Tue07292014

News

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

LASD, BCS boards finalize 5-year agreement

Bullis Charter School board members unanimously approved a five-year agreement with the Los Altos School District just before midnight Monday. The agreement, also unanimously approved by LASD trustees earlier in the evening, outlines facilities uses ...

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Schools

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall

MVLA rolls out laptop integration this fall


Town Crier File Photo
Starting in the fall, daily use of laptops in the classroom will be standard operating procedure for students at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools as the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District launches a pil...

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Community

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'

Generations blend behind the scenes at 'Wizard of Oz'


Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.” ELIZA RIDGEWAY/ TOWN CRIER

A massive troupe of young people and grownups gathered in Los Altos this summer to stage the latest iteration of a childhood sta...

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Sports

Football in July

Football in July


Town Crier file photo
Mountain View High’s Anthony Avery is among the nine local players slated to play in tonight’s Silicon Valley Youth Classic.

Tonight’s 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie...

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Comment

Pools should be included: Editorial

Los Altos residents should be receiving calls this week from city representatives conducting a survey to determine priorities for a revamped Hillview Community Center.

Notice that we did not say “civic center” – chastened by a lack of public support...

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Special Sections

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas

Looking for life without lows, local diabetic tests artificial pancreas


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Dr. Trang Ly, left, reviews blood sugar readings on a smartphone with Los Altos resident Tia Geri, right, and fellow participant Noa Simon during a closed-loop artificial pancreas study for Type 1 diabetics.
...

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Business

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main

Palo Alto law firm coming to 400 Main


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Longtime Palo Alto law firm Thoits, Love, Hershberger & McClean plans to open an office at 400 Main St. in Los Altos after construction is complete in November.

A longtime Palo Alto law firm plans to expand int...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

RICHARD PATRICK BRENNAN

Resident of Palo Alto

Richard Patrick Brennan, journalist, editor, author, adventurer, died at his Palo Alto home on July 4, 2014 at age 92. He led a full life, professionally and personally. He was born and raised in San Francisco, joined the Arm...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

PYT stages 'Shrek'

PYT stages 'Shrek'


Lyn Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
Dana Cullinane plays Fiona in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s “Shrek The Musical.”

Peninsula Youth Theatre presents “Shrek The Musical” Saturday through Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts...

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Spiritual Life

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting

Foothills Congregational: 100 years and counting


Courtesy of Carolyn Barnes
The newly built Los Altos church in 1914 featured a bell tower and an arched front window. Both continue as elements of the building as it stands today.

Foothills Congregational Church – the oldest church building in L...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Good guys vs. bad guys: Heat of moment meets fatal weapon

My Aunt Rozi’s husband, Jimmy, shot her June 3, 1974. He was drinking, they argued and in a few moments, she lay dead on their kitchen floor. She was 38. She has now been dead for as long as she was alive. Her four children grew up without her.

If Cape Elizabeth, Maine, had decided to arm its good citizens to protect themselves from “bad guys,” Uncle Jimmy would have been handed a gun with a smile. He was exactly what people picture when they talk about the “good guys”: middle-aged, middle-class, white, college-educated, an English professor and poet.

In 1995, another good guy tried his best to murder my father. That “good guy” also was middle-aged, white and a college graduate. He was wealthy, a churchgoer, a respected businessman. When his wife left him for my father, Malcolm went berserk, hunted Dad down and stabbed him repeatedly. Two very brave bystanders and an excellent hospital saved my father’s life.

Not a fatal shooting appears in the newspaper without my thinking, “That would have been my family if Malcolm had had a gun.”

The armed-citizenry approach to safety is based on a moral myth of bad guys versus good guys. Crazed mass killers or conscienceless drug lords aren’t the perpetrators of most murders. Murders occur when the heat of the moment meets a highly fatal weapon. My family’s tragedies are typical: personal dispute + alcohol or other drugs + a person prone to irrational thinking and violent behavior. The difference between Aunt Rozi’s death and Dad’s near-miss was that Jimmy had a gun and Malcolm didn’t.

But, people argue, guns in other hands might have saved those situations. Really?

If Aunt Rozi had pointed her own gun at Jimmy, paranoid, enraged and drunk as he was, and told him to back off, he probably would not have dropped the gun the way a movie bad guy would – he’d have pulled the trigger. If someone had tried to use a gun to intervene in Dad’s stabbing, they’d most likely have sent bullets ricocheting off the tile and metal walls, endangering both of them.

Yelling “Freeze!” at the attacker works on TV, but if Malcolm had been amenable to reason, he wouldn’t have been wrecking his own life by responding to an affair by attempting murder.

In most murders, the bad guy appeared to be a good guy until he had too much liquor, too much wounded pride, too little ability to handle his anger – and a deadly weapon in his hands. That is one reason the most likely victim of the gun you keep in your house is you or someone you love.

Let’s be clear: If we enact the National Rifle Association’s dream of an armed citizenry, we will be handing guns to Jimmy and Malcolm.

Gun-rights activists, lobbyists and legislators have exploited the Newtown, Conn., shootings to advance the notion that arming more citizens will make us safer. It’s rooted in fiction and fantasy. It is just plain wrong – and it kills.

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern is parish minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston Road. For more information, call 494-0541, ext. 26, or visit www.uucpa.org.

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