Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Readers weigh in on New Zealand gun ban, vaccine exemption

A sign advertising guns on sale in the outskirts of Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019.
A sign advertising guns on sale in the outskirts of Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. NYT

Regarding the recent massacre in New Zealand (“Broken-hearted but not broken”), I applaud New Zealand’s desire to take action and solve this horrendous problem. However, the proposed corrective actions are misguided and will not solve the issue of mass shootings.

I was raised around firearms and my father instilled in me at a young age that people can be harmed or even killed with guns, and that I need to be very careful with weapons and mindful of the power they command.

Although an outright ban on semi-automatic weapons may sound logical, instead we should advocate for a nationwide system that keeps these types of weapons from the mentally deranged. The problem of mass shootings is a very real one and needs to be addressed. This is not a pro- or anti-gun political argument; all perspectives and ideas need to be taken into consideration for a meaningful and useful consensus to be reached.

Wyatt Stinchfield, Paso Robles

Get tough on crime

The headline refers to a mantra uttered by conservative pundits and many seeking election. To paraphrase a well-known playwright: “It is a slogan mouthed by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying ... nothing.”

For those seriously seeking a reduction in crime, I strongly recommend the book by Preet Bharara: “Doing Justice.” In our local district attorney’s election campaign it was gratifying to see that Dan Dow seems to endorse Bharara’s program, including Misdemeanor Diversion and Restorative Partners programs. I am curious if these programs have been wholeheartedly pursued since his election. Who can comment?

Ray Weymann, Atascadero

Your MD should make the call

Thank you for your April 25 article on proposed vaccine exemption legislation. Much is at stake with Senate Bill 276, including the essential pediatrician-patient relationship.

Imagine if you needed birth control and your gynecologist were required to submit a request to the state. Or if you had high blood pressure and a state’s designee prescribed the same medication to which you’d already had an allergic reaction, ignoring your doctor’s recommendations.

This bill will establish such a system. The professional judgment of California MDs will be subservient to that of a far-off government official. Doctors who investigate and/or witness an adverse reaction to a vaccine will be denied the ability to autonomously govern care for their patient. Instead, their medical acumen will need to “be approved or denied only by the State Public Health Officer or the public health officer’s designee.”

This officer would never see the child or hear the parents’ account of any previous reactions. The officer would review a “request form” and be given ultimate decision-making power.

If there are unethical doctors, let’s address them individually. Degrading all California doctors by disabling their doctor-patient relationships is not the answer.

SB276 next faces the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Full bill text: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB276

Maggie Ragatz, Morro Bay

Stop puppy mills

In response to the Animal Kingdom pet store letter in the April 26 edition: The sale of puppies was not discontinued because of a lack of cleanliness or an unloving staff. Sales were discontinued because of the supply source, which was most likely not clean and certainly not loving. Puppy mill dogs are bred at a young age and they are bred over and over again as much as possible to make money for their owners. They are not loved and cared for, nor valued for anything other than their ability to make money for the owners.

If you want a puppy go to Woods or county Animal Services. Dogs come spayed/neutered with all their shots and a free vet check up. The puppies or dogs might not be eligible for AKC registration, but you won't be promoting animal cruelty and might be even saving a life.

Heidi McElroy, Los Osos