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As the program chair for the Marin County chapter of the American Association of University Women, I can say that our board joins with our AAUW national association to strongly condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which takes away a woman’s constitutional right to choose whether to have an abortion.
While we are fortunate to live in California, a state that supports the right of women to make decisions about their reproductive lives, the AAUW believes the decision is a major setback for all Americans. We encourage women and men who support a woman’s right to choose to join, volunteer with, or donate to AAUW and other national and state organizations as they work, both together and separately, to find ways to reduce the havoc caused by the Dobbs decision.
Protecting reproductive rights is a vital component of gender equity and the consequences of the Dobbs decision are far-reaching and a major setback to the rights of women as well as their economic security.
A full statement of AAUW’s position can be found on the internet at AAUW.org.
— Cherie Sorokin, Tiburon
If President Joe Biden is destined to pull a rabbit out of the hat, he might just do it with a revamped nuclear program. With the Ukraine war in mind, Biden, as part of a peace proposal between Kiev and Moscow, could offer to demolish and replace the damaged Chernobyl power plant with a new smaller one. I suspect the cost of such a plant would be about half of the major arms shipment to the Ukraine from the U.S.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (like in the 1930s) could be used as a launching pad for this program. A lot of folks forget that the construction of the Tennessee Valley Authority helped make it the template worldwide for water and power construction used from the ’30s to the ’90s. It was the building of TVA that converted Tennessee from a state where only 4% of the population had electricity to a state wherein 76% had electricity. TVA provided the power needed to supply the Manhattan project in constructing the first nuclear bomb.
The TVA template was shopped by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Saudi Arabians during a stopover after the 1945 Yalta summit after a “big three” meeting with United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Russian President Josef Stalin.
The relationship forged by Roosevelt helped the Saudis develop their oil resources.
— Rick Johnson, Novato
I recently did some research on gun violence using the Gun Violence Archive online archive and Wikipedia lists of school shootings.
Researching incidents in which the 25 highest number of deaths and wounded are recorded, the AR-15 and AK-47 weapons resulted in three times the average number of deaths per incident than with other rifles and guns and seven times the maximum number.
In the same 25 incidents, the average number of wounded was 34 times that of other rifles and 26 times the maximum. It seems like a good compromise to give up one type of firearm for which the impact is demonstrable with facts. Semi-automatic handguns are not as dramatically different from others, possibly because of the size of the ammunition clip.
Data supports raising the age for buying weapons to 21 and extensive background checks, including social media. School shooting data shows 43% result from students harming students. Intruders of any age committed 37% of the incidents. Given that most students are under 21 this makes sense.
Some use the phrase “old enough to die for the country” (after being drafted into the armed forces as the reason for continuing the current age limit. If that’s the case, then we should raise that age. Also, we have a volunteer military now.
Mental state of mind is a factor. We should address root causes and try new approaches, looking at everything possible, including reducing glamorization of gun violence in video games and movies which research shows has increased dramatically over 30 years.
There are at least 400 million guns in the U.S. A leading reason given for buying guns is self-defense, yet from 2017 to 2021, defensive use dropped by 66%. Addressing gun violence requires creative solutions in both gun management and mental health.
— John Bischoff, San Rafael
Our Constitution’s short Second Amendment reads that a “well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
It appears that the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning a limit on carrying a gun in New York does not consider the phrases “well regulated Militia” or “the security of a free State.” How did this 231-year-old amendment’s perceived need for a citizen militia transform into Justice Clarence Thomas’s recent comment that an individual’s right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home cannot be limited by requiring what I consider to be a justified concealed-weapons license?
It was not members of a well-regulated militia that have shot down more than 500 children, churchgoers and other civilians so far this year. A well-regulated militia did not cause 45,000 U.S. gun deaths in 2020. I find the Supreme Court to be hypocritical and complicit in murder when it upholds the right to bear arms, but simultaneously rejects the constitutional rationale and limits of a well-regulated militia and the security of a free state.
— Ron Skellenger, Woodacre
After reading the recent Supreme Court decisions, I don’t want to hear any more Republican whining about “activist judges.”
So much for Senate confirmation hearings as a means for determining where Supreme Court nominees stand on crucial issues. Say farewell to the strict construction of the Constitution. It’s as if we forgot the only arms available to the drafters were muskets. Do we really think they envisioned assault rifles?
I believe Justice Clarence Thomas is just getting started on reversing precedent and setting opinions on contraception and same sex marriage. I wonder whether the Loving v. Virginia (allowing interracial marriage) is also in his sights.
— J. L. Gross, San Rafael
Thanks to last month’s Supreme Court ruling, Roe vs. Wade is history. Since California still allows abortions while other states will not, thousands, if not millions, of women will storm our state’s clinics. I believe an unlucky number who cannot be accommodated will be forced to seek the services of back-alley butchers armed with rusty coat hangers.
Deaths from botched procedures (where septicemia is the featured player) will mount. This may be just the beginning.
Justice Clarence Thomas hinted that other hard-won victories may be given another look. This includes same-sex unions and LBGTQ+ accommodations, among other important human rights. Conservative justices on the court will cast their baleful glance over these touchstones of liberty for the traditionally despised members of the human family.
It may not stop there. If the midterm elections favor the conservatives, I am concerned that former President Donald Trump will be reelected in 2024. The man who once bragged that he could commit an atrocity in downtown Manhattan and still be loved might be right.
Ninety years ago, Adolf Hitler, another demagogue, took center stage globally and saw to the near obliteration of Jewish homosexual and mentally challenged people. Anyone who did not fit his ideal was in danger. So, beware, totalitarianism may be on the rise again.
— John D. Schneider, San Rafael
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