Don't mess with Social Security

Inflation isn't the dirty word of the day as it was often in the past. Therefore, is it politically safe for President Barack Obama to propose "adjusting" the index that keeps retirees from slipping downhill as prices creep upward ... as they inevitably do.

Evidently Obama thinks he's safe. Please keep in mind the drought that will make food prices buck and surge like a rodeo horse if it goes on or repeats as predicted by climate-change scientists.

It may seem safe because the major media will downplay the adjustment, keeping most people in the dark for now. The president can then use this adjustment as a bargaining chip to get a deal going with the House right-wingers.

Well, I object. The inflation index needs adjustment, but not in the direction the president proposes. It just isn't effective enough.

Given the opportunity, Speaker John Boehner and his capitalist royalist thieves want only to enrich their class and will steal from the poor, widows, children, the disabled, retirees, the ignorant and the innocents. And they'll continue to destroy the environment until there's not another drop of blood or any energy left.

The president is wrong to propose messing around with Social Security.

Terry Cochrell

Berkeley

There are limits to Second Amendment


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More than 200 years ago, bands of ordinary citizens defeated the armies of the English government.

So that ordinary citizens could once again defend the country if the need arose, the Founding Fathers declared that "... a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Guns can find good use in self-defense, hunting and sport but can also facilitate mass murder. The Supreme Court affirmed the Second Amendment right in the 2007 Heller case, but pointed out that "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."

Ignatius Fernandez

Pleasant Hill

Varied solutions to gun violence

In response to the recent NRA proposal to provide armed school guards to protect our children, I believe this is the only feasible near-term solution.

Other proposed solutions are questionable and only effective in the long term. Laws restricting ownership of guns and high-capacity magazines need to be balanced against legitimate Second Amendment concerns, and would have little impact on the millions of guns already in circulation.

Improved mental screening and treatment holds promise but is still experimental (which treatments are truly effective?) and run up against privacy laws.

The impact of a culture that glorifies violence in movies and video games while denigrating self-control and compassion is also worth investigating, but this too is an experimental approach that has to resolve First Amendment issues.

For now, adults who are armed and prepared to protect our children remains the only near-term solution.

It is also worth noting that in 2000, following Columbine, President Bill Clinton proposed $60 million to fund the "COPS in Schools" program. Why so much liberal ridicule when the NRA proposes a similar approach?

Tom Shastid

Walnut Creek

More gun-related terms in language

After reading Joe Lurie's piece on how entrenched our language is with gun-related terminology, I remembered some Lurie did not include ... probably due to lack of space.

Here are a few modest samples:

That task was easy! It was like "shooting fish in a rain barrel." My grandmother was so angry, she was "armed for bear." I bought tickets to see a play with great seats so that I could get "a good shot" at the actors.

My wimpy cousin was always "gun shy." The community will hold a "turkey shoot" to raise money for charity. Our two neighbors had a spat over parking, but now they're in "a Mexican standoff."

Didn't Quaker Puffed Rice have the slogan, "The cereal shot from guns?"

Dawn Magnussen

Brentwood

Zoos are cruel and inhumane

The Times reported that Tallulah, a chimpanzee who has been at the San Francisco Zoo since 1967, died and that she was a favorite of staff members and visitors alike.

Did anyone ask Tallulah if she liked captivity? Did anyone ask Tallulah if she would have preferred to live in her natural environment? Did anyone ask Tallulah if she enjoyed being stared at like an object in a museum?

Zoos are cruel. They are nothing short of prisons. Zoos were established to conduct "research" on animals: subjecting them to involuntary experimentation and, yes, even torture.

Zoos have no place in a humane society. They should be eliminated except where factually necessary to protect a species.

James P. Tuthill

Lafayette