Union Democrat staff

Why put more gun laws on the books?

To the Editor:

Any excuse to disarm good citizens. None of the current laws or proposed laws that I know of would have prevented the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook. Guns don't kill people, people kills people. They have been killing each other since time began with whatever is available, rocks, clubs, swords, knives, poison, drowning, hammers, chain saws, etc. Yes, even guns. I believe the issue is deeper than the instrument used. Many are frustrated because of the economy, job situations, loss of freedoms, taxes and fees. Most video games tell you to kill or destroy your opponent. Many movies have continuous fear, horror and killings. Seems like we are creating an element in our society that is insensitive to the feelings of others. Many have lost their moral compass.

The more corrupt a government is, the more they fear an armed citizenry. History supports this statement. The foundation of laws in the United States are our Constitution and our Bill of Rights, which our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court and other critical positions swear to uphold. When any of us become aware of a law that is unconstitutional or violates the Bill of Rights, we must speak up or lose our freedoms one by one. All of the countries that are Communist or have dictators or are controlled by militant groups have stringent gun control. As countries have passed more stringent gun laws, violence increased because criminals have weapons and they victimize good people who are not allowed to protect themselves. You should read the News of Record in The Union Democrat. Or, watch the evening news of people victimized and have no way of protecting themselves.

Thank you Sheriff Mele for standing up for the rights for the people of Tuolumne County.

Skip Conley


Budget woes not normal, or okay

To the Editor:

You quoted Chief Accounting Officer Craig Pedro in your article "County budget battle on horizon?" (Feb. 20) as saying we are settling into a "new normal." Interestingly, I used this phrase in comments I made to the Board of Supervisors last year during budget talks, but I said that our current level of services should not be accepted as a new normal, that it should be seen as a temporary underfunding of services that should be rectified when funding becomes available.

There are standards for all of our public services - police, fire, education, infrastructure, libraries and others. Our budget cuts have reduced our level of service in all of these areas, in some cases below the minimum recommended for a community of our size.

The problem is that our economy is structured so that an inordinate amount of money is channeled into the hands of a relatively few wealthy people. Workers are exploited here and abroad, and tax rates are not sufficient to enable the flow of money back into the economy through government spending, such as that for county services, as we are experiencing at this time.

What is the solution? In the short run our spending is limited by our revenue. In the long run, as I said at the board meeting last year, we, as a society, will have to restore a healthy level of taxation and an economic system whereby workers receive income commensurate with the value of their contribution.

And we, as citizens, should never accept sub-standard services as normal.

Phil Nichols