Paper should share gun-control efforts

Your Aug. 6 editorial about Jim Brady was a deserved paean to a man who laid down his life for gun control in this country.

As you put it, the John Hinckley Jr. shooting, in which Brady was permanently maimed, exposed "the need to control unfettered access to guns, especially handguns." We should never stop reminding ourselves that Hinckley bought his handgun at a pawnshop for a mere $29 and almost killed a president with it.

Your editorial ends with the wish that Brady's spirit will "offer greater strength to those who continue the fight" for gun control.

The paper, itself, can further this effort by re-evaluating its standards for advertising handguns in its pages. When Dean Lesher owned the Times, handgun advertising was not allowed. The policy of the newspaper (and its affiliates) then was strict, and only hunting long guns appeared in ads.

The paper can, and should, contribute to "the fight" by reverting to the Lesher example. The fewer inducements people encounter to view guns as the solution to every problem, the better.

Frank Brunotts

Walnut Creek

Writer uninformed about Bill of Rights

A recent forum contributor applauded the efficiency with which she believes Texas kills its condemned inmates.


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However, there's another side of capital punishment about which she is carelessly uninformed.

Texas used every devious tactic, including the subornation of perjury, to convict Kerry Cook of murder and sentenced him to death -- twice. After a 21-year struggle against torturous odds, he exited prison with his innocence firmly intact.

The letter-writer's lack of knowledge concerning judicial protocol is incredible: "Once a person commits a crime" the suspect "has no constitutional rights." Obviously, the Bill of Rights is outside her scope of knowledge.

She protested California's system that "protects criminals." Her obsession precludes the understanding that legal rights must be zealously guarded to avoid ensnaring the innocent.

Prosecutorial misconduct occurs more often than most Americans realize. It's because of the judicial safeguards that the writer denigrates that thousands of appellants have received new trials.

Her extremely dangerous concept of jurisprudence would abandon Americans who have been sentenced to death and subsequently exonerated. In her system, those victims of capital punishment would be dead.

Ronald Entwistle

San Pablo

BART bathrooms are a worrisome hazard

I am grateful for BART but believe management and workers are lax.

Many trains, stations and, especially, bathrooms are dirty. In fact, the bathrooms at Walnut Creek BART are a health hazard. I've notified workers about the filthy conditions in the bathrooms, with little result.

It took several months to replace a disgusting toilet seat. The cleaning tools and methods are awful. I saw workers wipe the floors of both bathrooms without changing the cleaning fluid and not doing a thorough job at all.

I filled out a questionnaire and sent it to BART management and contacted the Contra Costa Health Department, who sent me to the city of Walnut Creek. Neither entity claims responsibility for checking unsanitary conditions at BART.

Someone should check the bathrooms, as well as other areas of the station, for the presence of bacteria, or worse. Isn't anyone responsible for the public when there are unhealthy conditions?

Celia Menczel

Walnut Creek

Menczel is a retired registered nurse.