Sunday’s Letters to the Editor
A flawed fantasy
EDITOR: Lew Taber fantasizes a very different ending to the mass shooting in El Paso, if only armed “good guys” had been there to take down the “bad guy” (“Protecting society,” Letters, Wednesday). Sounds pretty Wild West, like a 1950s Roy Rogers TV episode — the white hats kill the black hat and nobody else gets hurt.
Here’s the flaw in his fantasy. Texas is an open carry state. With few restrictions, Texans can openly carry handguns, even military-grade weapons, in public. In fact, the shooter himself was within his rights when he walked into Walmart armed with a Kalashnikov-style rifle. He didn’t break any Texas laws until he started killing people. In other words, nothing prevented the 3,000 shoppers in Walmart from being armed, too, and likely some of them were. Yet no good guys came to the rescue.
The image of random, law-abiding gun owners saving the day in mass shooting scenarios is a National Rifle Association fever dream. As long as Americans have easy access to semiautomatic weapons with large-capacity magazines, the good guys will be dead before they can even draw their guns.
PG&E’s irresponsible plan
EDITOR: Wednesday’s article about preparing for power outages said “county officials urged PG&E to eventually develop a fire-safety alternative to shutting off power to customers” (“Officials prep for outages”). They need to do more than “urge.” They need to insist.
PG&E says we need to be prepared, as if stocking up on flashlights, batteries and canned beans (don’t forget a manual can opener) was enough to survive a prolonged blackout, especially one affecting 400,000 county residents and 20,000 businesses. They don’t even mention that residents on wells will have no water in the event of an outage. People who have livestock will be especially impacted. For example, a horse needs 10-20 gallons of water a day.
Being prepared for a prolonged outage would require many customers to purchase generators, back-up batteries, solar collectors and/or large, elevated water tanks at a cost of thousands of dollars. People aren’t going to be able to afford to do that, especially on such short notice. And for that kind of money, main transmission lines could be buried.
PG&E thinks it’s off the hook for maintaining its transmission lines by just shutting off the power when fire danger is high, but that is irresponsible and unacceptable.
America in the world
EDITOR: His diplomatic skills having failed again, the White House occupant is provoking a needless trade war with China. The damage to the world’s economy, and ours, will be serious.
Collateral damage is already here in the Bay Area — the federal government is pulling support from a 14-year-old language and cultural exchange program with China (“SF State shuts down language program,” July 31). So far, 13 universities have been forced to close the program, affecting thousands of students.
Thus, White House adherence to ignorance and xenophobia holds firm. When the current occupant is out of office, let’s all look to restore what makes America both civilized and strong — full engagement in the world, including its many peoples, languages and cultures. Something nearly everyone but you-know-who believes in.