Readers Write: Gun violence, the border crisis, affordable housing | #schoolshooting


In reference to “We are not safe in public” (Readers Write, March 24), the writer focuses on the safety of citizens where they congregate and would have metal detectors installed at entrances. What about parking lots? One Boulder shooting victim was found dead in their car outside the grocery store. What about shooters who have access to overpasses and interstates? What about playgrounds and parks? What about gas stations where people have been shot while getting gas? Maybe we should all be issued tanks to drive to the store and body armor for entering buildings. Some suggest we should all carry guns. Picture the mom with a toddler in the grocery cart. Keep that gun loaded and handy, Mom! And if everyone has a gun drawn, good luck to the police and everyone else with a gun figuring out who the shooter is!

Or, there is another option. How about starting with the obvious and banning assault weapons and tightening background checks? It’s unconscionable this insanity is allowed to continue.

Martha Wade, Bloomington
• • •

Once again, our “civilized” society has put the rights of a single individual ahead of its obligation to protect its citizens. Last week, the National Rifle Association won its lawsuit to strike down a Boulder weapons ban. Whew. Dodged a bullet there. Or did we?

Dave Wegner, Woodbury
• • •

Gun enthusiasts claim that it is not the gun that kills: It is people that kill. I agree. People kill because of rage, jealousy, bad judgment, depression, sociopathic behavior, immaturity, revenge, fright, stupidity, greed, and on and on.

The gun, on the other hand, is subject to none of the above. The gun only does what it is directed to do. The gun is perfect and predictable. People are imperfect and unpredictable.

As if to prove our fallibility, we allow this perfect weapon in our imperfect human hands and then, as we count the deaths, we argue over whether or not it is a good thing to do.

James Tohal, LeSueur, Minn.
• • •

The Boulder shooter was bullied in high school, so I need to say this.

I have not forgotten. I still live with the trauma that was inflicted from those years and earlier years. I was diagnosed with Asperger’s. I never responded to the taunts because of the backlash directed against me from the student and administration level. After an entire school year of near daily bullying, I would snap near the end of term, and I spent as many times at the end of the year suspended as I did in class. People would say I snapped then, but this is not true, I reached the end of tolerance for taking it, and moreover the effects of bullying is like boiling water in a covered pot — the pressure builds. This shooter was bullied in high school and has been described as “snapping” without provocation, but that negates what he and other bullying victims suffer when they are still in that same environment.

The shooter was wrong to take out his suffering on the people of Boulder, and my heart is pained at the losses. I still — over 20 years after high school — remember my bullies, and I have not forgiven them. Being bullied made me nervous with crowds, and it made me look for exits, places where I can limit anyone from coming at me and keep a wall to my back.

Being bullied broke my humanity. The shooter was wrong, but someone broke his humanity long before he took up an assault rifle.

Isaac Anderson, Cass Lake, Minn.
BORDER CRISIS

We are morally compelled to care

As we ponder what to do about the flood of children at our border, there is no denying that these are children and we simply must care for them. How we do that is a work in progress. To put their plight in perspective and answer the complaints of “letting all these people in,” I recommend a book by Dave Eggers titled “What is the What,” a story of one of the “lost boys” of Sudan. This writing describes a long march from Sudan to Kenya by thousands (as many as 20,000) of children sent off to escape the bloodshed in their country. This is an amazing tale of suffering and determination to escape to the promise of relief across the border.

The parallel is striking. We must work to change the conditions that drive the child migration, but meanwhile, we are compelled to receive these children and protect them.

Harald Eriksen, Brooklyn Park
• • •

James M. Hamilton worries about a Central American woman he knows who may try entering the U.S. again via our southern border (“Only change south of the border could slow tide,” Opinion Exchange, March 24).

Hamilton cites CIA statistics on poverty and murder rates, attributing both to deficient education of the citizens of this hellhole. If only the unruly rabble of Central America would get educated, they’d learn where to find the magic bootstraps to yank themselves out of abject chaos.

Curiously, Hamilton avoids naming the Central American country, but gives adequate clues — “a broken nation presided over by a reported narco-president, a nation of more than 9 million people in an area slightly larger than Tennessee” — for a person to deduce he’s talking about Honduras.

Perhaps he’s coy about naming the country because the proximate cause of Honduras’ chaos is the U.S.-approved coup removing democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya from office in 2009 — a coup that also dared not speak its own name, because calling it thus would have legally required the U.S. to terminate all foreign aid. So, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t want to utter the word. Wouldn’t want to annoy the oligarchs.

Hamilton claims that “nothing else will end the flow” of refugees except change south of the border.

What’s actually required is change north of the border. Eliminate the regime-change thugs in Washington, D.C., and we’ll be halfway there.

William Beyer, St. Louis Park
AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Cheaper, plus no amenities!

As a longtime resident of Minneapolis, I’m interested in proposals for “affordable” housing. The March 23 article about a planned condo development near the Guthrie Theater caught my attention, particularly the drawings of the development as originally planned and as now envisioned to be affordable to more people (“Condos more can afford”).

The differences were striking. Apparently people who can afford less than $1 million for a condo don’t need light, air or green space, and certainly not interesting architectural detail, balconies or parking. Indeed the building looks more like an office building (perhaps for government) built anywhere, not anyone’s home. Like most other multiunit buildings slapped up in Minneapolis in recent years, this one would edge right up to the sidewalk and apparently have no boulevard. Snow clearance doesn’t seem to be a consideration for such buildings — even here in Minnesota.

Only the “affordable” building’s lower height is a positive feature between the two concepts. Perhaps that’s intended to protect the views of buildings for the more affluent?

Marita Karlisch, Minneapolis

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