'We' are not all in this together
Reading your March 20 editorial, "Humility is best lesson we can take from Iraq," I can only conclude that the "we" in your title refers to the Bay Area News Group, the national media and the politicians who took us to war in Iraq.
A large portion of the working class, as well as the minority and intellectual communities, wanted no part of a war predicated on lies disseminated by the national media.
Recently, the all-inclusive word "we" has been bantered about by the media and politicians as if it reflects reality. It does not. For example, "We are all in this together." Since when do my neighbors and I have anything in common with bankers and Wall Street? How about, "We are all middle class?" Tell that to the millions of unemployed and underemployed throughout this country, including many residents of Richmond.
Stop talking about "us" until you know who and what you are talking about.
I didn't support the war. We are not all in this together and I'm a member of the working class.
Charles T. Smith
Gun owners should prove mental health
Thomas Sowell seems to believe that gun registration places too much emphasis on "mental health."
Of course, he must believe talking to chairs and seeing our world through the cartoonish perspective of "bad guys and good guys" is healthy. Maybe if we placed someone on national TV talking to chairs and espousing bad guys/good guys views, they would be denied a gun permit.
Further, gun ownership should be dependent on the demonstrated, complete possession of one's faculties. This doesn't seem to be the case with Sowell himself. He states, "I have not heard anybody on any side of this issue mention how many lives are saved every year by guns." The Cato Institute presents a well-known case for that argument.
However, I am also concerned about the high cost of deaths due to stray bullets, the epidemic of suicide, and the deaths of our peace officers in the line of duty.
Sowell has limited and weak peripheral vision, which would disqualify him from owning a gun.
Free press put in historical context
This is regarding Marion A. McIntire's letter published in the Times on March 20.
I don't believe the authors of the First Amendment of the Constitution intended the right of a free press to apply to the technology available today. How could they? The technology we have today was unimaginable then.
When we acknowledge the First Amendment can apply only to the technology available at the time it was written, then we can begin to solve the problems created by the technology and propaganda we have today.
I don't see a constitutional right to a free press other than use of a Gutenberg printing press and a town crier. You couldn't get away with propagandizing or indoctrinating 340 million citizens with either one of those technologies.
Patrick J. McNamara
This country needs stronger unions
In his March 8 letter, Tom Olsen said he has "spent decades in the workforce without the benevolent guidance of some union fat cat bosses." I invite Olsen to look at some statistics regarding what's occurred during those decades.
The unions have lost -- or have seen legislation that's weakened -- most of the strength that allowed them to put forward efforts on behalf of the workers. Meanwhile, the real "fat cats," corporations, have been making obscene profits on the backs of the disappearing middle class.
Olsen says 214 jobs at the call center being lost indicates unions are detrimental to the economy. It's the cry of "Workers Unite" that's been made to appear to many as somehow un-American and undemocratic.
In reality, unions are a vehicle to give power to the powerless. It's easy to see where the dismantling of unions has resulted in a redistribution of wealth and the shrinking of the middle class. If employees of the real "fat cats" don't have the power in numbers, they're unable to defend themselves against the power of corporate money.
We need the "benevolent guidance" of unions, if it isn't too late.