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Triggering debate

February 19, 2009

Re "Under the gun," editorial, Feb. 17

If the Orange County sheriff were revoking carry permits from people because they had done anything bad or criminal, her position would make sense. She is unable to predict where and when criminals will strike, so she cannot know when someone may have to defend themselves. But she is happy to revoke a carry permit just because she doesn't think a particular person should have one.

What else does Queen Hutchens not like? Are citizens equal before the law, or subject to the whim of Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca wannabes?

Some say government should have a monopoly on force and that will make us safer. As proved time and again, criminals don't care about gun-control laws. In the end, government and criminals share the monopoly on force, with citizens in the middle.

Hutchens, Baca and LAPD Chief William J. Bratton should not be allowed to deny citizens the right to effective self-defense. Citizens are the losers here.

George Schirtzinger

Monrovia

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The Times' editorial claims that Orange County supervisors "sought radical change" in appointing Sandra Hutchens sheriff. I can't speak for those who selected her -- I supported Santa Ana Police Chief Paul Walters -- but radical change is certainly what we got.

In the last four months, the new sheriff has flooded our board meetings with undercover officers, picked command staff who use county-issued BlackBerrys to text demeaning messages belittling the public and the board, assigned investigators who secretly snooped at Supervisor Janet Nguyen's and my personal notes, refused release of board meeting recordings and threatened to sue board members who didn't sign away our rights to those recordings.

Secrecy. Contempt for the public. Unwarranted searches. Defiance of elected officials. We did get radical change all right -- in the wrong direction!

Chris Norby

Fullerton

The writer is an Orange County supervisor from the 4th District.

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