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Readers write: screening before gun ownership; vegetarian diets are 'greener'

Letters to the editor for the Dec. 28 & Jan. 4 weekly magazine.

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Open carry gun advocates walk up Minnesota Ave to Starbucks Saturday July 27, 2013, in Sioux Falls, S.D. at a walk organized by Open Carry South Dakota, July 27, 2013. The march by the Sioux Falls chapter of South Dakota Open Carry was meant to highlight responsible gun ownership and the right to bear arms

(Elisha Page / Argus Leader) (AP Photo

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More screening for gun ownership
Regarding the Dec. 5 online article “If San Bernardino attack was ISIS terrorism, why focus on domestic guns?” (CSMonitor.com): Republican presidential hopefuls such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas oppose gun registration, regulation, and restriction because they don’t want “the government” to have more intrusive powers. What other institutions do Americans have to protect them from terrorists on no-fly lists, mentally unstable people, and criminals acquiring guns? Our government agencies require people to pass a test before they are licensed to drive a car, practice law, and even cut hair. Surely the purchase of killing machines and ammunition should require passing a background check and safety test, registering in a national database, and screening for subsequent infractions that would disqualify gun ownership.

Candidates like Senator Cruz want to limit the ability of our government to prevent mass shootings, which now account for three times as many deaths as we suffered on 9/11. They pose as “outsiders” when actually they are completely embedded in corporation-sponsored corruption of our government. Republicans like Cruz are not the outsiders they pretend to be.
Bruce Joffe
Piedmont, Calif.

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Vegetarian diets are still ‘greener’
I am excited to see attention on the environmental implications of our diet in the Dec. 15 online article “Eating lettuce is three times worse for climate than bacon, say scientists” (CSMonitor.com).

However, the headline is misleading and the lead, “Vegetarians may be no greener than bacon-lovers,” is just plain wrong. This study makes no claims about a vegetarian diet. While it provides evidence that individual vegetables are less “green” per calorie, it’s the sum of an entire diet that matters. Related studies show that vegetarian diets emit about 30 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions overall than the typical American diet and that entirely plant-based diets cut resource consumption in half. An equally tantalizing headline could have read, “Bacon uses 84 times more energy to produce than an avocado.”
Matthew d’Alessio
Northridge, Calif.