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(Reuters)
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What readers think

Dec. 18: The Newtown massacre, and other letters to the editor Add to ...

Guns, guns, guns

Re ‘We Can’t Tolerate This Any More’ (front page, Dec. 17): If you think the end of the world will occur on Dec. 21, you’re wrong. The end of the world already occurred.

Ysabel Viau, Montreal

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Let’s not kid ourselves (Time To Cure The Gun Sickness – editorial, Dec. 15). The United States will never cure its gun sickness.

Terry Parsonage, Winnipeg

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My father was a proud American. He called America the greatest country in the world. But he didn’t live to see random shootings in malls, movie theatres and classrooms.

America’s preoccupation with guns has perverted the ideal of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today, the greatest country in the world is the saddest country in the world.

Charles Gordon, Toronto

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The National Rifle Association may not be a bunch of baby killers, but it certainly wants to make it easier for those who are. And those who like to kill children. And men. And women.

Perhaps we should just call them “facilitators,” instead of perverted handmaidens to the gun industry.

Doug James, Calgary

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The NRA is a terrorist organization. It holds U.S. democracy hostage. The President is unable to fight this foe because, as Pogo might have said, America has met the enemy and it is America.

The so-called right to bear arms? Arms should hug, not kill, little children.

Ken DeLuca, Arnprior, Ont.

Clash of civilization

Margaret Wente’s embrace of consumerism (Consumerism Is Good For The Soul – Dec. 15) misses a key point. The opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance – it’s enough. Our material possessions add to our happiness when we learn to appreciate that what we have is enough; they add to our suffering when we always want more than we have.

Michael Herman, Toronto

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Well, it was just a matter of time until the enlightened barbarians found a justification to reject minimal consumerism and re-embrace conspicuous consumption. Of course, the unenlightened barbarians never embraced minimalism; they were just broke, but they always knew they were spending money they didn’t have to advance civilization.

Dust off the credit card: It’s your duty to civilization.

John Seigner, Calgary

Genoming away

Your series on the sequencing of the human genome has indicated the many applications of DNA sequencing technology to health and disease. But we’re only 10 per cent of what we think we are!

In the past five years, microbiome sequencing has shown that our resident microbes contribute significantly to the normal functioning of our organs and tissues.

Human ailments are associated with perturbation of our microbial population, and increasing knowledge of the roles of microbes in these ailments will soon lead to many applications of personalized microbiome medicine. All living organisms are composites, and the sooner everyone accepts this, the better for good health and medicine.

Finally, it was noted in your article on China’s sequencing power (Trust Issues: Why China Is A Genetic Powerhouse With A Problem – Focus, Dec. 15) that BGI had sequenced the SARS virus. This is true, but Canadians (at the Genome Sequence Centre in Vancouver) did it first.

Julian Davies, professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology, University of British Columbia

Not so fast

Marcus Gee paints a very rosy picture of the beneficial impact that a freer alcohol market would have for Ontario’s environment and economy (Freer Alcohol Market Would Be A Good Thing For Toronto – Dec. 15). My experience as a resident of the U.K. would indicate another side to this utopian vision.

The spectacle of drink-fuelled semi-naked young people cavorting in the streets is not edifying. The churches in our major cities with their street-pastor schemes do a great job of ensuring that the vulnerable get home safely. The responsibility placed on the local shopkeeper to police underage drinking is serious and can lead to a court appearance when the law is broken either through carelessness or indifference.

The cost to our National Health Service of drink-related health issues is paid for by the taxpayer, not the drinks industry. The damage to family and social life has a serious economic impact on the U.K. None of this “debit side of the equation” was touched on by Mr. Gee.

We’ve always appreciated the responsible surroundings in which alcoholic beverages are purchased in Ontario. It has never prevented us, during our many visits to Canada, from enjoying some of Ontario’s fine wines and interesting beers.

But, please, don’t be fooled by one-sided environmental and economic arguments. Keep your drink-related retail sales policies as they are.

Rev. Roy D. Bennett, Puddletown, England

NHL solutions

As a former head of CBC Sports, I lament the stalemate between the NHL’s owners and players stubbornly locked in a game of “financial chicken.” The structure is broken. It’s high time to re-engineer the entire setup.

Create three leagues: the Canadian Hockey League (including teams in Quebec City and Hamilton); the American Hockey League (in cities where fans understand the game); and the European Hockey League.

The structure: After a schedule of regular-season and playoff games, each league champion enters a competition for the World Cup of Hockey.

This outside-the-box notion offers year-round hockey, jobs for more high-level players, worldwide interest in the game, and additional revenue for owners and players.

Worth considering?

Ron Devion, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

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Enough already! Bring in the wives to settle this mess.

Nancy Morrison, Vancouver

Harperian history

Let’s be clear: The Canadian Museum of Civilization is not “rebranding” itself – it’s being rebranded by the Conservative government (Fight At The Museum – Life & Arts, Dec. 17).

The process of representing our history, never straightforward, is now being overseen by unqualified politicians with an axe to grind and a propaganda message to display.

Remember the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. I grant you that $25-million isn’t much for a museum of this complexity, but it’s still enough to broadcast Stephen Harper’s vision of our history.

Janet Mullin, Fredericton

 

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