Lawyers, Guns and Money
It is a sad commentary on our society that the only way to get a complete account of the Andy Lopez shooting is through a lawsuit ("To the Courts," Nov. 6). Because there is a lawyer involved, people will conveniently jump to the conclusion that the family's lawsuit is driven wholly by money. Arnoldo Casillas is doing the family no favors in this regard by publicly bragging that he is able to net them more than $24 million.
The reality is that Gelhaus will be cleared by the SRPD's phony "investigation" for reciting his lines properly and stating that he feared for his life, knowing that doing so justifies any shooting. District attorney Jill Ravitch, who is supported in her reelection campaign by Sheriff Frietas and the Santa Rosa Police Officers' Association, will return the favor by upholding the result of the "investigation." The Grand Jury, mostly old, white and wealthy, will dutifully stamp the D.A.'s review, and five years or so down the road, another innocent teenager will be killed by law enforcement.
Casillas stands to make a tidy sum of money fighting this lawsuit. But if the Lopez family demands the release of every incriminatory piece of evidence that his team digs up, and if the county's "investigation" protocol is subsequently revealed as the sham it is, and a Civilian Review Board is formed to give proper reprimand to trigger-happy deputies who kill children for no justifiable reason, then I say his money will be well-earned.
In response to the misguided sentiments of one Jethro Hooper (Letters to the Editor, Nov. 6), Gelhaus would have had no more justification to execute Andy Lopez in three seconds if he had been carrying a real AK-47, which is legal to own in California.
In your Oct. 9 "This Modern World" poli-cartoon, one character says, "This is still a democracy, isn't it?" while the very last line is "It's not how democracy works."
Well, uh, the United States is not a democracy nor has it ever been; it is a constitutionally limited federal republic set up under a constitution adopted in 1787 by a Constitutional Convention.
"The Constitution is explicit about the type of government it establishes: 'The United States shall guarantee to every state in this Union a Republican Form of Government.'" (Article IV, Section 4)—Lies You Learned at School by Michael Powell.
Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from about 320 parts per million in 1960 to almost 400 ppm today, an amount not equalled for 800,000 years. This has caused Pacific Ocean temperatures to rise rapidly. Surface temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade boiled up into Typhoon Haiyan, a super storm killing 10,000 people in one area of the Philippines and leaving the living in a nightmare landscape of corpses, with no food or water, debris blocking roads, and another tropical storm on the way.
We need to change our lives, and the giant corporations that dominate our lives, to slow the juggernaut of accelerating climate change. We must hold fossil fuel industries financially accountable for the consequences of climate change instead of subsidizing them. We need wind and solar power; efficient electrical transmission; zero-energy buildings; public transportation; sustainable construction, agriculture, fishing, forestry; and education for women and access to birth control.
I am planning to give money to agencies struggling to bring food and water to the people of the Philippines, but I had to write this letter as well.
Thanks to those who turned out for our fine Boho Awards party last week. Thanks are also in order to harpist Bonnie Leigh Barnum, Corks Restaurant, Mesa Beverages, Hook & Ladder, Sonoma Chocolatiers, Stephan Stubbins, Brooke Tansley and Robert Petrarca from Transcendence Theatre Co., and Tom, Linda and the rest of the staff at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.
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