Assault weapons ban a misnomer

Those who support an "assault weapons" ban should be made aware that a federal deterrent to ownership through heavy taxation has been in effect since 1934, and an outright ban on fully automatic weapons since 1986.

Fully automatic weapons, true assault weapons, are essentially prohibited to the general population. The weapons that would be banned in a new (expanded) ban are not military-grade automatic weapons, but rather useful varmint and home-defense semi-automatic weapons that have little or no military use but only look similar to military weapons.

To eliminate these firearms from general ownership is like outlawing powdered sugar only because it looks like cocaine. A proposed "assault weapons" ban would be better named a "ban on useful, nonmilitary self-defense weapons."

If the real motivation for such a ban is a mistaken attempt to reduce crime, relaxing concealed carry laws would be more effective and in better concert with the Constitution and the Second Amendment.

W. Michael Becker

Lafayette

Picking and choosing from the Constitution

This is in reply to a recent letter from Paul Dunton, "Citizens and weapons parity."

The whole philosophy behind a government "for the people, by the people" is that the government is us. If one is keen on handling an M-16 or other automatic armament, I would suggest joining the local reserve. Or, what part of "well-regulated militia" is difficult to understand?

I am not against the spirit of the Second Amendment. Citizens have a right to self-defense. Nonetheless, we can't just pick and choose pieces of the Constitution that let us keep playing with our most dangerous toys.

If we want the right to keep and bear arms, we must be prepared to accept the regulation that comes with it -- particularly, we civilians who opt out of joining the militia. That's the constitutionally appropriate thing to do.

If Dunton wants to argue for the Second Amendment, he should be prepared to argue for the whole Second Amendment.

Nikhil Karmarkar

Martinez

We must reduce carbon use now

According to a new study in Science, the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, global temperatures are warmer now than they have been at any time during the past 4,000 years. Further, it may not be long until the date will go back to the last ice age, some 10,000 years ago.

If we knew this pattern was locked in, nobody would bother to protest. But experts know that massive reforestation would quickly begin to lower carbon, which, as we know, traps heat in the atmosphere.

The baby steps taken so far to solve global warming reveal clearly the ignorance and stupidity (or evil) of the ruling class. Now is the time to begin to wake up to reality and to act decisively.

If we care for the future of our children and grandchildren, we must act at this moment to reduce carbon.

Terry Cochrell

Berkeley

So-called leaders failed us on Iraq

I commend the editorial staff for the great editorial about the truth concerning the miserable, total failure and waste of the U.S.'s invasion of Iraq, the "New Vietnam."

U.S. senators and representatives who voted "yes" to give George W. Bush the official approval to invade and occupy Iraq are as guilty as Bush. They knew better.

They were much more concerned about their image of "being patriotic" and being re-elected than doing what was best for our country by voting "no." They knew that millions of Americans believed all the lies and propaganda Bush and his henchmen used in their politics of fear to beat the drums for invading Iraq.

I am disgusted to no end that all of these so-called leaders of our U.S. government will never be held accountable for its inexcusable, despicable actions. Sept. 11, 2001, should never have happened. One would think that the very successful bomb attack, eight years before in one of the towers, would have raised red flags for our U.S. government.

Dan Orth

Oakland

Simple solution for income taxes

Having just spent hours doing my income taxes, I've decided it's time for a change.

How about this? Every person gets a $5,000 exemption, no other deductions. The first $50,000 for all is taxed at 10 percent, from $50,000 to $150,000 is taxed at 15 percent, and those earning more than $150,000 are taxed at 20 percent.

That's it, simple, clear and everyone pays. If changes are needed, Congress adjusts percentages or ranges of the bands, nothing else.

Everybody wins, except the lobbyists -- and that's good for all.

Wayne Lambert

Walnut Creek