Union Democrat staff

More gun laws are not the answer

To the Editor:

In the wake of Sandy Hook, America again debates more gun laws. Yet rather than focus upon better mental health screening and care, some prefer distortion of facts. That or regurgitate such from anti-Second Amendment circles, believing more gun laws are the answer. But reality is far different, that is, even from a politically left perspective.

Professor Gary Kleck, a criminologist and the FBI's top firearm statistic expert, used to be in the liberal anti-gun camp. The stark data from over 30 years of study, however, convinced Kleck that gun detractor rhetoric does not match reality. His work is published and supports that gun restrictions only aid criminal elements, and do not bring about less mass shootings or public safety.

Democrat Craig R. Whitney, former reporter for The New York Times (yeah, that bastion of conservative thought) and author of "Living with Guns: A Liberal's Case for the Second Amendment," attests that anti-gun elements purposely use distortion to promote gun control. Although when the public researches for truth about firearm issues, gun control advocates lose credibility. Go figure.

Liberal memes notwithstanding; gun-ban advocates better brace themselves because in the aftermath of Supreme Court Heller, Heller II, McDonald decisions and three on-point gun cases (Moore vs. Madigan, etc.) now poised for speedy U.S. Supreme Court review. How some envision gun control will not be televised, and the latter is indisputable fact squared at bull's-eye.

Mark Villaseñor

Twain Harte

VA appears to be failing vets

To the Editor:

Politicians frequently state that they are doing all they can for our brave servicemen and women...Really? If you go to the Department of Veterans' Affairs website and click on "Claims Inventory" you will find the following statement, "VA's goal is to process all disability claims within 125 days at a 98 percent accuracy level." The key word is "goal." It appears the VA will never reach its goal as the efficiency at the VA is on a steep downhill slide. The Center for Investigative Reporting reported that "In the fiscal year that ended in September, the agency paid $437 million in retroactive benefits to the survivors of nearly 19,500 veterans who died waiting." That's a dramatic increase from just 3 years earlier when the agency paid $79 million to the survivors of 6,400 veterans. A message on the answering machine at VA's regional office in Oakland, 510-834-0310, states that it takes from 18 to 24 months to process a claim. Two years to process one claim! The result, homelessness, divorce and suicides. In 2012, more soldiers committed that died in combat.

I am a retired veteran. All of my seniors expected me to meet goals and accomplish tasks. They didn't want excuses or reasons why it couldn't be done. They wanted results. Veterans deserve results, not excuses, promises or hollow rhetoric. A common comment you hear from vets is "Delay, deny, wait 'til I die." It's time for veterans, veteran organizations and concerned citizens let Washington know the delay in processing claims is a national disgrace and totally unacceptable. "We support our troops and we're doing all we can." … Really?

Ed Martin


Leave the Blue Mountain CUP alone

To the Editor:

As one who has both lived and worked in downtown for almost 25 years, I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Torchia's letter of Jan. 7. While it is true that trucks hauling limestone for Blue Mountain Minerals, or trees from our forest, are louder than most vehicles, they do not prohibit normal conversation and on their slow crawl through Sonora they are not a menace to life. Rather, these locals are among the most courteous of drivers in stopping for pedestrians.

What is for more important to me, as a downtown business owner and resident, is that the trucks hauling for Blue Mountain, like the logging trucks and the cement truck that just drove by, are welcome reminders of local jobs supported by local employers that keep children in our schools, families patronizing our businesses and taxes going to our local governments. While increased local truck traffic may add a couple of minutes to the drive from the Red Church to the signal, those trucks add far, far more to the lifeblood of our county. The Blue Mountain CUP was studied and debated ad infinitum - it does not need to be reopened.

Kate Powell Segerstrom