Letters for February 15, 2001

Peashooter is not enough

Re “Fallen Angel” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, Jan. 25):

I wish that your article had tackled some of the more controversial issues regarding the administration of the Sacramento County/Salvation Army Winter Overflow program. Why, for example, offer services simply for winter months? Do the overflow clients get well as the temperature rises? Do they find housing? Do Overflow’s neglected children find their parents less neglectful come spring?

If the program were serious about helping this deeply troubled population, wouldn’t services be offered year-round? As far as I could read, the purpose of Overflow is to supplement existing housing programs. That sounds nice but lacks relevance. The stringent criteria of most housing programs make the vast majority of Overflow clients highly unacceptable.

So what is the real purpose of Overflow? Is it now just a yearly tradition? Would some people raise righteous hell if it were terminated? Are county officials worried about the dead kid, bad publicity scenario? Is it the collective guilt of an affluent community? Or perhaps the Salvation Army, everyone’s favorite (not to mention least scrutinized) charity, makes a pretty penny on this, as well as other county contracts.

Perhaps it’s all the above. I don’t know. What I do know is that this half-hearted, piecemeal effort we direct toward this population is not nearly enough. It’s akin to firing a peashooter at a Sherman tank.

a Salvation Army Worker

We can fire a musket

Re “Guns and the Second Amendment” by James G. Updegraff (SN&R Letters, Feb. 1):

I would like to educate those of the liberal persuasion as to the meaning of the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Quite often, in order to justify their disarming agenda, they attach a modern meaning to the words “well regulated militia.”

A very little research in the origin of the Constitution, and the plain vocabulary of the times, specifically as to the military drills, would indicate that “Regulations for Militia” is the fifteen or so steps in the procedure to load, present, aim and fire the long arm (musket or rifle) of the infantry that was current. Please note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the control of the militia by law, rule or policy. It does present the logical application to period tactics and battle orders. This also causes one to ask: why do they consider this to be a collective item; who do they consider to be the “people,” what is a “right” and what is “infringed.” It becomes evident that their meanings are very different from what normal persons attach, especially when one considers that the Constitution was written following the bloody War of Independence, and powerful governments were highly suspect as enemies of liberty.

Robert A. Moss
Elk Grove

It’s not up in the air

Re “Clearing the Air” by Deanna Broxton (SN&R News, Feb. 1):

Let me get this straight: Albert Goldenberg (allegedly) jumps in his car, drunk off his ass, and heads down the road. He later wakes up in jail with “dizziness and flu-like symptoms” and tries to attribute this to some conspiracy going on with some mysterious “jail air” mumbo-jumbo theory. Let me spell this out for you, Al … HANG-OVER. Now he is suddenly obsessed with his health and wants us to believe he is a poor little victim of the big bad jail system air.

Please. This is so tiresome and all too typical. Does he (and SN&R) think we are all idiots? Was he thinking about his health (or anyone else’s) when he became intoxicated and climbed behind the wheel? I guess he feels someone must take responsibility for his drunk driving behavior (um, how about you, Al?). The law enforcement officer that busted this guy should be commended. In the name of personal responsibility, I hope this guy gets a stiff jail sentence … stale air, and all!

D. B. Hunter

Deadly numerals

Mr. Fairman’s misleading guest comment “Tragic Reminder in Rosemont” (SN&R Guest Comment, Feb.8) is a clever but transparent attempt to blow a smokescreen which obscures the leading causes of death.

Isn’t it noteworthy that there are at least fifteen other categories that account for more deaths than firearms? Isn’t it significant that the 30,000 deaths cited by Mr. Fairman is less than the 1.5 percent of the total for a given year? Why doesn’t Mr. Fairman take on the tobacco companies which account for well over 300,000 deaths per year? Are they too formidable a challenge? Why can’t he take on a more significant category like drunk drivers (50 percent of traffic deaths) or distracted drivers (25 percent of traffic accidents)?

Finally, why is it that Mr. Fairman (a student physician?) fails to identify the source(s) of his numbers, specifically the 100,000 non-fatal gunshot wounds?

No matter. In a few years, Dr. Fairman will be faced with the unenviable task of cleaning up after his colleagues’ mistakes (88,000 deaths per year).

Facts source: The American Firearms Institute Web page (http://www.amfire.com/afistatistics/deaths2.html).

Ken Wykle
via e-mail