Shame on NRA, and us as well

This is in response to Jim Rath's Jan. 15 letter, "NRA is vilified by the media."

The NRA misuses its power and wealth, without compromise, to fight against public safety and reforms.

However, we citizens cede our power because we are so susceptible to the costly advertising which seems to determine our elections.

Shame on the NRA -- but shame on us, too.

Celia Menczel

Walnut Creek

Keep CineArts in Pleasant Hill

This is another one of many voices asking that Pleasant Hill keep its rare treasure of a theater, CineArts, that shows wonderful foreign and independent films.

I, along with so many others, have been extremely grateful to enjoy these films right "in our own backyard" and not have to drive to Berkeley.

Marti Sketchley

Diablo

Focus on mental health system

In her Jan. 16 letter, Ginny Kamp wrote, "Leave the assault weapons to military and police."

The reasoning behind the Second Amendment was to allow citizens to protect themselves from the military and police. A police state is where the government has all the guns and the citizens are disarmed. Present proposals are an incremental move toward that goal.

Lawful gun owners do not constitute the majority of mass murderers. The majority have been determined to be mentally ill sociopaths. Why not focus on mental health system improvements, since that is the basic cause?

For example, I witnessed a woman begging the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors to help commit her adult daughter to a mental-care facility. The 40-something aged daughter had lifelong mental health and drug problems, and was violent sometimes. She had been repeatedly confined for three days at a time and then released.

According to the mother, the only time the daughter got treatment was when she committed a crime. The mother could not convince the daughter to have treatment nor could she afford to hire a lawyer to help make it happen.

Dana Hooser

Martinez

Doonesbury has long mocked the right

In his Jan. 16 letter, Stephen Whitney says he feels the Mallard Fillmore comic strip is a political cartoon and, therefore, should be moved to an editorial or opinion page.

If that is the case, then the political cartoon Doonesbury, by Gary Trudeau, should also be moved to an editorial or opinion page, since for the last 20 or more years, Trudeau has mocked the right with his depictions of the two Presidents Bush, Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain, and others.

It has always been the opinion of the left to make fun of the right, but not vice versa.

Murphy Nieman

Walnut Creek

Pitts column was degrading

I felt compelled to write this retort to Leonard Pitts' Jan. 14 column, "How black is black enough? Not Frederick Douglass."

Pitts stated he's a black man. Yet, his column screams such racism and stereotypical comments that it's hard to believe Pitts is black.

I am offended the Times allowed such a degrading column be printed in the great liberal state of California, especially in the wonderful East Bay area. Yes, I realize Pitts is located in Miami.

It shouldn't matter how Republican or the number of white girls a brother has, but it surely raises "flags." The young man who stated this truth surely shouldn't have been punished to the degree of losing his job.

My deepest offense is Pitts' closing comments: "Surely, Rob Parker knows this. Or if he didn't before, he does now. As for being black enough, he is probably a greater expert than he was before. He is, after all, a man out of work. It doesn't get much blacker than that."

Is Pitts insinuating that because of his blackness, he is accustomed to being unemployed? I pray that this was either a misprint or a slip of the lip and that he might not find himself in the same boat.

Lucinda Williams

Richmond