Letters for July 2, 2015

About those guns

Re “Not everyone should own a gun” (Guest comment, by Allan Stellar, June 25):

I agree with Allan Stellar that not everyone should own a gun. But I would remind him that laws are made for honest people. No existing or future laws can prevent any person from obtaining a weapon. There are states today where a federally licensed arms dealer can, within the law, sell a weapon to anyone. No waiting period or registration is required. The weapon can be placed in an airline-approved lock box, checked into your baggage and brought to any other state.

The writer apparently doesn’t know that at the end of World War II, millions of guns were brought home by returning servicemen. None of these weapons were registered, serial numbers are not recorded. Nobody knows where they are except the owners.

The NRA is in the business of gun education, and does promote gun safety on its website and monthly Rifleman magazine. It may interest the writer to know that the majority of law enforcement shooting rangemasters receive their training by the NRA. Many law-enforcement-only competition shooting events are hosted by the NRA. Special events and training are available for women who wish to become proficient in gun handling for self-defense purposes.

I am not necessarily saying that all of the foregoing is good, but it is fact.

Maurice Picard


‘We have control’

Re “Standing by his words” (Letters, by Patrick Newman, June 25):

Looking at the National Climate Assessment study, what I came away with was that the two biggest hits on the planet are coal-fired power plants (our demand for electricity) and burning gasoline (driving typical cars). These are choices we make that we have control over. There are cars that run on biodiesel (70 percent better for the environment) available locally at Springboard Biodiesel. We have buses and bicycles, too.

I agree with Mr. Newman: “We can continue with the charade, believing that we take the fate of life on earth seriously, but our lifestyles say otherwise.”

Charles Withuhn


What benefits?

Re “On the Southern slayings” (Letters, by Olivia Schmidt, June 25):

I must respectfully disagree with Olivia Schmidt and her assertion that certain “inherited benefits” accrue to Americans of European ancestry. I have read regularly and extensively in the social and behavioral sciences and have found no scientific evidence that supports her view.

There are over 200 million Euro-Americans distributed across all regions and social classes plus many significant ethnic and socio-economic subcultures. Just about all they have in common is their light complexion. Other traits, including favorable ones such as athletic ability, intelligence, and talent for music and art, are distributed capriciously and unevenly among whites, as they are in all other human populations.

Interestingly, the majority of U.S. citizens receiving public assistance, the majority of citizens behind prison bars, and the majority of those born with congenital impairments and developmental disabilities are of European ancestry. If there are indeed “benefits” that are part of the genetic inheritance of these folks, they might like to know what they are.

Instead of identifying a particular “community” based on skin color and then assigning it nonexistent genetic benefits and (by implication) group culpability, it might be more useful to have all of us, of whatever race, assure that our young men are being properly socialized and that their access to handguns is restricted and supervised.

Carl Ochsner


Conflicting ideologies

Re “Take down the flag” (Editorial, June 25):

Why not replace the Stars and Stripes and display the Confederate flag alongside the Nazi flag. It is easy to equate the similarities between the two; both are symbols that proudly embrace white supremacy.

I can’t for the life of me comprehend how anyone who cherishes and loves the history of the Confederate flag would be able to pledge allegiance to the United States of America. A stark contrast of ideology.

J. Troy Chambers

Live Oak

Library cuts a big mistake

Re “Tightening the belt” (Newsline, by Ken Smith, June 25):

I think that [the members of the Board of Supervisors] were wrong and that the library should be open for all days, including Monday! The library helps a lot of people learn to read and you don’t need to pay to read the books. I like the Chico library because it has fun activities to do, like Uni and her Ukelele, who recently came by to sing. The library also celebrated Dr. Suess’ birthday and it has a puppet theater so kids can put on shows.

Iris Brazil-Few


Editor’s note: The author tells us that she is 9 years old.

I knew the city of Chico had cut the entire funding for Chico’s library, meaning it would be closed on Mondays. My hope was that Butte County would increase their funding, countywide, to help keep the library’s hours stable—in Chico, Paradise, Gridley and Oroville. After all, the county is in better financial shape and even received a one-time windfall of $280,000 from Office Depot.

The Friends of the Library, plus others, carpooled down to Oroville to the Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting. To our surprise, the county cut the library’s budget. Supervisors Maureen Kirk and Larry Wahl fought hard to increase it. Many voiced their opinions that the 666,000 who used the library last year need to access the Internet for job searches, learn to read to their children, elderly learn to use computers—the list is endless.

As for the three supervisors who voted to cut the budget—Doug Teeter, Steve Lambert and Bill Connelly—their priority was to fund the jail enlargement, not to fund a preventative tool that would help the jobless. Joblessness leads to homelessness, hopelessness and eventual drug abuse and then jail. Remember the names of the three supes when you vote in the next election.

Loretta Torres


Get the facts

Jeanette Norden is a neuroscientist and professor of cell and developmental biology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and professor of neuroscience. I highly recommend Ms. Norden’s amazing course on “Understanding the Brain”: DVD at www.thegreatcourses.com.

Lecture 30, “Sexual Dimorphism of the Brain,” explains that all three aspects of a person’s physical sex are determined prior to birth: genotypical sex, xx or xy chromosomes, phenotypical sex, external and internal genitalia, as well as “brain sex,” which cannot be changed. However, it seems that U.S. judges, politicians and citizens are totally ignorant of these scientific facts, because no one discusses this information, ever. Some of the complications are discussed when a person’s sex is genotypically and phenotypically male or female, but the sex of the brain is the opposite. Imagine being a male child with a female brain, or being a female child with a male brain!

The total course explains that the development of the brain’s prefrontal cortex is not complete until age 25! The prefrontal cortex, with other parts of the brain, makes executive decisions, judgments, determines the consequences of one’s actions and must abstract and apply the mores of the cultural society one lives in.

Monte MacGregor


Good job, advocates!

The U.S. Supreme Court made two major rulings in a 24-hour period. The first (6-3) upheld the Affordable Care Act; thus, millions of Americans, especially children, can seek medical care before it becomes a rush to the hospital emergency department. The second ruling (5-4) stated that marriage is for all people, not just Rush Limbaugh, who is on his fourth or fifth wife (are the new wives always younger?).

It is time to thank those in the Chico area who have spent years or decades advocating for health care for all and/or marriage equality for never giving up. From the Declaration of Independence to these Supreme Court rulings, it has been people pushing for positive changes. So thanks to all.

Bob Mulholland


Dried up in the canyon

Neighbors up the hill from us, their water just quit. Completely dry. Three houses, three families, no water. No coffee. No shower. Washing dishes? Two little girls 10 and 12, shocked. The lawn and flowers are already dying, soon the apricot trees. What about the chickens? I suppose the families will have to carry jugs of water from the valley town and camp at home. It’s 110 degrees today.

A couple of government guys have sold our water to the kingdom of the L.A. Didn’t anyone ask about that? Taking something from another and selling it, isn’t that robbery? The Sierras are draining dry.

Gordy Ohliger

Butte Creek

Obama’s bad precedent

President Obama’s allowing private organizations and families to pay ransoms to recover American hostages could spawn a boom in American hostage-taking. Ransom demands could then become so high, even private organizations would no longer be able to pay them. Then, instead of 15 hostages per year being slain, hundreds could be.

It’s generally easier to stay out of trouble than get out of trouble. Accordingly, the best way to avoid the taking of American hostages is to advise Americans before they even leave the country: If you’re taken hostage, no ransom will be paid (or allowed to be paid) on your behalf. Accordingly, by leaving American soil, you’re doing so at your own risk. If you’re not willing to accept this risk, you should stay home.

Moreover, I hate to think what evil terrorists would commit once empowered with a steady stream of ransom money. Possibilities include using it to fund genocide in their own country, to recruit and train followers, and to finance terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Nathan Esplanade