Opinion

Letters: Thoughts, prayers + Facebook + Kamala Harris + Driverless cars + #MeToo

Thoughts, prayers

Re “‘They had the prayers shot right out of them’: Backlash begins after church shooting” (sacbee.com, Nov. 5): Again, thoughts and prayers woke me hours before sunrise: thoughts of my grandchildren and prayers for their safety. We are a nation filled with thoughts and prayers, but little else. Politicians are especially good at offering thoughts and prayers as they arrive on scene, but caution us that now is not the time to talk about you know what. I’d like to see them take time to visit the morgue and view a child mutilated by bullets without losing their breakfast. No, that would take courage. All my thoughts and prayers are reserved for innocent children. Adults of voting age are on their own. They have the capacity and responsibility to do something about all this carnage at the voting booth. It only takes courage. Shall we prepare for new thoughts and prayers for the coming week? Month? Two months? Or is now not the time?

Anthony M. Villanueva, Folsom

Fake news

Re “It’s tempting, but regulation isn’t the best way to rid Facebook, Twitter of fake news” (Editorials, Nov. 1): Finally, a Sacramento Bee editorial offering a sensible solution to the fake news crisis making news and op-ed headlines lately. Previous editorials hinted, and a possible new federal law would bring, government intervention, but this would come at a terrible cost of compromising our nation’s cherished free press and free speech. It’s a fake solution and not a real solution to the fake news crisis. I advocate taking an approach of caveat lector – let the reader beware. The verse of a well-recognized song goes like this: “Let there be peace of earth and let it begin with me.” Applying this to a real solution for fake news, “Let there be real news on earth and let it begin with the Bee.”

Edward Joseph Pierini, Jr., Sacramento

First Amendment

Re “Kamala Harris gets trolled – and puts Twitter, Facebook on notice about Russia” (Dan Morain, Nov. 5): It’s that pesky First Amendment; you know, the one that protects the free flow of information. Unfortunately, free flow means there’s no filter on accuracy or sourcing. Evidently, some people want to curtail the information flow during elections, and some want to do it all the time. That would be sort of like what China does, only allowing access to government approved content. One question is: Are elections a special case? The short answer is no. Influencing an election is all about influencing the voter. Politicians running for office try to do it. People supporting politicians running for office try to do it. People supporting any number of diverse causes try to do it. And countries interested in the outcome of the election try to do it. Who is to sort it all out? It’s the voter, Facebook employees, or the government. And I don’t trust the last two.

John Paul, Carmichael

Driverless cars

Waymo is putting self-driving vans on the streets, attesting to the rapid progress toward fully autonomous vehicles. There were more than 40,000 traffic deaths in 2016, the deadliest since 2007. Undoubtedly, a majority of those fatalities are attributable to human error. That makes the allure of driverless cars understandable. My my son’s PayPal and bank accounts were efficiently hacked recently. Identity theft is a universal concern. Events in New York and Texas illustrate man’s capacity for evil. Terrorists plant bombs in trucks, underwear, shoes and carry-on luggage. They long for any novel approach. Autonomous cars rely on computers to govern speed, breaking and direction. How long until they too are subject to hacks? Computer malfunctions, often excused as glitches, could prove catastrophic. Yep, I’m skeptical.

Tom Shragg, Sacramento

Distracted driving

Our roads need responsible drivers. I was seriously hurt when a drunken driver hit me when I was 16 in 1992. Drivers are distracted in numerous ways, but cellphone usage takes the cake. The Sacramento Bee has made readers aware of a California law that started this year banning hand-held cellphone use while driving. People travel on roads and highways in beautiful California for the holidays. Drivers need to place undivided attention to the road. Driving with a cellphone is like driving drunk, if not worse. If you drive with your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, it is similar to driving the length of a football field at 55 MPH blindfolded. Clearly, that is irresponsible and unsafe. Please, stop your vehicle when using the phone and do not drive drunk.

Lori Martin, Tracy

Delta tunnels

Re “Delta tunnels” (Letters, Nov. 4): Based on Gabriel Lewin’s letter to the editor, the Brown administration has done a good sales job with its marketing of the tunnels. The exporters need to be reducing exports now to save the fish, not finding ways to continue over-exporting. Opponents do not want to limit water to Southern California as much as to stop the unlimited expansion of almond orchards in the Central Valley. Tunnel construction will cause economic ruin for Delta farmers and communities. Once operational, the tunnels would keep exporting at their all-time-high levels. How can that be good for the Delta fish? The issue isn’t whether the environmental benefits are worth the financial cost. The tunnels will cause environmental damage that can never be reversed.

Jan McCleery, Discovery Bay

#MeToo

Re “Sexual harassment cases put heat on legislative leaders” (California Forum, Nov. 5): It is hard to believe in this age of political correctness that women are still being sexually assaulted and harassed at their workplace. Having been in that situation, I understand the frustration and fear of telling a superior and then wait for the correct discipline of the accused to occur. Fortunately for me, I worked for an international company in the 1970s that didn’t allow that abuse. However, the perpetrator was not fired; merely disciplined and watched closely by superiors so that he would not harass me again. He tried and again was talked to but not dismissed. Fast-forward to what should be an educated environment at the Capitol. The good old boys are still taking care of their own. You cannot have the fox taking care of the henhouse. Harassment issues should be followed up by an independent group not employed by or associated with the Legislature.

Bernadette Hicks, Carmichael

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