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Tuesday's Letters to the Editor

Published: Monday, January 21, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 21, 2013 at 3:28 p.m.

Neighborly ethics

EDITOR: I read Staff Writer Jeremy Hay's article about the ethics program run by Joshua Glasgow at Sonoma State University (“Some topics too close to home for SSU ethics center,” Thursday). To make the program valid, it should start at home, i.e. SSU.

Sonoma State “ethically” charges students a health and safety fee each semester and then hides behind some case law and refuses to pay its fair share for fire and EMS services from the Rancho Adobe Fire District. The university “ethically” expects the taxpayers of this small and financially troubled fire district to service the needs of its 8,000 students, faculty and campus for free. Oh, and did I mention emergency medical services at the lavish, new, for-profit Green Music Center? Ten percent of the calls the fire district responds to are from the SSU campus. The firefighters respond because, “ethically,” it is the right thing to do.

Ethics is about evaluating a situation and doing what is right. Cleaning one's own house first is a good place to start and sets a great and valid example of ethical behavior.

FRANK TREANOR

Rancho Adobe fire chief

Reality and morality

EDITOR: Columnist George F. Will commented on the film “Zero Dark Thirty” and its depiction of “harsh interrogation techniques,” aka torture, quoting some who claim such methods helped lead to Osama bin Laden (“Boundaries of the permissible in war,” Jan. 14). He downplayed Sen. Dianne Feinstein's statements, based upon access to official records, denying that waterboarding produced any information leading to bin Laden.

Contrary to Will's source, others dispute that Khalid Sheik Mohammad, water-boarded 183 times, provided any useful information. Regardless, waterboarding is torture. It is against both American and international law.

According to interrogation experts in the FBI and the military, such torture doesn't work. Contrary to Kathryn Bigelow's thrilling propaganda film, there is no evidence that it led to bin Laden. Perhaps CIA officials eventually backed off torture because they wished not to be later regarded, correctly, as war criminals.

Ironically, the character in the film “A Few Good Men,” quoted extensively by Will, was a military officer ultimately arrested for authorizing torture. Will thinks Americans need realism about the world we live in and the methods required to defend our country. Perhaps we need reality, morality and adherence to law and American ideals to be exceptional. “Zero Dark Thirty” is feel-good, historical revisionism.

MARK ALTON

Petaluma

Depressing anniversary

EDITOR: Today is the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion — a sad day for many reasons. It's sad because 97 percent of U.S. abortions are done strictly for convenience, with no medical necessity or justification. It's sad because most women receive little or no objective information about the procedure and its aftermath before or after it's done. It's sad that there are more than 3,800 abortions done every day in our nation — nearly 56 million since 1973. It's sad that much of the cost for this is ultimately paid by taxpayers.

Although we justly mourn the loss of several dozen innocent victims in Newtown, Conn. these statistics are mind-numbingly vast in comparison. Where is the outcry from our leaders and the legislative initiatives addressing this national scandal? For an entire generation, we have been lulled into complacency over what is happening here, relegating the overwhelming reality of this loss to rhetoric about “choice” and “the right to control our body.”

Isn't it time to consider this personally and for each of us to search ourselves as to why we have gotten here? Do we really want to continue this brokenness to the coming generations? Please think about this so it will not take another 40 years to rectify these gruesome facts and numbers.

LAWRENCE LEHR

Santa Rosa

Drawing a line

EDITOR: The Second Amendment to our Constitution grants every individual the right to bear arms. Since that right was granted in 1791, “arms” as we know then have evolved far beyond the destructive power our forefathers ever imagined. As an extreme example, consider nuclear arms. Are they included? I think not.

Clearly, we as a society have to draw the line somewhere for the purpose of general safety. Weapons that have mass destructive force are not appropriate for individual use. The real debate is about what level is appropriate for individual use. If the majority can agree where to draw the line, the spirit of the Second Amendment can be maintained without compromising the general safety of society.

JAMES MILLER

Santa Rosa

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