Rampage produces hope for change

On Dec. 14, a few hours after learning about the senseless shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., I was prompted to take a long walk in my small town. The walk provided much-needed silence and space to reflect on the horrific tragedy that has touched so many.

On my way home, I walked past our town's relatively new and lovely elementary school, Frank C. Havens, and through an open window in the school's auditorium, I could hear the clear and truly enchanting voices of children practicing a song for an upcoming Winter Concert. I paused and listened, as the singing voices made me smile and feel hope.

Immense hope, in fact, that even in the face of random acts of unthinkable violence perpetrated against the most vulnerable in our communities, our children, that to be human is to love deeply and passionately -- and we have the power to bind together and collectively upend the interests of the few who gain so much in making weapons that eviscerate the innocent: www.bradycampaign.org.

Denise Bostrom

Piedmont

Van burglary at crime meeting is ironic, sad


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It would be laughable if it were not so pathetic. A news camera van is broken into and equipment stolen in Oakland while there was a heavy police presence on display inside a school auditorium, at a community meeting featuring Mayor Jean Quan. The subject? How Oakland is dealing with crime.

With empty police cars parked all around the school as I walked in, I thought, "What a great time to burglarize the neighborhood." I also noticed what looked to be an unsupervised news van, door wide open. I couldn't imagine there was not someone inside, and maybe there was, but I did not investigate.

I left the meeting early, because I was alone and uneasy about being on the empty streets at night. In fact, I almost said that in passing to an officer at the door as I exited.

Do we need to ask why the rest of the Bay Area finds Oakland a joke? I moved here in 1972, and love it with all my heart. But where is common sense in our leaders?

Chris Metcalfe

Oakland

Endless Mideast violence Arabs' fault

Two Dec. 7 letters defending the Gazans completely miss the simple truth that the real reason for the Israeli-Arab conflict is the undying desire of the Arabs to destroy the state of Israel, not about land, occupation, etc.

The leader of Hamas and the so-called moderate leader of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas, have stated that their goal is to destroy Israel. The charter of both organizations clearly states that the intended goal is to eliminate Israel and its people.

There would be no conflict if:

  • The Arabs accepted the 1937 Peel Commission report advising a two-state solution.

  • The Arabs accepted the U.N. partition plan in 1948 and had not gone to war.

  • The Arabs accepted peace in 1956.

  • The Arabs accepted the offer in 1967 to get all the land back after a war that they provoked, if they would accept peace. Instead they responded with of the Three No's of Khartoum including: no peace, no negotiation, no recognition of Israel.

  • The Arabs accepted the 2000 Barak/Clinton Plan of 94 percent of the land, plus part of Jerusalem.

  • The Arabs accepted the 2008 Olmert plan for peace.

  • The Arabs negotiated with Netanyahu instead of going to the United Nations.

    So, we see Abbas, who has no authority (his term ended three years ago), who is afraid to have elections (Hamas would win) and who now strives to unite with Hamas, a terrorist group. With all this, the world points the finger at Israel and says, "You are the ones preventing peace in the Middle East."

    Has the whole world gone mad, or is it that they just have a persistent irrational hatred of Israel and its people?

    Marvin Engel

    Piedmont

    Yet another call to fix crime problem

    One recent Saturday night, while my niece took her husband out for his birthday dinner, someone broke into their car just a block away from Ozumo's.

    I am guessing the punks who did this probably don't read the newspaper, but per chance they do -- or maybe their mother or father does, and they can pass this message:

    Those punks broke a 6-year-old's heart when her mother had to tell her that someone stole her school backpack out of their car. My little great-niece wept inconsolably -- not because her parent's couldn't afford to replace the shattered window, the backpack, her winter coat, or replace her change-of school clothes; she wept because that punk stole her school's library book that was also in her backpack.

    She is so desperately learning how to read, and through her tears she sobbed that now she can't "be like everyone else in her class" because she won't be able to learn how to read without that library book.

    She was sobbing that her teacher would never forgive her.

    While her mother and I know this is not true, that person or persons -- with that single act -- blew a huge hole in this precious 6-year-old's self-esteem.

    Shame. I hope this person or persons think again before breaking into a car. I hope he or she thinks again before stealing a kid's backpack and realizes what he may truly be stealing from a child.

    You can always forgive the person and not the deed -- as I told my little great-niece. But in my heart, this time, I cannot.

    Just another call from an Oakland resident for Oakland to clean up its streets.

    Rae Ann Sines

    Oakland