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UC Davis Magazine

Volume 29 · Number 4 · Summer 2012


Guns in America

Portrait photo

Garen Wintemute

(Karin Higgins/UC Davis)


I read about Garen Wintemute in "A Pound of Cure," [spring 2012]. What a marvelous person and a credit to the university. Thank you for focusing on the "gun" issue when there is a deafening national silence on the subject. Garen Wintemute is courageous to stand up to the gun bullies and I applaud the university for highlighting his work with a beautifully written article.

Catherine Lu, parent
Los Altos


The tone and language of Sasha Abramsky's article on Dr. Wintemute in the spring 2012 UC Davis Magazine ("A Pound of Cure") was extremely hostile to gun owners. It should have been labeled opinion or analysis and not treated as a straight news piece.

I found charged or vague language in many paragraphs with dubious assertions scattered throughout. The author used language specifically chosen to convey that gun ownership per se is a menace to our society. Problematic paragraphs: 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 14, 16, etc.

Reference was made to "the shadowy world of gun shows and gun dealing," which is a blatant conflation of legal, regulated activity with criminal activity ("dealing"). Legitimate sales are called sales or transfers. How can gun shows be shadowy when they are widely advertised in print, radio, TV, billboards and Internet?

The author used the popular (and wrong) term "assault weapons." By U.S. government definition, an assault weapon is capable of selective fire: fully automatic or semi-automatic. Fully automatic arms have been heavily regulated by law since 1934. Weapons that resemble military or other semi-automatic weapons are not technically the same as full-auto weapons.

Abramsky's article was an overly broad attack on the firearms industry, federally licensed dealers and owners. It only lightly discussed the criminal's role in the firearms business. UC Davis Magazine has revealed its strong anti-gun bias by publishing this article. If gun banners wish to be forthright about their goals, they should attempt to repeal the Second Amendment.

Lee Foullon, M.A. '88
Falls Church, Va.

Pepper spray

Enough drama

I am flabbergasted by Hilary Hodge's letter in the [spring 2012] UC Davis Magazine, asserting that police officers are uneducated.…I am a UC Davis graduate and have been in law enforcement for almost 15 years. I also have a Juris Doctor degree. My department has four officers with degrees from UC Davis. We also have a UC Berkeley alum and many CSU graduates. It is almost impossible to get into law enforcement without some combination of a college degree, military service, and/or extensive life experience — and those are the minimum requirements just to take the written test. The days of getting out of high school and being hired as a police officer are long gone. The average age range of a person starting law enforcement is 26–28. 

The pepper spraying of the students, while unfortunate, is far from "terrible." The Japanese tsunami was terrible. A field full of bodies put there by two serial killers, that is terrible. The students were ordered to disperse as required by law; they refused. They were sprayed with a chemical irritant with a temporary effect. Did you want the officers to talk it out, or perhaps you would have preferred batons or bean-bag rounds? Enough of the drama surrounding this incident.

Sanjay Ramrakha '93

Stop apologizing

I am embarrassed by the chancellor's never-ending apologies for the pepper-spraying of student demonstrators.…I don't want

UC Davis to become another Berkeley, churning out a bunch of spoiled, self-indulgent, entitlement-minded leftists. The charm and appeal of UC Davis has always been its political diversity, its connection to the real world and its lack of political correctness. Chancellor Katehi should consider this tradition and deep-six the political correctness.

Jennifer Marks, parent

When floppy disks were new school

Wow! [Aggies Remember, "The Dot-matrix Revolution," spring 2012] brought back memories for me. We thought computers were so great, because most of us started out our freshman years with typewriters. . . . My fifth year, I finally got a Brother word processor as a present from my parents, and I thought I was in techno-heaven! I could save my paper on a disk! No more changing that %$#@ ribbon! Never mind that it took me 20 minutes to print out one page. I remember having to call the secretary of the American Studies department, Judith, to tell her yes, I was going to turn in my senior thesis, but please give me another hour as I am waiting for it to print out!

Kim Darling Loisel '90
Castro Valley

Extrication lesson

"Tractor Time" [Aggies Remember, winter 2012] brought back some of my own fond memories of "Ag Practices 49." As an animal science major brought up in the suburbs, I decided that I should partake in as many classes as possible that offered hands-on skills. Having previously never driven anything larger than my 1976 VW Rabbit, getting behind the wheel of a John Deere 4040 (with rotating hydraulic plow) was a real thrill.

My proudest accomplishment during the class came one daynot long after a heavy rain, I was driving the bulldozer in my own section of the field. Our instructor wisely kept all of us beginning equipment drivers at far ends of the property from one another! I got stuck in the mud in a tight spot, in a corner next to a fence and building. Gently rocking the dozer back and forth, I must have made about a 50-point turn as I slowly crept out of the deep rut. I couldn't have been more proud of myself as I escaped and motored back to the shed. I was relieved that no one had seen me get into the predicament, but kind of disappointed that no one had witnessed my skill in extricating myself from it!

Amy (Fusso) Robertson '83, Cred. '84,

A double-decker with character

Photo: Truck carrying double-decker bus on freeway, under sign for I-5 South, Los Angeles

Thank you for your article ["End Notes," spring 2012] on RTL 1014, the double-decker bus that made its way back to London after serving the UC Davis community for so long. I worked for Unitrans when I was in college and was a conductor on RTL 1014. As weird as it may sound, each of the double-decker buses had quirks, mechanical challenges, whatever you want to call it, that gave each bus its own unique personality. RTL 1014 was by far my favorite and I am so happy to know that it is back home. Kudos to Geoff Straw for taking on such a challenge and succeeding!

Shannon Kearns '93
Solana Beach

Long live the Domes

[Re: "There's No Place Like Dome," spring 2012] I'm so happy to hear that [the Domes] have not been torn down and that volunteer efforts to save them from the wrecking ball have worked.

I lived in two of them, from 1975/6ish to 1978, when sweat huts were in vogue and John Belushi and Chevy Chase were the stars of Saturday Night Live. (Who would have known then that little over a decade later, I would work at the NBC network.) I think our total rental rate in 1976 was $100 per dome, fifty bucks per student, as two usually shared one dome.

UC Davis was a great school. The domes were a wonderful place to live (as was the UC Dairy, where I also lived as a lab assistant for one summer). I feel so lucky to have had both of those experiences.

Wynne Benti '78



An article in the spring 2012 issue on a $10 million gift for a new art museum contained the previous name of Maria Manetti Shrem and did not reflect her recent marriage to vintner Jan Shrem.

A class note gave an incorrect graduation year for Sean Stiny '06.