.Letter: ‘ I would rather have Dr. Simon for a neighbor…”

A little toot right back at you

This letter is a reply to Ms. Silverstein’s opinion piece [‘A toot of the horn,’ Letters page, April 10]. Her piece is erroneous in several ways and comes to what I regard as an erroneous conclusion.

First, it is not true that there was no evidence that Dr. Simon’s assailant was a threat. People familiar with the case know that there is plenty of such evidence. Out of consideration for Dr. Simon’s assailant, this is neither the time nor place to list them. But should this case actually come to trial everyone will know the evidence and it will place Dr. Simon in a much more sympathetic light. The fact that this evidence was withheld from the grand jury says more about District Attorney Ed Berberian’s fitness for his position than it does about Dr. Simon’s fitness as a neighbor.

Second, Ms. Silverstein makes reference to “the safety of his garage” as if the garage was some sort of impregnable fortress. In fact, there was no safety in Dr. Simon’s garage because he couldn’t shut the door. And he couldn’t shut the door because his assailant had driven his vehicle partially into the garage itself. Some safety!

Third, Ms. Silverstein, apparently taking her cue from the D.A.’s office, makes reference to Dr. Simon’s collection of firearms as if it was germane to this case. It is not. This case is a simple matter of self-defense and Dr. Simon’s hobby is not going to be on trial. If Ms. Silverstein wants to eschew the immunity of the herd and live in a neighborhood where no one owns firearms, she is free to attempt it.

Finally, a few words about the tactics of Mr. Berberian. There is a “second bite of the apple” provision in California criminal law that allows prosecutors to re-charge defendants after a case has been dismissed. The intent of the law was to cover cases in which new evidence came to light after the original dismissal. It was not supposed to give prosecutors a mulligan. Mr. Berberian introduced no new evidence to the grand jury which then proceeded to re-indict Dr. Simon without having the proper context to do so. By abusing the provisions of the law, Mr. Berberian seems to be taking on a personal vendetta. His actions are those of a fanatic and fanaticism has no place in the DA’s office.

To sum up: I would rather have Dr. Simon for a neighbor than Ed Berberian as a D.A. Ed Berberian is a dangerous man. Dr. Simon is not.

Mike Helmer

Pacific Sun
The Pacific Sun publishes every Wednesday, delivering 21,000 copies to 520 locations throughout Marin County.


  1. I found Nikki Silverstein’s column unsettling. She suggests that driving around a car stopped at a green light is a sign of aggression, and that rather Dr. Simon should have honked. That makes no sense. What if he had honked, and the outcome had been identical? Then she could say, “Well, he should have driven around him.” I am not a gun owner, I have no interest in owning guns, but I cannot imagine the terror of someone tailgating me and then following me home into my garage, and impeding the closing of the car door with his vehicle. That is the stuff of nightmares. The human desire to live and to protect our loved ones is innate. Defending oneself is a Constitutional Right.

    I include a link to a website where you can read more about what is at stake and sign a petition to show support to Dr. Simon.


    Katie Kelly
    San Rafael, CA


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