Infringe on 2nd Amendment

I am opposed to every one of the ammunition-control bills before the California Legislature. They are an infringement of the Constitution's Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, as upheld by the Supreme Court.

Criminals will continue to obtain ammunition by illegal means. The bills are intended to punish law-abiding citizens who are gun owners for the actions of criminals.

The most iniquitous of these bills is SB 53, which would require anyone wishing to purchase any type of ammunition to obtain an annual permit from the California Department of Justice; the fee would be $50 or more. This would be an intolerable burden on law-abiding citizens wishing to purchase ammunition and create another enormous bureaucracy which California cannot afford.

Every one of these bills should be either voted down in the Legislature or vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown. The "liberal" Democratic legislators in California should stop their constant step-by-step attacks on the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

Additionally, contrary to the Times editorial on April 10, the district attorney of Colorado's Arapahoe County should not accept a plea deal from James Holmes. Holmes should be prosecuted for first-degree murder. The magnitude of the alleged crime demands the death penalty.

David R. Russell

Berkeley

In the dark about evolution

Another lone voice in the darkness.


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In his April 12 letter, Raphael Sealey says "Evolution is a fantasy." Let's light a candle in the interest of reason.

A vast body of rigorous research, now bolstered by genetics, has defined beyond any rational doubt the great branching tree of evolution. It's more likely that God is the fantasy, and that the godlike laugh Sealey imagined is on him.

Jerry Landis

Berkeley

Chevron is a great asset

Chevron is the greatest organization that ever existed in Richmond. When Standard Oil Co. built the refinery, Richmond was born and developed into Northern California's largest industrial city.

We had a Ford assembly plant, the largest cannery, Pullman Co., and dozens of other factories that created thousands of good jobs. And, of course, we had our four shipyards during World War II. Unfortunately, we lost all of our great Richmond factories.

When John D. Rockefeller came here to buy land more than 100 years ago, he fell in love with this area. He saw the potential for his refinery because of access to the Bay and potential rail transportation.

Rockefeller built a hunting lodge, where he came every year to hunt ducks. Several of my relatives and friends worked their entire careers with Chevron, which all of them loved.

When I was born in 1928, the average person in Richmond lived to 60 or 70 years. Now we live to 80 or 90 years. Most people who have health problems are due to other reasons, not Chevron. Richmond's outside air is much cleaner than the indoor air. But we spend 80 percent of our time in the polluted indoor air and blame others for our respiratory problems.

I drove over to watch the Chevron fire in August, which was a serious accident. Fortunately, there were no fatalities. The smoke rose up to about 1,000 feet and then traveled northeast.

I doubt if many of the 15,000 respiratory complaints were really from the Chevron fire.

Sidney Steinberg

Berkeley

Bills won't help the situation

I do not support the ammunition-control bills before the state legislature.

As H.L. Mencken said, for every difficult problem there's a solution that's simple, neat and wrong.

These proposals would create another cumbersome bureaucracy; regulate, harass and tax honest citizens; and not improve the problem.

A David Brooks' column recently pointed out that proactive policing, mentoring, gang eradication, incarceration rates, and so forth, have reduced violence and murder dramatically, but that other studies have shown gun-control efforts have not.

A Thomas Sowell column earlier this month pointed out that hundreds of thousands of people have defended themselves from violence by having, but usually not firing, guns -- pertinent facts which are very rarely mentioned in the media.

As someone else has pointed out, criminals and the deranged will not register to buy ammunition, they'll just steal it.

In other words, the bills, if enacted, would increase government monitoring of and costs to gun owners, but would not better the situation they are purported to address.

Ross M. Laverty

Kensington

Evolution is, indeed, a fact

Raphael Sealey's April 12 letter, "Evolution is a fantasy," is so misconstrued that I had to laugh along with his friend, God, before I could unpack the illogic and try to comprehend what he was saying.

I also agree that evolution is not a viewpoint; it is a fact. It is also referred to as a scientific theory (still a fact) or Darwinian theory (still a fact). It's defined as the development of a species, organism, or organ from its original or primitive state to its present or specialized state.

All species of plants and animals developed from earlier forms by hereditary transmission of slight variations in successive generations. Societies evolve, life spans evolve, solar systems evolve, knowledge evolves. However, not everyone matures.

Fantasy is a fictional tale of how the world began 6,000 years ago. If Sealey needs to believe that, then he has the right to do so. But my friend, God, will be laughing as she flunks him in critical thinking.

Evie Groch

El Cerrito

Thatcher not praiseworthy

Those expatriates unashamedly celebrating the demise of Margaret Thatcher need to be reminded that of all leaders of recent years -- with the possible exception of her friend Augusto Pinochet -- none is more likely to return as a zombie.

Mike Bloxham

Kensington

Questions about rape case

After watching an in-depth TV program about the Steubenville High rape case, two questions burn in my mind: Who provided the alcohol for 50 students in three different households? Didn't any parent or adult object to the underage kids boozing it up in their homes and then driving impaired to the next party?

I think some adults should face charges of contributory negligence and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Judith O'Neal

Richmond

Correction

A letter written by Michael Solarz of Berkeley on April 12 had an editing error. The correct number of professed Arabs living in the Middle East is .5 billion.