Readers’ comments: March 31, 2023
Time to get proactive with pedestrian safety at Mt. Baldy Rd.
Potato Mountain is one of the most popular hikes of the San Gabriel Mountains within easy access of Claremont residents. While there are two main access routes to the peak, the shorter and favored route/access point for hikers is just below the border of the Angeles National Forest and Claremont city limits on Mt. Baldy Road.
Anyone who has driven up this road on a weekend is likely to encounter pedestrians walking down from their parked cars to the entrance to the trail. Since there is no parking allowed at the trailhead, hikers must park further up the road and walk down past a narrow choke point with little or no shoulder for pedestrians. The proximity of rapidly moving cars next to pedestrians at this location is extremely dangerous. Perhaps it would make sense for the City of Claremont to explore the feasibility of building a safe parking area closer to this popular trailhead?
In the meantime, posting warning signs to slow traffic approaching the trailhead might be in order. Given the attractiveness of this recreational activity so close to our city, it is unlikely that hikers will cease using this trailhead regardless of enhanced parking restrictions. Better to take steps now to prevent accidents from happening than to deal with them after the fact.
‘A border story’ results in call for churro flogging
Your article “A border story, part 1: in plain sight,” [March 24] misstates the U.S. State Department warning about Tijuana and does economic harm to this beautiful, interesting, and highly affordable city which is near and dear to my heart.
The words in your article say, “Years ago, Tijuana was considered a relatively safe playground for Americans. It is now a very dangerous place. The U.S. Department of State recommends tourists ‘Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.’” A link in the article goes to a website with warnings, which does indeed mention dangerous areas in Baja California, going into great detail about the Mexicali Valley and recommended travel routes.
However! After going into detail about the travel restrictions in Baja California, the warning specifically says as follows:
“There are no other travel restrictions for U.S. government employees in Baja California state. These include high-traffic tourism areas of border and coastal communities, such as Tijuana, Ensenada, and Rosarito.”
Gee, sounds to me like “Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping” applies to other parts of Baja State, especially the Mexicali Valley, but specifically does not, does not, does not!, apply to the “high-traffic tourism areas,” including Tijuana. You have muddied the truth, and, incredibly, you managed to mis-state the State Department. Wow, you have to get up early in the morning and screw up all day to pull off something that epic. (Slow clap)
Please make correction accordingly, immediately, and apologetically. Then go flog yourself with a long, hot churro.
Viva Mexico! Viva Tijuana! (Insert festive mariachi music here)
Midwest City, Oklahoma
Editor’s note: While I am grateful to have been flamed in such witty style by Mr. Hoff, he is unfortunately factually incorrect in his passionate defense of Tijuana’s safety. Here’s the entire quote from the U.S. Department of State: “Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and [lawful permanent residents] have been victims of kidnapping.” Mr. Hoff seems to have conflated U.S. government employees with U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Still, I am better for having received his letter! MR
It’s the guns
Another day, another mass shooting in the U.S.
Monday’s attack was America’s 129th mass shooting of 2023, according to data compiled by Gun Violence Archive. And it’s still March.
It is not (typically) the shooters who suffer from moral corruption — they are disturbed people and are making use of what their enablers provide: easy access to firearms and a culture that celebrates guns and violence. No, the moral corruption is located in those people who shake their heads at each publicized killing and say, “My prayers are with you, but the deaths are a consequence of freedom, of our right to own guns.” Such pious garbage is a refusal to acknowledge what guns are doing to the country, to other people. It is only the gun lovers self-centered freedom, not freedom itself, that is at stake.
If you are a gun owner (one whose weapons are not required professionally), what you need to do to escape your role in the continuing killing of innocent people is to take all your guns to the local police and ask that they be destroyed.
What’s up, Tesla owners?
Why do Tesla owners think they don’t need a front license plate? You also see this on other so-called “luxury” cars, but based on my unscientific sampling about 90% of Tesla owners don’t bother. I even saw a similarly unadorned Tesla using the employees-only entrance at the Claremont police station. In the great scheme of things this is not terribly important, but I wonder what other laws, rules, and societal norms these people feel entitled to flout.
Don’t knock fossil fuels: they drive our standard of living
As reported in the March 24 Courier, “thousands of seniors across the nation marched in solidarity” [“Local seniors protest banking industry’s role in climate change”] to oppose the funding of fossil fuels.
I wonder if it has occurred to any of these “marching seniors” that without fossil fuels they would not have clothes to wear or food to eat. Is that really what they would prefer? Nor would they be able to heat their residences when it’s cold outside. Nor would they even have the sort of residences they now enjoy.
We have the standard of living we have today, with all its manifold benefits, precisely because of fossil fuels. Who among us would choose to return to the standard of living of 200 years ago? To 1823? Anyone? Certainly not I.
Truth is, Earth has been in an ice age cycle for the last roughly 30 million years. And the most recent two million years has been the coldest part of that cycle. Today, in fact, based on weather history of the last half million years, we are actually in between ice ages. And we are very likely closer to the next coming ice age than we are to the end of the last ice age, which ended approximately 12,000 years ago. Viewing slight temperature variations year to year, or even decade to decade, is a highly myopic and deceiving perspective.
And as for that “1.1 degree C above pre-industrial levels,” those temperature readings and records are very much in dispute by actual scientists, as opposed to politicized scientists. Far from being a climate “crisis,” weather that is a tiny bit warmer is better for agricultural food production. Once again, I presume that those marching seniors appreciate having food to eat. I mean, they do, don’t they?
My advice? Enjoy the warm weather, while it lasts.
Giffords’ advocacy is a testament to her support of our civil rights
Since I was the individual who wrote the letter congratulating the Courier and Scripps College on their recent focus on Gabby Giffords [Readers’ comments: March 10], I feel obliged to respond to Leslie Watkins’ letter [Readers’ comments: March 17] that made a leap to state the fact that Gabby Giffords does not support our civil rights because of her advocacy for gun safety.
I was focused on Gabby as a remarkable role model and survivor of a horrendous targeted mass shooting, but I could have added that she is very public about owning guns herself, like many people in Texas. If there is anyone who is a firm believer in our civil rights and our right to own guns, it’s Gabby Giffords. Would she like to see universal background checks become law and assault weapons banned? Yes, but so would most rational Republicans and Democrats who have seen far too many mass shootings of innocent children and adults turn into weekly events.
There have been a total of 130 mass shootings just since the beginning of 2023 according to the Gun Violence Archive, with the addition of another this week in Tennessee where three innocent 9 year-olds and three adults were killed at a Christian school. Would a universal background check have made a difference here, possibly since the young person who was the shooter had severe emotional problems? I don’t have any illusion that carrying a gun would increase my safety in a situation like that, or any situation with a “bad guy,” as in the ensuing chaos I’d probably shoot another innocent bystander. But I’d be happy to undergo a universal background check if I do decide to carry a gun.
Speaking of civil rights
Re: “Gabby Gifford does not support your civil rights” [Courier letters, March 17], I was puzzled by the writer’s statement, “Democrats steeped in liberal anti-civil rights news media can’t seem to fathom how wrong their worldview is,” given that Republicans in many red states are banning books, whitewashing the history that doesn’t fit their narrative, trying to undo a woman’s right to choose, starting pointless culture wars, and so on. Is this not anti-civil rights on steroids? (Note to culture warriors: drag shows are not the root of all evil or responsible for the downfall of civilization. Nor is teaching the unvarnished facts of American history.)
How do such autocratic actions square with the Republicans’ constant drumbeat of small government and personal freedom? Further, Fox News isn’t a credible source for anything given it just came to light that some popular Fox News hosts (see: Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit deposition evidence) not only don’t believe the “big lie” but also are not fond of the former president. They were saying whatever was needed (aka, lying) to keep their ratings up and to satisfy their viewers.
But to the main point about guns: I doubt America will ever get over its love affair with guns. The January 30 edition of U.S. News & World Report reports that as of 2017 U.S. civilians held an average of 120.5 firearms per 100 people, the highest rate in the world. That in no way makes me feel safer, nor does the fact that there have been more mass shootings in 2023 than the number of days so far this year. Most of these atrocities are committed by men, so a deep dive into the causes of this propensity for violence should be a starting point. Meanwhile, my progressive, fact-based worldview will continue.
Editor’s note: I inadvertently omitted a portion of Mr. Linde’s letter in last week’s edition of the Courier. My apologies. This is the full letter.