Since an April 4 letter writer compares what is being done or not done with regard to guns and distracted driving, why not include alcohol? It kills more people than guns every year and causes more health issues, more domestic crimes, more broken homes, more abuse. Yet I don't see people calling for background checks when buying alcohol or calling to limit buying alcohol for others of legal age. You may remember a person in the news who had 28 DWIs yet was still able to purchase alcohol. Why? Because people who drink don't want to face the issue.

I've been a gun owner my entire adult life, yet I don't personally know one person who was killed by a gun or by a gun used illegally. I cannot say the same about alcohol. Can you?

Meanwhile, a friend of mine and his wife were hit by a distracted driver. They both almost died and will have pain the rest of their lives. He lost a leg. The person who hit them had a previous distracted-driving offense, and it appears she will get off with a slap on the wrist.

When current gun laws cannot even be enforced because of the lack of sharing between government and health institutions so that background checks actually mean something, I question what the effect of new laws will be on law-abiding people. Not being able to lend a gun to a friend to go hunting or to a high school student to participate in the trapshooting leagues is one of the results of the legislation trying to be forced through now.

I believe in having background checks for gun purchases at guns show, etc. But if I decide to pass on a gun to a family member or a friend who I know is law-abiding, I don't see the need.

Tim Hainlin, Maple Plain

About finding friendliness and happiness — that's up to you, innit?

I lived in Norway for two years — as a student and then as a mother with my Norwegian-born husband and two school-age children. ("Sadly, Norwegians don't seem as happy as surveys suggest," April 4, a counterpoint to the April 2 commentaries "What we saw in Norway: A model for Minnesota" and "The U.S. can't become Nordic just by declaring policies.") It is complicated to live in another country and culture and fit in. I am blond and blue-eyed with grandparents from Scandinavia. I speak Norwegian, and it was still extremely challenging for me to meet new people and make new friends.

I would also walk down the street and try to make eye contact and greet people (which just made them uncomfortable) until I figured out that the way to break through is to become involved. Join a neighborhood club or parents' group, or take a class so you have a common task or purpose. I found that working on something together led to friendships and inclusion in socializing activities.

The conclusion stated in the April 4 counterpoint that Norwegians are racist because they point out rules to be followed and aren't friendly is not supported by my personal experience while living in Norway.

Leisha K. Ingdal, New Brighton
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The Norwegians don't seem happy? I didn't know happiness had a standard. Happiness is a state of mind for the individual. People who are happy are not obligated to make other people happy. You could be the one who is not happy, because they are not seeing the world as you see it. But this does not make them unhappy.

Edward McHugh, East Bethel
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About emeritus economics professor Jacqueline Brux's remarks in her counterpoint about Norwegians' happiness, as an enthusiastic Swede, all I can say is that it's about time someone took the Norwegians down a peg or two!

James A. Bergquist, St. Louis Park

No confidence, no purchase

I see that President Donald Trump intends to cut federal meat inspectors by up to 40 percent in the pork industry, and have them replaced by meat-producer employees (Business, April 4). Attention, Hormel, Jennie-O and Perdue: You've got a problem. If Trump goes through with this, sales of your product will drop like a rock. At least they will at my dinner table.

Gregory P. Olson, Eden Prairie

Maybe they don't cause cancer, but they're not without problems

If President Trump said that industrial wind turbines cause cancer, that is unfortunate, because it downplays the real negative impacts that do come with living next to or within an industrial wind installation ("Iowa Sen. Grassley: Trump wind turbine comments 'idiotic,' " Star, April 3).

Rural residents the world over have complained of headache, vertigo, dizziness, sleeplessness, chest tightness and tinnitus from the negative impacts of turbines being sited too close to their homes. In contracts wind companies try to get nonparticipating neighbors to sign if they live within half a mile of any turbine, the companies freely admit that turbines can "cast shadows or flicker" onto the neighboring properties; "impact view or visual effects," and "cause or emit noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, and electromagnetic and frequency interference."

All wind turbines are closer than half a mile to neighbors. Residents will have the negative impacts whether or not they sign the contract. The contract is offered in order to pay them dollars a day to put up with the impacts. It signs away their right to sue.

Even though turbines may not cause cancer (as far as we know), they do cause physical problems to some of the population with a feeling that is akin to motion sickness. Even infrasound or "air turbulence and wake" made by the blades passing the tower is being studied by Prof. Christian-Friedrich Vahl of the Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at the University Medical Center Mainz in Germany. He and his research team have shown how this can hurt the muscles in the heart.

It is not well-known in urban areas, but industrial wind is being fought in rural areas of the Midwest and all around the globe. Wind turbines are being sited too close to homes. We have asked for setbacks of half a mile from property lines. The companies could negotiate waivers with supportive residents and landowners. This sort of setback would not be a problem if they had anywhere near the support they claim to have in these communities.

Janna Swanson, Clay County, Iowa

The writer, a farmer, is president of the Coalition for Rural Property Rights, a board member for National Wind Watch, and a member of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance.


Be less demanding of politicians, see the entire scope of the problems

The writer of the April 2 commentary "Five Democrats came to Iowa farm country with little to offer" had the premise that the "no one really had an answer about what to do to help farm country right now." These are complex problems that cannot be solved by an individual. The opinion piece expects an immediate solution to Iowa farmers' problems. Some Americans want to limit imports in order to protect jobs, while other Americans want free trade to export their products. Some Americans think health care is a right, and other Americans think it is a privilege only for those who can afford it. Some Americans want continuation of legal immigration, while other Americans want little or no immigration. We expect our candidates to push only the agenda that helps our group and crushes the other side. Voters are the fault for the gridlock that has made solving the nation's complex problems impossible.

Reed Nelson, Shoreview