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Teens reaching out

EDITOR: I applaud the students of Elsie Allen High School who visited with the people camping behind the Dollar Tree Store in Roseland (“Elsie Allen students learn about life’s harsh side and try to offer comfort,” March 5). The students’ interest and willingness to spend their free time meeting with the campers on a personal level demonstrates true caring for the world around them.

The sharing of stories between campers and students can only help all involved see one another for exactly what they are — fellow human beings, each with a unique history and a unique set of talents and challenges.

This personal interaction can go a long way toward overcoming the types of stigmas that people who lack homes frequently encounter. It is hard to hold onto generalized, prejudiced viewpoints when you get to know people as individuals.

It warms my heart to see these teens reaching out to learn about and help others in their community.

KATHLEEN KANE

Santa Rosa

A new threat

EDITOR: The U.S. has no developed, deployed ballistic missile defense system. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is being deployed but has never been tested in a military engagement. THAAD is no defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles, even if it works.

The U.S. and Russia each has thousands of ICBMs. For 50 years the threat of nuclear war has been extremely low due to the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction. One ICBM has eight to 10 warheads. One ICBM can destroy eight to 10 cities, and both sides have thousands of warheads.

Don’t worry. Russia has not developed any game-changer (“Putin touts Russia’s new nukes,” March 2). MAD still stands.

A distressing research interest on both sides is to develop nuclear warheads so small that their damage can be limited to hardened targets. The theory is these will be so “clean” that they can be used in small tactical engagements. That is something to worry about.

The U.S. military has a trillion dollar dream to “modernize” our nuclear weapons programs. Donald Trump has supported this program. That is something to worry about. I consider it an unimaginable waste of resources with no important military utility.

CARL FLEGAL

Santa Rosa

The enablers

EDITOR: Ken Larsen’s statement that “no NRA members and no Republicans have been involved in school/mass shootings” is laughable (“The shooters,” Letters, March 3). The National Rifle Association and the GOP are the enablers. The NRA is the most powerful lobby in D.C. A more enlightening research project for Larsen (instead of searching voter registration records) would be to research which representatives and senators receive NRA gun lobby blood money.

SALLY MORRISON

Sebastopol

Teachers’ roles

EDITOR: I worked at a high school for 11 years, and I am alarmed at requests for teachers to take on more responsibility for our children (“Teach morals,” Letters, March 4). Not only are they expected to turn out A-plus scholars who will go on to change the world, they are expected to be social workers, confidants, parents and advisers.

They are asked to teach soft skills — how to shake hands, how to act in an interview, how to carry on a conversation. I have even seen requests that classes be offered in basic life skills (how to cook, pay bills, do laundry). There is now talk teachers might be asked to use a gun to protect our kids. But that isn’t enough. Now they should be teaching morals.

Do they already do this? To some extent, yes.

However, my concern is teachers are always the ones asked to do more, but there is never any mention of the parents’ role. And what about churches, coaches and other positive adult influences? What we are asking of teachers is unrealistic and unfair.

Let teachers teach and do their job. Fund them so they can do that well. And parents? Step up to the plate and do your job, too.

LEIGH McTAGGART

Windsor

Assault weapons

EDITOR: I am writing in response to Ray Schuster’s letter in Wednesday’s paper (“Thompson and AR-15s”) about my Town Hall on gun violence prevention. I am glad he was there and pleased 300 people attended and voiced their concerns on this important issue.

When asked about assault weapons, I was very clear about my personal opinion. I carried an assault weapon in combat in Vietnam, I know what they were designed for, and I don’t believe they should be on our streets.

Thank you again for your participation and know that I will continue fighting to pass legislation that will keep our community and our nation safer from gun violence.

MIKE THOMPSON

Congressman, 5th District

Total insanity

EDITOR: The mental health problem that really needs addressing is the collective mindset that defends, or at least tolerates, the easy availability of mass-murder weapons. Total insanity.

J.B. GRANT

Sebastopol

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