Letters for May 21, 2009

Power lines loom—take action!

Re: “The greater good” (From The Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, CN&R, May 14):

Thanks for the great coverage, Mr. Porter. I have just one thing to add: The intermountain section [of the proposed TANC power line] is 164 miles; however, the entire line is 660 miles and has plans to come through either Oroville or the farms just west of Chico on its way to Sacramento and points beyond.

People have until May 31 to submit written comments of opposition to this nightmare! See the Web sites mentioned for more info, or this could be your back yard!

Judy Sours
Round Mountain

Editor’s note: Those sites are www.tanc.us, www.stoptanc.com and www.sencal.org.

‘A crime in and of itself’

Re: “Letters from prison” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, May 14):

Regarding the lengthy sentence of Greg Wright, what a tragic miscarriage of justice. To lock an emotionally disturbed young man in a cement box, in a violent environment, is a crime in and of itself. Recall that no one was killed or injured during the commission of his offense.

We have our smug and self-righteous district attorney, Mike Ramsey (who never met a harsh sentence he didn’t like), to blame for this travesty.

Blaming the mentally ill for their actions is like blaming someone with cancer or heart disease for their affliction. Who would dare tell a person with a serious disease to “snap out of it” and “stop being sick”? But that’s what we do with people who suffer from mental problems. Somehow we tend to blame them for their illness as though it were some kind of character flaw.

Shame on those who support this kind of barbaric and wrong-headed approach. Remember, we reap what we sow …

Larry Phipps

Case in point for insurance reform

Re: “This is the time for insurance reform” (Letters, CN&R, May 14):

I am counting the days until I can receive Medicare. Dealing with a chronic, progressive disease for more than 20 years has cost a fortune, and I am lucky enough to have medical insurance. I had a friend with the same disease who died because he could not afford medical treatment.

What about all the current cases of mortgage failure due, in great part, to medical expenses? What about all the personal bankruptcies due to outrageous medical bills?

I just talked to a friend whose mother died of Alzheimer’s disease. My friend traveled from Mount Shasta to Canada to be with her mom because she could not afford the long-term care expenses here. It cost $1,600 per month for nursing-home care in Canada and $6,000 a month for the same care here.

Look at European countries with successful universal health care. I have listened to French citizens praise their health care. Their care is better than ours, and their taxes are reasonable. It is time we learned from the experience of Europe and changed to a single-payer universal health-care system for this country.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a medical system that cares about your health? I know that my medical insurance corporation does not care about my health. They care about their “bottom line” profits.

Bonnie Thomas

2nd Amendment III

Re: “2nd Amendment II” (Letters, CN&R, May 14):

Stephen King writes in defense of his suggestion to disarm America that those who oppose his idea are delusional in their belief that America might become—or is already becoming—a police state. He writes that our national history does not justify it.

Could the Second Amendment be the reason why?

Quentin Colgan

Responding to Mr. King’s letter, nowhere in my letter [of May 7] do I use the word “only” to trivialize the violent death of some 13,000 fellow human beings. I find the implication of this to be deeply offensive.

As to Mr. King’s Brady Center talking points, every purchase scenario he mentions is already illegal in most states (including California) unless done through a dealer with waiting period and background checks. I don’t know any rational gun owner who objects to these procedures. However, history has shown that the disarmament agenda runs far deeper than purchase restrictions, as the de facto death of the right to bear (as opposed to keep) arms clearly demonstrates.

As Mr. King correctly points out, these restrictions have had little effect on violence to date. Why continue to push policies that don’t work?

Instead of wasting more time on personal slurs, talking points, and the red herring issue of civilian disarmament, why not discuss real solutions to violence in our society? Dealing with poverty, desperation, broken health and educational systems? Or perhaps the culture of double-speak and political corruption that is propagating these problems instead of solving them?

These issues will yield far more fodder for factual, rational and productive debate than more tired rhetoric on the Second Amendment.

Jeff Monian

So Mr. King feels that the letters from gun-rights supporters were part of the “NRA-encouraged and well-oiled PR machine.” Hmm, I’m not an NRA member (nor am I a “gun nut,” as Mr. Dodge asserts). I’m simply a college-educated, white-collar American who believes in the profound wisdom of the following statement: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Some very smart people wrote that.

In Switzerland, they have a unique approach to gun crime. Every male is required to serve two years in the military. At the end of their service, they are allowed to keep their assault rifle and handgun. As a result, Switzerland has one of the highest rates of private gun ownership in the world, with most of those being assault rifles. Paradoxically, it also has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the world.

So, are weapons the problem here in America, or might a selfish, decadent and permissive society be more to blame? Why aren’t Mr. King and Mr. Dodge considering that issue instead of focusing on constitutionally protected gun ownership by law-abiding citizens, a.k.a. “gun nuts”?

So let’s debate: We’d all love to hear your solution to keeping mentally defective people from mass murdering with guns. I’m all ears as to how that would be engineered. Thank goodness there’s no chance that you are merely wringing your hands over the wrong problem while proposing unworkable solutions or none at all—the trademarks of modern liberalism.

Joe Kirklin


Re: “Living with Crohn’s disease” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, May 7):

Kasandra Partain’s battle with Crohn’s disease instills a lot of empathy. Autoimmune diseases—such as Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperthyroidism, vitiligo, etc.—are rampant. Causes are unknown, but stress, toxic chemicals and hormones in our food are thought to be culprits, coupled with some viral, microbial or bacterial trigger.

I encourage Kasandra to study biology in high school, as well as chemistry and physics. In college, she can study immunology and molecular biology. In the meantime, cruise the Internet for answers.

While doctors are pushing pills and college professors are pushing obsolete pedagogy, it will be people like Kasandra who find the answers. Go, girl, go.

Michael M. Peters

Sensible move

I sat here for quite some time at the keyboard because I wanted to say something nice and positive about Sheriff Perry Reniff’s move to house prisoners. But what can you say about a man who uses his brain in a positive way rather than slicing and dicing? Again, Sheriff Reniff, thank you for doing your job.

Gene Willett

Sounding off

One of my goals this year was to get down to your fair town and take in more of the great music shows going on there. These include your Friday evening concerts in the (former) park. I made in to the first show on May 8 with the Chris Schadt Band, and also made it this last Friday to see The Alternators. I love the great community feel at the concerts; the bands both put on very good shows.

Now the complaint: On both occasions, I have to say that the sound was less than pleasing. The vocals could not be heard very well at all, and the sound guy seemed to be relatively oblivious to it. I did see a couple fellow listeners go over and talk to him (for what I assume was the same reason). But things didn’t seem to get much better as the show went on.

I haven’t played in a band for more than 20 years, but I still know what good sound is. Unfortunately, what the public has gotten at the Friday concerts this year is not that. Hopefully the soundman reads the News & Review and can make the necessary adjustments so we can have an enjoyable listening experience for the rest of the season.

Terry Stephenson
Red Bluff


Imagine the following scenario during the era of Prohibition: Al Capone and his henchmen going underground in Chicago, and the Feds deciding to bomb that city back to the Stone Age in an effort to wipe them out. Sound absurd? Of course.

Now substitute Capone with Bin Laden and Chicago with Afghanistan and Pakistan. What’s the difference?

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff