Armed guards at our schools are not answer
The NRA has proposed that every school in the United States have armed guards.
Columbine High School had an armed guard on campus. Virginia Tech had armed guards and a SWAT team. The presence of armed guards did not save students' lives.
The real answers are complex. While existing laws need to be enforced, assault weapons and high capacity clips need to be outlawed. Every state must require registration of weapons and background checks for potential gun owners.
As a nation, we must confront our failure to deal appropriately with the mentally ill. Additionally, all gun owners must be required to take responsibility for their weapons, store them under lock and key, and use trigger locks.
Families that have members who are mentally ill should take extra care and consider not having guns in the home at all.
The right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" trumps the Second Amendment; just ask the parents who lost their children at Sandy Hook school.
Political correctness ruining our country
Offensive Christmas and all national holidays must stop. Historical and/or national holidays must end. We as a country are offending someone somewhere. The courts have concurred. Let's be a country that is non-offensive
Should any sector within our country seek to celebrate a particular tradition, it must maintain that celebration within the bounds of its facility. This way no person will be harmed.
If this sounds ridiculous, it is. Haven't we read that monuments and traditions are being attacked and scorned?
We have allowed our country to become something our forefathers would not recognize.
D. C. Rentz
Cars, drugs regulated; why not firearms?
In his Dec. 25 letter, "Must keep things in perspective," Christopher Pedretti argues that, since we haven't legislatively eliminated other causes of unnatural death, we don't care and shouldn't try to improve gun safety.
Pedretti's conclusions are as bad as his data.
Take auto safety. In 1972, the death rate was 26 fatalities per 100,000 people. In 2011, the rate had shrunk to about 10. Traffic safety improved because real people paid real attention and demanded safer designs and regulations.
Is there a silent malpractice epidemic that no one is paying attention to? Hardly. Politicians may disagree about how to best protect caregivers and patients, but nobody's ignoring the problem.
Is our government ignoring the drug industry? According to Pro Publica, the major drug companies in the United States have been fined almost $10 billion since 2009. This is because we continue to make and enforce laws against criminal activity.
Pedretti wishes that we see things in perspective. Wouldn't that be easier with eyes wide open?
W. Michael Youngblood
Secondhand smoke risks are real, severe
Casino San Pablo is to be commended for its record of saving people's lives, as described in a recent article in this newspaper.
I am writing as the chairwoman of Contra Costa Tobacco Prevention Coalition with some additional information about the dangers of secondhand smoke and the importance of protecting people from this hazard.
Secondhand smoke occurring in workplaces, as well as in homes, has been linked with many cancers, respiratory illnesses and coronary heart disease in adult nonsmokers. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their heart disease risk by 25 to 30 percent. In fact, it is so harmful to our health that the U.S. Surgeon General has declared that there is "no safe level of exposure" to secondhand smoke.
No ventilation system exists to clean air that has been contaminated with secondhand smoke. Disease and cancer-causing particulates remain in the air. This is why many communities in the state have adopted laws prohibiting smoking in places where we live, where we work, and where we play.