Headed down path to failure

David Talley's Jan. 30 letter implies that Phil Mickelson's after-tax income of $18 million justifies the government taking his other $27 million.

I'd like to ask Talley, what standard justifies it? Is it that "exorbitant" levels of income should be confiscated at higher rates? I don't know Talley's income, but I would be willing to bet that a majority of the world's population would consider it exorbitant.

Should it, therefore, be taxed at 60 percent (or more)? If not, why not? A more important question is what difference in outcome is there between the government's investment of Mickelson's money and Mickelson's investment of Mickelson's money?

A comparison of photos of East and West Berlin will illustrate the difference. Don't we teach our children to study history and learn from the mistakes of others? Then why is our government headed down a path that has already been traveled and demonstrated a failure?

Bob Humphrey

Pleasant Hill

Government is the real problem

The Declaration of Independence declares that all people "are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Clearly, there are rights that flow from these basic principles, including the ability to defend these fundamental rights. The concern of our founders was the defense of individual rights from the excesses of government.

Many today argue that such a concern is misplaced. Citizens in the Weimar Republic of 1920s Germany believed gun control made sense in a civilized country. That "common-sense" approach was shown to be foolish in the extreme. Have we not learned anything from the errors of the past?

In any event, the biggest killer in recent memory isn't the lone nut shooting up a schoolhouse, but the deliberate policies of governments that result in mass deaths.

In 1996, U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright made the monstrous statement, "We think the price is worth it," when questioned about economic sanctions imposed on Iraq that had resulted in 500,000 children starving to death.

Jim Mellander

El Sobrante

Anti-abortion walk warranted coverage

I was surprised and dismayed that I could find no mention in the Times of the annual Walk of Life that took place Jan. 26 in San Francisco.

There were numerous emotional speeches and an estimated 40,000 walkers, mostly younger people and many families, all from diverse ethnic groups. Moreover, this was the 40th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision.

I would like the Times to explain why the editors chose not to run this story. The lack of coverage indicates to me a bias on the part of the Times. Surely, any large event by an Occupy group would have received coverage.

Moreover, not covering a peaceful event sends the message that demonstrators must create some disturbance in order to receive recognition. If some of the abortion opponents had started fires in trash cans or stood on police cars, it is likely the Times would have found that behavior to be newsworthy. This does not bode well for our free press or for our country.

Marlane Huffaker

Concord

Reporting child abuse mandatory

This is in response to your Jan. 28 editorial, "Teacher fiasco in Brentwood won't go away."

Even we substitute teachers, before each school year begins, must read and sign page after page of "Employee Responsibility for Complying with State and Federal Laws and Board Policies." It is a condition of employment.

The first article is about reporting child abuse.

The 18th-century conservative statesman, Edmund Burke, said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

Mary McMahon

Livermore

Must study killer for prevention

We all have heard about the heinous crime that was perpetrated at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Twenty children and six of the school staff, in addition to the deranged individual who went on the killing spree, died. But very little has been stated about the mother of the killer, the weapons she owned, or where the weapons were kept.

I imagine the police have such information but the press's focus is on the school staff and children. The press noted that the mother was an avid shooter and that she purchased the guns for the purpose of target practice.

The relationship between the deranged son and the mother is vitally important and it should be divulged in an attempt to prevent future catastrophes.

John Canestro

Castro Valley