Base gun policy on facts, not your feelings

I, like most of us, was appalled by the killings at Sandy Hook. The first question that came to my mind was, "What is wrong with someone who would kill innocent children?"

I have watched as the political "leaders" in our country have not let this "crisis go to waste" and have pursued political goals regarding guns. Being an engineer trained in problem-solving methods, we look for data and facts before solving the problem. We definitely have a problem to solve in this country, but the politicians are not analyzing the facts. Please don't confuse them with facts.

I noticed a New York Times article in your paper in which some useful statistics were mentioned. According to the FBI, 6,220 people were killed by handguns in 2011, while 323 were killed by rifles. How many of those rifle deaths were caused by "assault" rifles? From another source, I understand that number accounts for less than half of the rifle deaths. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have done studies on what effect gun controls have had on the murder rates in several countries, including in America under the first assault weapon ban, and found none had a significant effect. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

Well more than 99 percent of the gun owners and "assault" rifle owners in the country haven't and will never kill anyone. Let's put the focus on where the problem is, not on where it isn't. By the way, the Second Amendment isn't there to ensure we can go hunting; it's there so we can protect ourselves from tyrannical government.

Gary Lewis

Livermore

Our problem is with morality, not firearms

The profound moral confusion of today's culture is seen in the NRA becoming the primary focus of blame and hatred for Newtown, while the actual perpetrator is hardly ever mentioned (and the Fort Hood case is not covered at all).

I don't care what "syndrome" Adam Lanza was considered to have, he (like all mass murderers) was simply evil! And, like the Columbine killers and others after them, it's clear that he was never called to be a responsible young person. We must return to the clear condemnation of evil and evildoers as the most effective single deterrent to anyone contemplating evil. If such people understood that they'd be viewed as notorious villains rather than victims of "mental illness," they'd be less likely to even think about doing the unthinkable. Nor would it hurt if belief in a hell for the wicked became much more widely accepted (may God make this so). Newtown is just the latest illustration of the true adage that "to be kind to the cruel is to be cruel to the kind."

Christopher Andrus

Dublin

Strict gun laws aren't helping Chicago at all

Your article in Wednesday's paper reports about the strict gun laws in Chicago with bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. I am surprised to learn that there have already been 40 killings in that city this year.

What really amazed me is the news you did not report: On Jan. 29, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in a Chicago park. Hadiya had recently performed in Washington, D.C. during the inauguration. President Obama's Chicago home is less than a mile from the park where Hadiya was killed. Hadiya was shot and killed when a gunman opened fire in the park that day while she was there with friends.

I am very surprised that this was not newsworthy to report in The Valley Times Pleasanton paper.

Ingrid Plemmons

Pleasanton

Abortion OK only very early in pregnancy

I like the bumper sticker of one pro-life organization: "Abortion Stops a Beating Heart." It makes a good point that is almost always overlooked -- that until the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, an abortion is significantly less serious than after. It is a question of when in the gestation period a line should be drawn. Some would say that the law should protect the fetus, regard it as a person, from that point on. (This view, of course, is contrary to the opinion that abortion should be illegal from conception).

Associate Justice Harry Blackman, who wrote the Supreme Court's opinion for the 1972 decision in the Roe v. Wade case, made a decision to set the point much later than the end of the first trimester (A heartbeat is always detectable in that period). He set it at the final third of the second trimester. It had been determined that this was the point at which most fetuses are able to survive outside the womb. So in effect, abortion was legalized for most any woman who wanted it, as few women would wait until the final three or four months to decide to abort.

It's important to note that the court held that a women's right to abortion is not absolute, so those who would confer such a right are not supported by Roe v. Wade.

Donald F. King

Livermore

No transparency on tree removal from I-680

The removal of all the trees on Interstate 680 between Crow Canyon and Sycamore Valley roads has turned our quaint community of Danville into an ugly city freeway.

It makes me sick to see this. How many poor animals were displaced to accommodate more cars? This was so unnecessary. The voters of our community should have been allowed to decide on a project as large as this -- not Caltrans or a bureaucracy. Who's responsible for this tragedy? Do we really need another auxiliary lane? No!

Can you imagine the cost of this project? Were community hearings, open to the public, held? I never saw one thing about this in our local paper. If you're as outraged as I am, please contact your local community leaders and politicians. I wish we could stop this project, but, sadly, that won't happen. We must fight and work hard to keep our community small. This project is so wrong and so very sad.

Nancy Quintel

Alamo

Just enforce firearm laws already there

"Use a gun, go to jail" -- a hoax played out daily across California.

Politicians and activists are up in arms over recent tragedies. What do they want? "They" want a ban on gun ownership. They, along with Sen. Feinstein, want to end legal ownership of firearms. They want new laws to curb lawful ownership. They say this will reduce or eliminate mass shootings. If that were true, I would stand with them.

We have more than enough laws on the books to reduce gun violence. Just this week an Oakland man was arrested for a series of armed robberies. He is on probation for gun and drug convictions, authorities said. Why isn't he in jail?

Every week we hear of felons arrested in possession of firearms. If we follow the case, we learn the felon pleaded guilty to a felony and was granted probation. Let's not enact more laws that will go unenforced. Many of those prohibited from owning firearms do own them. There aren't enough resources to arrest them. Lawmakers want millions more to locate and arrest these lawbreakers. If caught, will they get probation?

Take the shooters off our streets! That will make us all safer. No more laws -- enforce those already on the books.

George Cramer

Dublin