Letters to the editor - Feb. 28, 2013

Dick is right, Amy is wrong

I carefully read the Feb. 21 Amy Roost and Dick Lyles columns regarding armed guards at public schools. I thought that Amy was correct in her resistance to armed guards, based upon the projected costs. But then she fell back on the idea of increased gun control as the long-term solution to school shootings. I also took strong exception to her statement “The NRA’s attempt to deflect blame for a problem they very actively helped create — a culture obsessed with violence and guns — is self-serving at best.” Nothing could be further from the truth. And in making that statement, she painted herself as a left-wing gun grabber. Her favorite U.S. Senator is probably Diane Feinstein.

I totally agreed with Dick Lyles’ column. I would like to see the idea of trained teacher volunteers advanced and seriously considered. It makes perfect sense.

Rex Coe,

Poway

Amy is right, Dick is wrong

A hearty thanks to Amy Roost (Feb. 21) for a sensible, sane, intelligent, compassionate and sometimes ironic argument against armed guards in every school. She developed her argument using inductive and deductive reasoning. She offered practical options.

I am sorry to say that Dick Lyles’ position on the same issue was without merit, impractical, and somewhat detached from the human suffering associated with gun violence.

The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health recently hosted a two-day summit that provided much “food for thought and action” on gun violence. They published a book based on the summit. “Reducing Gun Violence in America: Informing Policy With Evidence and Analysis.” The New England Journal of Medicine has produced excellent surveys and found “high support among Americans — including gun-owners in many cases — for a range of policies aimed at reducing gun violence.” Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords have organized a group to lobby Congress to provide responsible solutions.

Local San Diego citizens have organized into an ad hoc group to deal with gun violence. They plan a meeting on Saturday, March 2 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Hillcrest, 4190 Front St., San Diego. The group, “People for a Safe Community,” want action and we want your readers to join them this Saturday.

Gail Conners,

San Diego

No fan of the president

I’m sick to death of the garbage our president is spewing about cuts associated with sequestration.

Police, fire, teachers, will be cut. Do these services have to be cut? Of course not, but saying so has a measured effect on a population that gets its news in small sound bites. Our president views the majority of our population as lemmings gobbling up what he says without giving thought to the validity of his words. He’s right about the ignorance of many Americans who are busy raising families and earning a living or find it too depressing to hear the facts about our bloated political machine.

Google search the ridiculous amounts of government funding for things such as a rattlesnake’s reaction to squirrels (by building a robot squirrel). Or the effect alcohol has on prostitutes in China. Here’s a good one, did you know the federal government subsidized Amtrak to the tune of $84.5 million in 2011, and $833.8 million over the last 10 years for losses in their food services!

Oh, and if you feel compelled to explain to me that jobs will be lost if funding is cut, please don’t waste your time. You won’t convince me that our government should be in the business of creating jobs. Just look to the debt binge in Greece to see where we’re heading if we don’t make cuts.

Cindy Zdvorak,

Poway

Rolling out the stupid

When Republican governor Bobby Jindal implored GOP bosses “Stop being the “Stupid Party!” it was an unusual admission for any politician, but after the self-inflicted implosion of 2012 someone had to say it. The Republican Party had swirled so far down the political toilet, somebody had to throw out a lifeline. I don’t think it’s going to work, however.

Allen Hemphill’s latest column serves to diagram right-wing failure. Just as GOP senators are refusing to hold a confirmation vote on Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, until they can get “more information” on the Benghazi tragedy, Hemphill tries to serve some over-ripe innuendo from the same menu to readers.

Most right-wing readers know exactly what Hemphill’s dog-whistle refers to, but for those who didn’t get the chain-emails last year, I’ll explain. First, the facts, and then the right-wing propaganda: Ambassador Chris Stevens died of smoke inhalation inside a Benghazi hospital, after being brought there by Libyan civilians who found him unconscious inside the burning building. Those are the facts. But the Republican far-right propaganda machine spread the rumor before the election that Stevens was raped in the street by an Islamic mob, while Obama watched over a satellite feed and refused to send in the Marines to save him. Unbelievable, but that’s their story. When Hemphill hints about the “real story,” that’s what he’s alluding to.

Not very smart. But you have to roll out the stupid before Republicans can say “now it’s a Party!”

Gerold Firl,

Poway

Facebook page praised

Regarding the Jan. 31 story, “San Diego police posting crime updates on new Facebook page”:

I think an SDPD Facebook page is a great way to get news out to the public. Other than what airs on television, people don’t really take the time to go online and read the news. However, Facebook is so popular nowadays that it makes for a very convenient way to check the news.

Also, the idea of having multiple accounts for the different areas of San Diego is a helpful resource to finding out specifically what’s happening in your neighborhood.

Based on all the positive feedback I’ve seen posted on the Facebook page, I think the community agrees with me in saying that this was great idea and we highly support it.

Amanda Blythe,

Rancho Bernardo

Light pollution threat

The meteor that detonated above Chelyabinsk, Russia, earlier this month is a reminder of the how little is known about the orbits for a large number of potentially hazardous space objects.

Estimated to be 55 feet in diameter, detonating at 500 kilotons of TNT, it was 30 times more powerful than the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These small meteoroids can be eliminated, but only if you know they’re coming.  The only warnings here were the ubiquitous Russian dashcams watching the meteor streak overhead.

This meteor detonated in the air, dissipating much of its energy and nobody was seriously hurt. A city hit by a more durable iron-type impactor would cease to exist. Only a small fraction of the thousands of similarly sized meteoroids estimated to occupy our solar system, have known orbits. Inexpensive electronics and high-quality consumer telescopes give rise to the option of public crowd-sourced asteroid tracking.

Unfortunately, light pollution keeps efforts like these from ever getting off the ground.

Light pollution occurs from improperly shielded and controlled outdoor lights. Properly shielded and controlled nighttime lighting enhances security, increases your ability to use your land at night, but doesn’t increase light pollution. Go to www.darksky.org to find out how you can install or modify your lights to do a small, but important part in reducing light pollution. Who knows, maybe the little changes you make with your lights will mean the difference between an astronomer being able to spot an incoming impactor in time, and Armageddon.

Peter De Hoff,

Poway

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