People deserve a vote on gun bills

It is outrageous that Senate Republicans Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, James Inhofe, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have formed a filibuster caucus to block a vote on gun safety.

Remember, to block a vote is to not have the guts to take a position of yea or nay on an issue.

I urge all registered Republican voters to contact your responsible Republican leader in the U.S. Senate -- Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky -- to take the lead, take a vote and not filibuster/obstruct.

If we voters fail to get our reps to vote, shame on us.

President Barack Obama said it during his State of the Union address and it remains true: Victims of gun violence deserve a vote.

Sharon Soulis

Fremont

Waiting to hear from Feinstein on drones

"Drones in our Lives" was the topic that 41 residents at Piedmont Gardens Retirement Community wrote about to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She is the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee that oversees drones.

We wrote postcards concerning the use of armed and unarmed drones in the U.S. and overseas. The morality of assassination by drones and the observance of due process of law were also raised.

Everyone gave their name and address, hoping to receive an answer from the senator. We will let you know when she responds.

Sylvia Levy


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Peace committee member Piedmont Gardens Retirement Community Oakland

Sensitivity class is vital part of schools

We can agree with George Will (April 4) that there may be too many administrators in our public schools. But we sure disagree with his choice of cultural sensitivity education as an example.

Curriculum choice bears no relation to administrative overhead. It has every relation to what kind of society we prepare our children to build.

The privilege of the dominant groups in society to be perceived as "normal" is invisible to them. They're unlikely to understand what it's like to be viewed with suspicion or disdain because of how you look or sound. They would swear they have no bias.

It makes sense to teach white children to notice where being white has given them an advantage and not to have guilt about that. This advantage is not their fault. It is as simple as who has to pull out their driver's license when they use a credit card, or as complicated as deciding who deserves a promotion.

This education is very effective in helping white kids understand the frustration and anger expressed by members of minority groups. And it shows them that feeling shame and guilt about racism is no way to end it.

Understanding is the first step toward building a more harmonious society, an important role of the public school system.

Pamela Dernham and Greg Linden

Oakland

Make eradicating poverty a priority

April 4 was the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

He is rightly honored with a holiday and widely acclaimed for advocating equal rights for African-Americans. Less well known is his Poor People's Campaign that included all races and was aimed at changing our economic system to eradicate poverty.

Few are familiar with the available evidence about the circumstances of his death. In a 1999 civil trial brought by the King family in Tennessee, the multiracial jury reached a unanimous verdict that local and federal governmental agencies were complicit in the murder of King. The full trial transcript is on the King Center website.

Twelve years after King's death, Archbishop Oscar Romero, another vocal advocate for eradicating poverty, was assassinated in El Salvador by U.S.-trained snipers. I was there in March for the 33rd anniversary.

If eradicating poverty were truly a priority, it could be done, both in the United States and throughout the world. People are smart enough to figure this out. So what's stopping us?

Marilyn Langlois

Richmond

Poor aim and wrong target

Gun safety is a complex question best managed by local controls matched to local conditions.

Populous and contentious New York City likely has different needs and dominant attitudes than gun-competent, easygoing suburban Texas or rural Arizona, Tennessee, Alaska or Nevada.

City dwellers and country folks' insights are necessarily limited by their limited experiences. Restrictions are better focused locally rather than imposed broadly.

And, while proposing action in response to the personal pain of gun violence is natural, it seems misdirected to indiscriminately restrict a nation of experienced law-abiding innocent gun owners, rather than punishing the perpetrator, to assuage hurt feelings.

Poor aim, wrong target. Abridging the Second Amendment right of your peaceful neighbors to make you feel better may be unfair or troubling to your innocent, peaceful neighbors.

Buzz Pedrotti

Discovery Bay