Letters for December 27, 2012

Get your ark ready

Re “Sacramento’s Hurricane Sandy?” by Christopher Arns (SN&R Green Days, December 20):

With a few decades of business as usual, we will soon hit CO2 levels last seen when palm trees and close relatives of the crocodile lived on the Arctic Circle. Warnings about dangerous storms in our future and other kinds of harmful changes in climate are always appropriate. The article failed, however, to mention that even before humans had the serious impact on climate they have today, Sacramento was pretty much guaranteed catastrophic flooding whose impacts would dwarf those of Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. In the winter of 1861 and 1862, a series of Pineapple Express storms caused extreme flooding in much of California, Nevada and Oregon. Geologists have shown that similar events occurred roughly every two centuries before that. A brief Internet search turned up the following little tidbits on the 1861-1862 events: “Flood waters transformed the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys into an inland sea some 250-300 miles in length,” according to The Sacramento Bee. And, according to Time magazine, the United States Geological Survey estimates a repeat could cause $725 billion in damage; and one-quarter of [the state's taxable] real estate was destroyed, which bankrupted the state government. In a region with lots of people and expensive homes protected by substandard levees, comparing such an event to Noah's flood is only a slight exaggeration.

Frank Grober


Guns aren’t all bad

Re “Call to action” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Editor’s Note, December 20):

It is disconcerting to see our representatives wince away from acknowledging such a heinous problem at a time when the constituency demands action. However, I am concerned about the knee-jerk reaction in calling for a ban on assault weapons. The Second Amendment fostered the Civil Rights movement by the Black Panther [Party]. The Fourth Amendment is already being gradually dissolved, as well as the First, and there are privatized police forces emerging to quash protest and dissent. The Black Panthers and human-rights groups can’t protest the way they used to. Now, I don’t own any firearms, but as a gerontologist, I know that guns work as a sort of equalizer. They help keep the elderly—especially women—safe from bigger, stronger and more aggressive assailants. Guns aren’t all bad. We want good guys to have guns. Plus, all of these shootings happened where guns were banned. If someone else had a gun, maybe these shooters could’ve been stopped. I’m not asking for more guns. I just would like to see common sense trump legality with sensible reform. I think we agree on that.

Matthew W. Urner

via email

Heed Heston

Re “Can America bear its arms problem?” by Joshua Holland (SN&R Frontlines, December 20):

Nancy Lanza loved stroking her guns—till her son offed her with her favorite [one]. That weapon was legally hers and is not required as evidence in any trial. So let’s return it to her. [To use] the phrase that drove the [National Rifle Association] convention bonkers when Charlton Heston used it, let’s bury it with her in her “cold dead hands.”

Owen McGowan