This week’s question comes from Anonymous in the East Bay who asks: “I read your article last week on guns and crazy neighbors while riding home on BART. It got me to thinking: I know some shifty dudes who have a lot of guns. Some of them are felons and some have restraining orders out on them for domestic violence. They have some heavy pieces including AK 47’s and other assault weapons, machine pistols and silencers. I’ve also seen some bullet proof vests. They deal a lot of drugs and use the guns to “protect their interests.” Isn’t there some restriction on criminals owning guns? Can people still buy AK’s in California? What about body armor?”
Today’s question comes from Priscilla in Hayes Valley who asks “As I would hope everybody else would be, I am outraged, sickened and angry with the senseless gun violence that we saw, AGAIN, in Florida when 17 people were senselessly gunned down by a man who was, apparently, suffering from mental illness. How can such a person get access to a gun? Is there law which limits access of crazy people to weapons? A member of my family is a gun nut and has a bi-polar disorder. He has a lot of guns and has made statements about “going postal” and “shooting up the town.” I am afraid of him going off and hurting someone. Please let me know what someone can do when they think that there is a time-bomb ticking away like this.”
Joe from San Francisco writes: My wife and I learned of a great opportunity to work in a restaurant in San Francisco. We were promised “good wages” and we were excited to move to from the Philippines and start a new life in America. When we arrived in San Francisco two years ago, we were required to and continue to work over twelve hours a day and not allowed to take breaks. We also work 6 days a week. Our employer told us that we owed a debt and he began deducting various items from our wages such as transportation, interest or fines, and charges for bad behavior. We ended up with almost no salary for the hours we worked. We were also threatened with our visas having expired and being in the United States “illegally.” My employer even took our passports away. We were threatened that if we tried to leave our employer and go back to the Philippines, something bad would happen to our family there. We confided in a friend who told us that she believed that we are victims of human trafficking. What can we do? We feel trapped and do not know if we have rights.
This week’s question comes from Harry B. in Walnut Creek who asks: “How is it that the President can issue an Executive Order regarding immigration and some court can just swoop in and say he can’t. He is the President now and people have just got to get used to it. Why does the Judge, one person, get to stop what we voted for when we elected Trump: immigration reform and protection from terrorists?”
Reggie from the East Bay writes, “I am an African American and use Uber frequently. On multiple occasions, the driver cancels my pickup. This happened again when I was at a bar in downtown Oakland last weekend. I had my friend, who is white, then use the app. He had no problem getting an Uber car for us. What can I do?”
Reggie, I don’t need to tell you that regardless of how technology has changed the ways we interact and conduct business with each other, we are not living in a color blind world. Racism and prejudice remain a pervasive cancer in our society.