Thursday, April 26, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 8

Santa Maria Sun / Letters to the Editor

Congress, do your job!

Betty Faas - Orcutt -

Congress needs to repeal the Authority for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was passed by Congress giving the president the authority to attack Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings in New York.

There have been 37 military operations in 14 countries since the original AUMF passed. Congress seems to have been giving up its Constitutional responsibilities laid out in Article 1, Section 8 (11) of its war powers.

On April 16, 2018, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican, and Democratic committee member Tim Kaine of Virginia introduced legislation to replace the AUMF with a new one. The proposed legislation would actually give President Donald Trump and all future presidents enhanced power to engage in wars worldwide without limitations and accountability. This legislation must be defeated!

The United States is not an authoritarian form of government. There are three equal branches of government to maintain balance and oversight in governance—the legislative, the executive, and judicial branches. Congress needs to do its job!

A reply to Fina and Ford

Boris Roberts - Santa Maria -

To Sean Fina, the school shootings are a very despicable act ("Students want safety," April 12). You want to "ensure" that you are safe at school. How is banning one type of weapon, the AR-15, going to "ensure" that you are safe?  There are millions of them out there.

There are an estimated 100 million Kalashnikov-type rifles in the world, the AK-47 type rifles. Many countries are still using them as their main battle rifles; cheap, reliable, powerful. There are many, many of them (in differing versions) in this country. There are also quite a few other types of semi-automatic rifles available.

Although I'm sure your heart is in the right place, Sean, I believe your efforts are misguided.

It sure seems like nobody was surprised when it was revealed that Nikolas Cruz was the shooter. Maybe mental health should be the focus.

Connie Ford, you're offended by gun stores ("Guns in Santa Maria," April 12). What about tobacco stores? Gun deaths were 13,000-plus in 2015. Tobacco-related deaths were approximately 480,000. They are 100 percent preventable, but they have a very large, well funded lobby. What's a half million deaths, when you have a nice fat wallet? I find that truly offensive.

What about stores that sell gang-related/style clothes? Eighty percent of gun deaths are gang related. Do those places bother you?

I don't go into the cigarette stores, or any place that sells gang-related clothing. You don't have to go into the gun stores.

Boycott the NRA

Jeff Goddard - Los Olivos -

Recent arguments that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is not to blame for the mass shootings plaguing our schools and country are full of holes. How? Because whenever sensible citizens even propose regulation of the military-style assault weapons used in these massacres, the NRA dangles its cash until just enough legislators acquiesce and block or otherwise subvert the proposed regulations.

For the regulations that do happen to slip through and get passed by majorities of local voters? NRA-backed lawsuits employing disingenuous arguments that regulating assault weapons violates the Second Amendment and individual rights. The qualifier "a well regulated militia" aside, who in their right mind really believes our Founding Fathers would have favored granting individual rights to the unforeseen lethal capabilities of weapons like the AR-15? Does the NRA also believe I should be able to own and practice out back with rocket-propelled grenades? How about a howitzer tank?

Imagine the death toll in our neighborhoods in the face of zero auto traffic regulations. Let's get rid of stop signs and traffic lights while we're at it. Now imagine an organization whose main purpose has morphed into preventing regulation of traffic because, say, fast cars sell, time is money, and individuals have the right to get from point A to point B as fast as they can or want, public safety be damned. Don't tell me that organization would not be responsible for the mounting death toll.

No, until the NRA leadership does an about-face and endorses buy-back programs and the common-sense gun regulations, the majority in our country now demand, their organization is very much to blame and should be ostracized and boycotted as an unethical sponsor of domestic terrorism.

To drivers on Highway 1

Jim Stegall - Lompoc -

Every workday, I commute from Lompoc to Santa Barbara via the Clean Air Express. I usually sit on the left side of the bus. I sit comfortably during the commute listening to my music or I watch various downloaded media on my smartphone as we traverse the highways of 1 and 101. This statement is for the absolute moronic idiots that drive their cars so dangerously and who continually pass on double yellow lines, curving along with the blind hills of Highway 1—STOP! YOU ARE GOING TO KILL SOMEONE!

The extra five minutes of commute time to drive somewhat reasonably versus the stupidity of driving like an absolute idiot must stop. On April 20, 2018, an idiot killed someone by doing exactly what I see repeatedly happen each and every day. And I see the same people/cars driving this way over and over.

I realize putting this in the opinion section of the local paper is not going to reach the morons that drive this way, but maybe their friends (who do read) will tell them to stop being a total jerk and accept the fact that we all have to get to work in the morning and come home alive in the evening. I swear to you, this happens each and every day. Why there are not more people killed is way beyond me; pure luck I guess. There are a total of three long passing lanes on Highway 1. Just relax a bit within your mental soul and help keep lives alive.

One more time to the schmucks who just can't seem to use their half a brain, if you have to be at work at a certain hour—leave earlier and relax. Passing a car, semi-truck, or commuter bus with 60 Lompocans aboard in seriously dangerous spots along Highway 1 will destroy not only your life, but many lives of your fellow residents. As the famous Frankie Goes to Hollywood song says, "Relax, don't do it!"

Reply to Canary

Justin Ruhge - Lompoc -

The Yellow Canary seemed to be  very concerned about housing for farmworkers in Santa Maria in its April 12 column ("Making it Worse"). Yes, we need the workers. Our experience in Lompoc is worth noting.

In the past year we have had two visits from Mexican workers who work in our fields. They come in nice, modern, shiny buses, about 40 per. Sometimes there are 12 buses loaded with young workers. They are housed in two motels in town while doing their field work for maybe four weeks. They shop in town and eat in the restaurants, and when done on their contract, get in the buses and leave town. So far I have not heard if there are any problems. Why can't Santa Maria do the same?

As to the Lompoc City Council, the clear observation is that Jim Mosby, Dirk Starbuck, and Victor Vega are, as a team, doing everything they can to stupidly drive the venerable town of Lompoc into desperate times.

Feds should enact gun control

Robert. P. Sutton - Lompoc -

A recent opinion article in the Sun's March 29 issue ("Not the NRA") blamed those "liberal Democrats" for the recent protests and opposition against gun violence and the NRA. The rhetoric in the letter is similar to what we've read or heard before. The NRA is in the business of making money, especially from gun manufacturers and those NRA member who are avid gun owners and Second Amendment addicts. The NRA cares less about the slaying of children or adults by the use of automatic weapons as opposed to their stand as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.

A handgun or revolver for personal safety or the safety of one's home is understandable. But where does the need for an assault or automatic-type weapon, or even a shotgun, come into being necessary, other than for the carnage these weapons are capable of. One aspect of the Second Amendment that's conveniently not mentioned by its defenders is the passage about a "well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State." We do have a well-regulated militia, which eliminates the need for ordinary citizens to own assault or automatic weapons.

Our federal government needs to enact stricter gun laws since the Second Amendment is vague in the type of gun, and our government can be more specific. All guns when purchased, whether from a gun shop or gun show, will be registered. Since too many states are too lax on this matter, our federal government should set the standard. We've experienced enough carnage and deaths from the use of these weapons, so they need to be banned, along with banning the sale of any type of weapon to those among us with serious mental deficiencies of one type or another, or other social malfunctions.

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