Kit Stolz’s report on drought (“Year of the Drought,” 4/12/07) is a total offense to those of us in the climate business. The best science compared to some character looking at acorns on his oak tree? Give me a break.

Water shortages are in our future, no doubt. A series of thoughtful essays on the problem would help educate people about the coming train wreck and set the stage for concrete actions.

Dr. Tim Barnett

La Jolla

Cool your diet

Yesterday, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provided a more detailed assessment of the affects of global warming on North America. The 67-page report predicts devastating droughts and hurricanes and extensive flooding of coastal areas. The report predicts erratic weather fluctuations that are likely to increase human and animal deaths, due to heat, storms, pollution and infectious diseases.

A report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization last November blamed animal agriculture for 18 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. (This is more than cars.) Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. Also, damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from the digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

The annual observance of Earth Day provides a great opportunity to start saving our planet by dropping animal products from your diet. More details are available at www.coolyourdiet.org.

Vince Helferich

Ventura

Antidepressants and Virginia Tech

The focus on gun control in the media is not the right target. Virginia Tech’s gunman Cho Seung-Hui was taking antidepressants that the FDA say can cause suicidal behavior, mania, psychosis, hallucinations hostility and “homicidal ideation.” What needs to be investigated is the link between school shootings and student’s being incorrectly labeled and made psychotic by these mind-altering drugs. In eight recent school shootings, psychiatric drugs were the common factor.

On September 28, 2006, in Bailey, Col., Duane Morrison, 53, entered Platte Canyon High School and shot and killed one girl, and sexually assaulted six others. Antidepressants were found in his vehicle.

On March 21, 2005 in Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minn., 16-year-old Native American Jeff Weise was under the influence of the antidepressant Prozac when he shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before committing suicide.

On April 10, 2001, in Wahluke, Wash., 16-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school, and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage while on a high dose of the antidepressant Effexor.

On March 22, 2001, in El Cajon, Calif., 18-year-old Jason Hoffman was on two antidepressants, Effexor and Celexa, when he opened fire at his high school, wounding five.

On March 7, 2000 in Williamsport, Penn., 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was on the antidepressant Prozac when she blasted away at fellow students in the town, wounding one.

On May 20, 1999 in Conyers, Ga., 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with a mix of antidepressants when he opened fire on and wounded 6 of his classmates.

On April 20, 1999 in Columbine, Colo., 18-year-old Eric Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox when he and his partner Dylan Klebold killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 23 others before taking their own lives in what was considered the bloodiest school massacre until Virginia Tech. The coroner confirmed that the antidepressant was in his system through toxicology reports while Dylan Klebold’s autopsy was never made public.

On April 16, 1999 in Notus, Id., 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school narrowly missing students. He was taking a mix of antidepressants.

On May 21, 1998 in Springfield, Ore., 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his own parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 22. Kinkel had been on Prozac.

In 1999 after the Columbine massacre I was made aware of the link between psychiatric drug use and homicidal tendencies and I have continued to observe this link with subsequent school shootings over the last eight years. When this most recent massacre occurred, I found myself not wondering if he was on psychiatric drugs, but what psychiatric drug or drugs was he on.

Anne McCarthy

Ventura

CAPE crusader

I am looking forward to a new Charter School in the Pleasant Valley School District. I am looking forward to parents taking responsibility for the education of their children. I am looking forward to working with parents who know the importance of involvement and want to make a difference.

It seems to me as if everything our school board is doing is what they believe will lead The Pleasant Valley School District towards unification. This is not the appropriate platform to discuss the pros and cons about unification. But if our school board cannot unify the majority of the parents of in a Kindergarten through 8th grade program, than what hope do we have to unify a school district?

Pleasant Valley School District School Board, please listen to the parents and approve CAPE, the new Charter School. Let’s get on with what is really important: the education of our children.

Bob Taylor

Camarillo