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Letters to the editor: Shooting rampage in Seal Beach; coverage of Herman Cain; refunds by Blue Shield

Seal Beach tragedy

Re “Suspect a haunted man,” Oct. 14

How in the world was a mentally troubled man able to buy guns? When mass shootings like this happen, why doesn’t anyone ever talk about gun control? Why is it so easy for anyone, including gang members, to get a gun in this country?

Mexican drug traffickers get many of their guns from the United States. Does anyone see how many people are killed by guns in this country compared with countries with decent gun control? There are about 30,000 gun deaths per year here.

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Can’t we start getting a clue when we have all these senseless killings?

Lynn Thompson

Redondo Beach

It would have taken just one legally armed citizen in the Seal Beach salon to have averted the horrible slaughter of unarmed men and women. Rather than being able to simply shoot people like fish in a barrel, the crazy shooter could have been put out of action by one well-placed bullet.

Many massacres have been averted by shop owners with weapons. Wouldn’t it be worth it to allow California to be like the 40 others states where responsible gun owners can save the day?

Michael L. Friedman

Torrance

OK, the man who allegedly gunned down nine people was troubled, having gone through a very rough patch in his life, with a bitter custody battle and all. But there are heaps of people who live through far nastier experiences who don’t slaughter people that way.

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Could the availability of guns have made this “option” so easy for this man, allowing him to vent his frustrations in this diabolic manner?

Rajend Naidu

Sydney, Australia

Coverage of Herman Cain

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Re “Cain, on the rise, says he ‘won’t fizzle,’ ” Oct. 13, and “Closer look at ‘9-9-9' plan,” Oct. 14

I am confident that had the Wall Street Journal published an article about pre-presidential candidate Barack Obama identifying him as a socialist agitator, there would have been demands for retractions and screams of racism.

Yet The Times reduces Herman Cain to a “radio talk show host and motivational speaker.”

Rather, he should be described as an accomplished man: a businessman (a real job in the private sector in which payrolls and budgets must be met), a syndicated columnist, a radio host from Georgia, former chairman and chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, a mathematician and a minister.

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This is just another example of reporting for political expediency.

Stephanie Summers

Altadena

With all due respect to conservative blogger John Nolte, who said regarding Cain’s “9-9-9" tax plan that “Americans understand that the simplest solutions are usually the best solutions,” I’ll stay with the venerable H.L. Mencken, who wrote that “for every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”

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Barry H. Davis

Agoura Hills

Healthy increase in premiums

Re “Blue Shield returns more excess profit,” Oct. 14

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Woo hoo! I got $138. That’ll buy me lunch in Beverly Hills. But my premium is going up to more than $600 a month from $456 starting Nov. 1, with a $4,000 deductible.

I’m single, healthy, don’t take any medications, have no preexisting conditions and don’t carry maternity coverage.

So please, Blue Shield, don’t throw me a crumb today and slam me tomorrow.

Stephany Yablow

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North Hollywood

Teaching English for better results

Re “L.A. Unified settles civil rights probe,” Oct. 12

I retired several years ago from the Los Angeles Unified School District. My last position was as a coordinator of bilingual programs at Noble Avenue Elementary in North Hills.

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Until the passage of Proposition 227 in 1998, we were having great instructional success with our English learners. A great many of our students, transitioning into an all-English program, were scoring higher than English speakers on standardized tests.

With the loss of our bilingual program, teachers began teaching all subjects in English and scores began to fall. Teachers were teaching in English but not teaching English.

There is a great need for an English-learning program in the entire state. District officials should take a look at the statistics in the dual immersion programs in several district schools.

Carolyn Daniels

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Indio

Trade deals

Re “3 trade deals divide, prevail,” Oct. 13

The article states that the new free-trade agreements are a big victory for President Obama, who says they are part of his plan to rebuild the economy by increasing exports and thus creating jobs.

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As evidenced in a 2009 report by the Council on Foreign Relations on NAFTA’s economic impact, I tend to see these deals as having only a marginally positive effect, if any, on the gross domestic product while causing increased job losses in the U.S., especially in the short term.

Is this what we need right now, especially during these dire economic times: new trade deals that will cause more people in this country to lose their jobs while we wait and hope for the long-term “benefits”?

Anthony Balderrama

Eagle Rock

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There’s much to protest now

Re “The ‘Mad Men’ mystique,” Opinion, Oct. 10

Gregory Rodriguez claims that we are nostalgic for a time when there were “systemic injustices to rebel against,” without once mentioning the Occupy Wall Street protests and similar demonstrations in cities across the U.S.

“Mad Men” is not about nostalgia for a bygone era.

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Today, protesters are leading the vast disaffected majority to rise up against the unemployment, debt and the lack of opportunity imposed by the wealthy, who control the political and media landscape and who cut their own taxes with impunity, surely fitting anyone’s definition of

“systemic injustices to rebel against.”

“Mad Men” takes place in a time when political change was imminent. Such a time is upon us once more, and I’m surprised that Rodriguez remains unaware.

Graham Dent

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Los Angeles

Churches and the law

Re “The ‘ministerial exception,’ ” Editorial, Oct. 13

The separation of church and state is always a hard call, but I take exception to The Times’ “ministerial exception” editorial.

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This Lutheran church lacks moral integrity for discriminating against someone with a disability, and for using the ploy of an obscure Pauline passage directed against corrupt courts. Moreover, the church fired her for only threatening to sue, violating Luther’s famous maxim that it’s one thing for birds to fly overhead, it’s another for them to nest in your hair.

As The Times points out but dismisses, the meaning of “ministerial” is key. The term is so broadly defined that many churches call every parishioner a minister.

Hopefully, the Supreme Court won’t open the door for churches and Christian schools to designate all employees as ministers, exempting the workers from any discriminatory protections.

The Rev. Douglas J. Miller

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Santa Barbara

Fair swap

Re “Mideast prisoner swap loses luster,” Oct. 13

After many years of negotiating contracts and a year of law school, it seems to me that when neither party is happy with the final outcome of the agreement but agrees to its implementation, a fair settlement has be reached.

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Martin Hardstark

Culver City


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