Letters to the Editor

LETTERS Terrorist attack, free speech, high-speed rail

Sacramento Muslims condemn Paris attack

Re “A cowardly attack on freedom of speech” (Editorials, Jan. 8): Sacramento Muslims strongly condemn this brutal attack and state that it is indeed an attack on the values and freedoms we hold dear. We offer our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and wounded. May the merciful and loving God give comfort to their families and ease their pain and suffering.

What is so tragic also is the use by terrorists of the Islamic term “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) when carrying out their cowardly acts. Allahu Akbar is used by Muslims when they begin their daily prayers, it is used in the call to prayer, and used at happy occasions. It is an expression of human humbleness combined with acknowledgment of God’s power, beauty, and awesomeness. These deviant terrorists have demonized Islam – a faith that teaches peace, love for God’s creation, and kindness to all – by committing their inhumane and barbaric acts using religious terminology. What a shame.

We need to stand up for human freedoms, justice and universal values and be strong. That would be an appropriate response to these acts of terrorism.

Irfan Haq, North Highlands

U.S. speech not free

Je suis Charlie? Never mind crazies with guns overseas. We’re suppressing free speech right here at home.

“Tolerance” and “diversity” may be the buzzwords, but is divergence really tolerated anymore? Today in the Land of the Free, the wrong word or opinion about race, gender, environment or a dozen other things can get you fired, expelled from school, even jailed for “hate speech.” Universities are forcing speech codes on their students. The IRS picks and chooses which political opinions deserve nonprofit status. And what could be more effective for repressing free expression than a government that admits keeping careful records of each and every phone call, email or tweet?

If the bomb-throwers think they’re entitled to silence anyone who disagrees with them, maybe we should ask – where did they get the idea?

Martin Owens, Sacramento

Thank you, Jack Ohman

Re Jack Ohman cartoon (Opinion, Jan. 8): Jack Ohman’s courageous and humorous cartoon in Thursday’s Bee in response to the deadly attack on cartoonists in Paris the day before was the perfect response to that cowardly, despicable act. Big kudos to Ohman and The Bee. Thanks for sticking your neck out to protect my freedom, brighten my day, and get a little nose-thumbing retribution for all of us whose rights were abused by that terrorist atrocity.

Bill Arzbaecher, Sacramento

Room for everyone

Re “Manhunt for brutal terrorists” (Page A1, Jan. 8): History, as most of us know, tends to repeat itself, especially when that history is not studied. But you don’t have to be a student of history, merely a casual observer, to realize that the world is moving toward a religious war between Christianity and radical Islam. The key word here is “radical.” The ball is clearly in the hands of the traditional Islamic culture and its leadership. Only they can address radicalism within their midst on a worldwide scale. There is room for us all, join with us, we will gladly share this speck of the universe with you. “Live and let live” comes to mind. Are you up to the challenge, Islam? I, for one, would love to hear some support from our moderate friends.

Lon Kurtzman, Folsom

Offer lifetime rail passes

Re “High-speed rail celebrated” (Page A1, Jan. 7): Here’s a modest proposal for how to finance the $68 billion. Simply offer unlimited life-time passes to the high-speed train. We could convert all the enthusiasm of those attending the ceremony and the other overwhelming number of supporters into cold, hard cash. I envision golden plaques engraved with the pass holder’s name affixed to the plush seats of our beloved bullet train. Maybe even sell some corporate sponsorships. This is a free marketer’s nirvana. Demand will far exceed supply.

Think about it: For a mere $10,000 per seat, one could own lifetime rights to travel at high speeds from Northern to Southern California or vice versa. At that unbelievably low price we’d only need, er, uh, lots of people to purchase the lifetime passes (let’s not get bogged down in the “nebulous” financing details). I think Gov. Brown would be at the front of the line. He, after all, likes trains.

Marc Ely, Sacrameto

Cost of not building train

Re “California should halt high-speed rail” (Viewpoints, Jan. 8): Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association President Jon Coupal decry California’s high-speed rail project as a waste of taxpayer money. Yet they have not explained what the cost to taxpayers will be to expand highways as California’s population continues to grow and the state’s roadways become ever more congested.

I have ridden France’s TGV trains. They are fast, quiet, comfortable, use less energy per passenger and are far safer than driving a car. There is no doubt that constructing a high-speed rail system here will be very expensive and very challenging. But once the train system is built and people can travel quickly and efficiently between Northern and Southern California, unlike McCarthy and Coupal, I think high-speed rail will improve the quality of life in this state.

Mary P. Morris, Sacramento

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