Self-defense that's effective is a necessity

Larry Thompson's letter, "Owning a gun not so brave," (May 30) quotes a previous letter writer who, "tried to tell us that hiding behind the barrel of a gun constitutes bravery." Mr. Thompson responded, "there is nothing inherently virtuous about gun ownership and usage."

Reading his letter, I recalled the evening of Jan. 4, 2000, when two gunmen entered the Alamo home of Dr. Kim Fang, a respected plastic surgeon and personal friend. With his two young children present, one gunman beat and pistol-whipped his wife, while the other beat a relative. Fortunately for his family, Kim was a legal gun owner. When he courageously looked down the barrel of his gun and killed one of the gunmen, he performed the most virtuous act of his life.

Mr. Thompson's letter states, "The life of one innocent shooting victim is worth far more than his right to bear arms." He must remember that without the right to bear arms, evil people without an ounce of bravery or virtue will shoot and kill innocent victims.

Roberta Kautz

Pleasanton

Nuclear bill should either be fixed or vetoed

House Republicans added key provisions this week to increase nuclear dangers and block sensible arms control in the fiscal-year 2014 defense authorization bill.


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The Republican-dominated House Armed Services Committee wants to increase nuclear weapons funding by about $200 million above the president's request of $7.87 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration's weapons activities. That's an increase of $654 million from two years ago.

On the other hand, these same Republicans want to hold back $75 million for arms reduction required under the New START treaty with Russia. Also, their bill seeks to limit the president's ability to negotiate agreements with Russia to further reduce our arsenals, even though the U.S. and Russia hold 95 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.

The next step in the process will be to bring the committee's bill to the floor, where it can be amended and improved by the whole House before a final vote. Then, the action will move to the Senate. I hope this bad bill gets fixed. If that doesn't happen, I urge President Obama to veto it.

Jo Ann Frisch

Livermore

Unprocessed VA claims are a disgrace

It's a matter of time. And I think the time is now. The commander of the American Legion let the cat out of the bag at the May 27 Memorial Day Celebration. Only 1 percent of Americans are or ever have been in the armed forces and less than 4 percent of the population even know someone in the armed forces.

Quite a bold statement. And it is the main reason why very little is getting done in the way of processing claims for veterans in need. Politicians have known this percentage for a long, long time. And they give the veterans and the voting public lip service to obtain votes from the remaining 96 percent of the population. If it was not such an easy target, politicians would simply leave the veterans to fend for themselves. But it is very good press to do otherwise. If they really meant what they give lip service to, the Veterans Affairs Department would be up to date on claims filed. If they really meant to do something about it, it would get done. Instead they hold meetings, news conferences and meetings, all the while gathering more claims that are not being processed.

It's time for politicians to get back in the office, the VA administration to get back to work processing claims. And get claims off the desks and either processed or rejected. Get the work done. Quit gathering, start doing.

David Caldwell

Pleasanton

Spousal support, care is priceless

"For better or for worse, in sickness and in health" are the vows exchanged during a wedding ceremony. There are no guarantees in the health and well-being of your partner. I read the caregiver article by Joanna H. Kraus in the June 9 Timeout section with great interest. Tending to a loved one in failing health is a challenge, as it's also a labor of love.

I hope my husband never faces this situation as we age gracefully together. A few years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic disease. I am fortunate that the last few years it has been under control to where I can get by on my own. I pray daily that it doesn't progress because I don't want to be a burden to him.

By the way, I graduated with highest honors on May 31 -- something I was told I would never finish because of my chronic disease. If it wasn't for my husband's love, support and coaching, I'm pretty sure I would have quit. He is priceless.

Catherine Marie Stillwell

Dublin

Lab's cleanup crew heroes

The Livermore Lab gave a special tour for Tri-Valley CAREs members, focusing on the environmental contamination at their main site, as well as the efforts the lab is undertaking to clean up their mess.

One of the many consequences of nuclear weapons development is pollution of the surrounding environment. The Livermore Lab is listed as one of the most toxic sites in the United States under the Superfund Law.

The topic of concern on this tour was groundwater contamination. Throughout most of the site, the groundwater had become contaminated with some nasty chemicals, such as VOCs and radioactive tritium. Underground plumes formed around the site and headed west. More recently, the plumes have been contained and are being treated as part of the Superfund cleanup.

The groundwater restoration team at Livermore Lab has been doing a great job with the enormous task of cleanup. I want to thank them for taking time out of their workday to show us around the site. Keep going with this important task; you are Livermore Lab's real superheroes!

Alison Forrest

Livermore