Trump is becoming more alone and angry. I read elsewhere that he has snubbed White House tradition by not having a dog or other pet there.

I’m more than halfway serious when I say that perhaps what Trump needs is an emotional support animal — a dog? — a clean, quiet friend who would offer him unquestioned obedience and steadfast love, who would be there for him in the dark hours of the night to settle his restless and tormented soul.

And if a dog is truly man’s best friend, he would do for him what needs to be done: eat Trump’s iPhone.

HOLLY J. PIERCE

Santa Rosa

Teachers and guns

EDITOR: Here are a few problems with arming personnel at schools: those armed need continual training or they may not act during a crisis (witness Deputy Scott Peterson in Parkland, Florida); they may shoot innocent students by mistake; they may be shot by police by mistake; many mass shooters are suicidal and may not be deterred by the thought of return fire. In fact, many kill themselves after their rampage.

Tackling gun violence with better mental health support would take more funding and years to develop. More immediately, we could restrict the flow of the weapons of war. Otherwise, our kids are drowning, and we refuse to turn off the spigot.

It’s too heart-rending — and expensive — to keep appeasing a vocal minority who feel their safety and personal freedom depend on everyone’s unfettered access to assault weapons.

MATTHEW GOLLUB

Santa Rosa

Thompson and AR-15s

EDITOR: Rep. Mike Thompson’s refusal to support, or even consider, a ban on assault rifles of the AR-15 type is a negative mark on his otherwise reasonable gun safety agenda.

During a town hall at Hanna Boys Center on Saturday, he reported on work of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which he chairs, and on a proposed federal law that would tighten gun buyer background checks.

But when an audience question probed his views on a possible civilian assault weapon ban, his reform resolve slipped. With more than 15 million of those weapons already out there, he answered, any ban would be pointless. That was basically his only comment, and there were no more questions on the subject.

No gun-safety measure will produce overnight results. But ending the sale of AR-15s permanently would move us in a positive direction. We can’t wait to protect our children, ourselves and future generations from these heinous weapons of war. Congressman Thompson, please reconsider your passive position on them.

RAY SCHUSTER

Sonoma

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