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Trump’s wall

EDITOR: I was glad to read in Monday’s paper that President Donald Trump is traveling to the San Diego area to view examples for the design of his wall. However, one important option for the design isn’t being considered: Russia. Trump should subcontract the entire project to Russia, based on its experience with the Berlin Wall, which was a huge success, standing from 1960 to 1989. It provided a canvas for all kinds of innovative artwork — on the free side only, of course. The new wall on the border will function similarly. In this case, the free side will face Mexico.


Santa Rosa

An implied message

EDITOR: Your Friday editorial (“County takes lead role on pension reform”) states, in part: “.. retirement costs are expected to eat up nearly $50 million a year ... That’s money that could be and should be going to parks, road maintenance, housing assistance and other programs.” The implied addition is, “not to retirees.” Oh, those horrid retirees. Why don’t they just die? Get out of the way. They offer nothing and are useless drags on the county (health care and whatnot).

Just because they spent their lives working for the county and contributing to their own retirement doesn’t mean they’re entitled to it.

What this county needs is a good, strong euthanasia program for old people.

Get rid of them.



The proximity effect

EDITOR: Gun lobbyists claim, “It’s not the gun, it’s the shooter,” which is misleading and ignores human nature. The availability of guns influences owner behavior. Guns provide an option for action that doesn’t exist where guns aren’t handy. Easy access increases the possibility of use in response to real or perceived threats. Examples of a “proximity effect” abound in life, but they are ignored when considering gun control. Gun lobbyists purposely discount basic human nature in defending their positions.

A Valentine’s Day box of chocolates illustrates how the proximity effect influences decisions and actions. I think about how good a piece would taste every time I pass by the box, how little one piece would affect my diet plan. If I resist, I can treat myself to one chocolate for dessert at dinner time. Remorse follows, and I ponder the other possibilities I could have chosen had the box not been there. Who can say for sure that the box’s proximity wasn’t a prime factor in my thoughts and actions?

Proximity provides convenience, the desire for which is built into our daily existence, in our decisions and actions. Lock up the chocolates? Buy a smaller box? Give flowers instead?

Are guns like chocolates?



Trump’s steel

EDITOR: Hopefully someone will come forward to mention that Donald Trump used imported steel in some or all of his buildings. It’s time for him to take some responsibility.



Teacher pay

EDITOR: I find it amazing that public schoolteachers, folks who play an important role in children’s lives, are paid so little. Yet a football coach can make $100 million over 10 years, and pro athletes make millions to play a game and entertain the masses.

I taught for 31 years in Fremont, and it took me all those years to make more than $50,000 a year. If I hadn’t married a man who had a business and was doing well, I don’t imagine I would have owned a home. With home prices now it would be impossible.

I checked salary schedules of school districts, and still a long-term public schoolteacher, with 30 extra credits beyond a bachelor’s, or even a master’s, is lucky to make more than $70,000 a year. Median teacher salary in Santa Rosa is $64,000. San Francisco is about the same. The highest salary offered in San Francisco is $87,700 after 26 years in the classroom. San Francisco is now an unaffordable place for teachers to live.

Isn’t it amazing one can teach in a city but not afford to live in it? Values in this country seem to be that entertainment, be it sports or Hollywood, is worth more than folks who teach our children.



NRA’s mission

EDITOR: I would like to offer some comments regarding Marc Thiessen’s column defending the National Rifle Association (“Attacking NRA is slap at everyday Americans,” March 2). He leans heavily on the bravery and effectiveness of the NRA instructor who exchanged fire with the shooter at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. I cannot argue with this anecdotal evidence, even though effective armed responses like these are exceedingly rare.

The citizen who responded was clearly an expert with his weapon. However, many gun owners are not, and a person with inadequate gun skills may actually cause additional innocent casualties in situations like these. Even so, the NRA adamantly opposes legally mandated training as a condition of gun ownership.

And if the NRA is so concerned about gun safety, why does it oppose the banning of bump stocks? These devices allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at a much more rapid rate, but at the same time, they dramatically decrease accuracy — making the weapon less safe to operate.

Despite what Thiessen may claim, the primary mission of the NRA is to maximize the profits of arms manufacturers regardless of the human costs. Thiessen may think that this mission is worthy of respect, but I most definitely do not.



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