Hollywood is also to blame

When greeted in front of the Century Theater in Walnut Creek by a small group of protesters urging me not to see "Zero Dark Thirty" because it supposedly supports torture, I wondered why they ignored the other movies such as "Django Unchained," "Gangster Squad," "A Haunted House," and "Mama" -- all showing gratuitous violence, murder, mayhem, blood, and torture (as in "Chain Saw Massacre").

How many schoolchildren have been killed by waterboarding?

It is time we all insist Hollywood accept some of the blame for violence in our society and do something about its role.

I assume that if automatic assault rifles, etc., are outlawed (leaving millions of them still in circulation, of course) Hollywood will no longer be allowed to show these ghastly weapons in their films and video games.

By the way, I went to see "Les Miserables" anyway.

Richard Terry

Moraga

Nice article on San Pablo's award

We appreciate the recent article in the Times, "San Pablo snares national planning award for health element in General Plan."

When I suggested we incorporate the health element in our General Plan, little did I know that it would be received so well.

The city is now addressing childhood obesity, with healthy eating and general well-being the hoped-for result. In addition, we are expanding our health-center concept for San Pablo, with renewed emphasis on making our city a destination for health care.

A new Doctors Medical Center is even being discussed seriously now, since the old building has serious issues. It is important to note that San Pablo has the only emergency room between Albany and Vallejo.

Paul V. Morris

Vice mayor, San Pablo

Different perspective on banning weapons

It is very unfortunate the tragedy at Sandy Hook school happened, but let us look at a different perspective.

What if all those children and teachers had been killed with a sword or any other instrument of destruction, or even a warehouse cutting knife as was used by the 9/11 hijackers? Are we going to ban all these weapons?

Everything is relative to its use, intent and means. We must not look at the weapon being used, but rather the people using them. Let us look at the ways and means to control the access of deadly weapons by anyone and how to counter such an eventuality.

I do believe if school staff members, cleared by law enforcement, were armed at school, it would be a means to counter such threats in the future.

There have been no more hijackings since armed air marshals, as well as armed pilots, have been onboard planes. Let the bad guys know they will face bad consequences if they plan mayhem.

Times have changed but we must not curtail our constitutional right to bear arms.

Willy Yee

Dublin

Don't waste money on new election

It makes good fiscal sense to appoint Eduardo Martinez to Gary Bell's seat on the City Council.

Please, let's not spend more money for an election which would produce another round of bitter political maneuvering. Keep in mind that Martinez got the most votes (very close to Bell's total) of those not elected.

I urge the City Council to support the replacement of Bell with Martinez and get on with the necessary business of our city.

Nancy Lewis

Richmond

Banning assault rifles is not the answer

President Barack Obama is not trying to stop gun violence. He is using the recent tragedy to further his agenda to ban assault rifles. The guns aren't the problem, it's the people that have access to them that is the problem.

We need to make sure criminals and the mentally ill don't have access to any types of firearms. I agree that all states should have mandatory background checks (like California), but they need to go one step further.

Right now only 17 out of 50 states in the U.S. voluntarily submit a list of mentally ill patients that have been institutionalized against their free will. There are more than 3 million people in the U.S. today that have been institutionalized against their will, but only 90,000 of them are on file with the U.S. government.

This means more than 2,91 million mentally ill patients could potentially have access to a firearm. We need to stop focusing on banning a particular type of firearm, or high capacity magazine, and start focusing on criminals as well as the mentally ill.

Randy Martinez

NRA member, Martinez