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Sunday’s Letters to the Editor

9/11 was an FAA failure

EDITOR: Peter Coyote (“Smarter spending,” Letters, Sept. 10) blames airlines for the success of the 9/11 attackers. I disagree. The Federal Aviation Administration is to blame.

During 9/11, two agencies under the Department of Transportation (the Coast Guard and FAA) shared similar mandates. One was port security. Given that responsibility for national security cannot be delegated, the Coast Guard never held the cargo, cruise or fishing industries responsible for port security. The FAA did the opposite, delegating airport security to the airlines/airports. Not even our European partners delegated security so recklessly.

But here’s the rub: pre-9/11, the FAA’s security training instructed aircrews to comply with hijacker demands; its rules allowed 4-inch knives on aircraft; its metal detectors were unsophisticated. To keep bad guys off airplanes, airlines requested government intelligence on known and suspected terrorists. They were denied based on “need to know.”

Airlines developed a profiling system to subject suspicious travelers to additional screening, but guess what? A boxcutter detected at this point would’ve been handed back. Tom Clancy’s 1994 novel “Debt of Honor” used an airplane as a weapon of mass destruction, yet we were told no one could foresee the use of an airplane in this way. Really? Bottom line: You can’t delegate national security. The FAA failed us all.

CYNTHIA AXELL

Santa Rosa

The common good

EDITOR: Although I appreciate the governors of states with low vaccination rates and high COVID case rates asking their constituents to get vaccinated, I wonder where they were 18 months ago when they could have mandated masks. Many of the unvaccinated say their freedoms and rights are being impinged upon, but what my family, my friends and our rights?

We have all been vaccinated and wear masks. Because of the unvaccinated, I wear a mask and limit my family and public events. So, for all of the folks who won’t follow proven science, those of us who are will continue to have our freedoms and rights compromised. Whatever happened to coming together for the common good?

DEBOARAH BURKE

Sonoma

A dystopian age

EDITOR: I’m scratching my head here. Aborting our own species is good? I think Jackie Calmes doesn’t quite see the bigger picture (“Dystopian law now reality in Texas,” Sept. 5). We are already living in a dystopia where death is good and life is bad. Years in the future we are going to look back at this disposable moment in history and view it in the same way we look at the evil of slavery and ask, “What were we thinking?”

MICHAEL KAMPLAIN

Santa Rosa

Deference to religion

EDITOR: Noah Feldman writes that religion is in the mind of the believer and should be deferred to in order to preserve our constitutional rights (“Freedom of religion means freedom to refuse,” Wednesday). He seems to indicate that if a person sincerely holds a bizarre, silly or dangerous belief, we must defer to it, regardless of the consequences. In this case, masks and vaccinations.

Could I have a sincere religious belief that being required to have a driver’s license is against my belief system? A car is considered deadly weapon. We require licenses for the safety of the whole community. COVID is also deadly. It is a danger to the community. How is it different to require masks in public than to require driver’s licenses or building permits or compliance with stop signs?

How can we pursue life, liberty and happiness when we are in danger from those who will not act in the best interests of the community by claiming it is their right?

My mother used to say, “Your rights end where the other person’s nose begins.” How apt.

JERRIE PATTERSON

Petaluma

Cloverdale’s turn

EDITOR: California voters spoke up and rejected the recall in great numbers. Fantastic. It was a stupid waste of money. Voters in Rohnert Park also did the right thing by saying no to fireworks. Will Cloverdale ever follow suit? One would think with all the fires we have witnessed this year that this would be an easy call for any city and its leaders. Let’s hope by next July the city of Cloverdale comes to its senses and bans the sale and use of fireworks.

LINDA ELLIOTT

Cloverdale

Elder’s shenanigans

EDITOR: Does Larry Elder’s “gracious” concession speech mean that he wasn’t really serious about detecting Democratic voter fraud (“shenanigans”) in the Republican California gubernatorial recall effort? If he was so convinced that there was fraud and a conspiracy against him, why didn’t he point them out? Why isn’t he yelling “rigged election” instead of conceding? Is it that the allegations were made up? Why wasn’t he running on his ideas instead of claiming fraud before the election even took place?

Maybe the obvious reason he lost so overwhelmingly to Gov. Gavin Newsom is that a strong majority of California voters — even some Republicans — don’t like his ideas and were frightened by his stated plans for governing. Just like his apparent role model, twice-impeached Donald Trump, when you know you can’t win on your merits, say that if you lose it will be because of voter fraud.

Perhaps there really was fraud. And the shenanigans were his.

R.W. CAMMOCK

Sebastopol

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