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Monday's Letters to the Editor

Published: Monday, December 31, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 1:09 p.m.

Who is responsible?

EDITOR: Do the police bear responsibility for a drunken person who is struck by a car during a traffic stop? That was the question asked in Saturday’s story about an arrestee walking into traffic.

This is an easy answer. Absolutely not. If anyone is responsible other than the drunken suspect, it’s the driver. This case should never even see a jury, but, of course, it will for this is California. Is there a point where people take personal responsibility? Or is everything just ultimately someone else’s fault?

Could it be the he is the one who walked into traffic, therefore it’s his fault? A 53-year-old man should know better than to walk out in traffic, and if he’s too drunk to know better, well maybe he should stop drinking.

Why should officers be responsible? Are we going to say they’re responsible if you try to escape and get hit? No, so why should this be any different?

How about this for a rule: If you’re drunk it’s your fault. Or if you’re over 18 and your life is your own responsibility. If a driver had struck the CHP cruiser and this man was in the back, then the responsibility would clearly be the driver’s, not the CHP’s. It boggles the mind how little responsibility we take for ourselves.

Personal accountability is one of the first lessons my parents taught me and it will certainly be what I teach my own children.

CHRIS KEYS

Rohnert Park

Stopping violence

EDITOR: The Newtown, Conn. tragedy leaves people with a hopeless feeling of betrayal. The administrations, faculties and parents put in numerous hours to keep schools safe. When “why” is the question, there seems to be no answer. The blame game includes many issues — mental health, gun control, copy-cats and family dysfunction, to mention a few. Politicians, courts and factions such as the NRA, mental health and educational organizations will be left to come up with better ways to protect our lives.

So what of the 26 people who were killed at the school? What can be done to honor their lives, so that they did not die in vain? One thing we can do is to declare all households toy weapons free environments. Throw out all toys and video games that portray guns, killing and violence. Never purchase any violence based toy, including bee-bee guns and sling shots. Two, place a sticker inside our houses that states “this is a no gun and violence free home.” You could place it next to your “thank you for not smoking sign.”

We the people must educate our children at an early age to empower them to make good choices. This is a start; do it for the 26 people who died in Newtown.

ANDY FRAUENHOFER

Santa ROSA

Consider this

EDITOR: To fellow gun enthusiasts: I grew up hunting and target shooting with my Dad, which was awesome. My question to you is: If you are a gun enthusiast, why not support gun and ammo controls that might keep weapons away from the many troubled, unfortunate, misled or deranged people in our society?

Why not consider this minor in convenience that just might reduce the possibility of another horrific event? I am more than willing to register often to prove my sanity and worthiness to own guns and ammo. How about you?

JIM WALSH

Santa Rosa

Benefit limits

EDITOR: I read your editorial with interest (“Let’s fully fund teacher pensions, Friday), because so many of your editorials are based on hysterical overreacting to the so-called pension crisis in California, and this one seemed to propose a solution.

Unfortunately, your solution (allowing teachers to contribute to Social Security) is unworkable until Congress changes current law regarding the Windfall Elimination Provision, since current teachers may face much lower incomes in retirement than they may have counted on.

As the IRS notes: If you work for an employer who does not withhold Social Security taxes from your salary, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, the pension you get based on that work may reduce your Social Security benefits.

The Windfall Elimination Provision affects how the amount of your retirement or disability benefit is calculated if you receive a pension from work where Social Security taxes were not taken out of your pay. A modified formula is used to calculate your benefit amount, resulting in a lower Social Security benefit than you otherwise would receive.

What this means on a practical level is that if a worker contributes to both Social Security and a public employee retirement system, he or she will see reduced Social Security benefits.

For a low-income long-term worker like me, this means I will be penalized for being a 10-year public servant.

Perhaps The Press Democrat editorial board could encourage Congress to overturn this provision, so that workers like me will not lose the tiny amount of Social Security that I have worked for since 1965.

SUSAN ROBERTS

Rohnert Park

Santa Sunday

EDITOR: I would like to give a most well deserved thank you to Santa Rosa Firefighters for their donation of $5,000, Specialized Bicycles for its generous support and to the Bike Peddler, for its time to assemble and help the kids getting fitted with their new bikes, helmets and bicycle locks from the Secret Santa program.

It was a very rewarding Sunday for me to watch as the kids left with their new bicycles and smiles from ear to ear.

STEVE CONSANI

Santa Rosa

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