Don't leave art out of the equation

The Feb. 16 article, "Art is nice, but food, shelter, medicine better" brought to mind these lines:

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft,

And from thy slender store two loaves alone to thee are left,

Sell one, and with the dole

Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

This is attributed to the Gulistan of Moslih Eddin Saadi, a Mohammedan sheik and Persian poet who lived about 1184-1291.



After disaster relief, what then for Haiti?

I heard on MPR that even before the earthquake, some Haitian mothers felt they had to give away their children rather than let them exist in dire poverty. They could not afford to raise them, so, you might ask, why did they have them in the first place?

Given their situation, many would have preferred not to have more children, but without access to modern family planning or education to improve their lives, they were forced to take a chance that the children would have a better life elsewhere. If this is not a time to provide women with education and the ability to manage the size of their own families, I don't know when is.

Many vital resources throughout the world are declining -- including farmland, fresh water, ocean fish stocks, rain forests, fossil fuels and many minerals. But human numbers continue increasing by 200,000 per day. That's births minus deaths.

If as many as 300,000 people lost their lives in this horrific catastrophe -- and I do deeply hope the number is nowhere near this high -- that means that before the sun set the next day, more people inhabited the planet than the day the quake hit.

Under such dire circumstances, is it any wonder that millions are now in crisis, struggling for their very lives? Unless places such as Haiti dramatically reduce their total population to sustainable numbers -- by education and family planning, NOT abortion -- what are the odds that this will continue to occur throughout the world?


More gun laws, fewer freedoms

In a recent editorial "Gun Show Loopholes" (Jan. 25 Star Tribune), the point was made by Mary Louis Grow of Citizens for a Safer Minnesota that we would be a lot safer if we only had more laws, rules and restrictions in regulating gun shows.

A detailed explanation of the fallacy of that idea could take up several pages. The point I would like to make is that, as is the case with many of the editorials I read, someone wants to take away more of our freedom by enacting more laws.

These new laws run the gambit of knee-jerk reactions to every problem or accident imaginable. There are usually significant negative consequences that restrict more and more of our freedoms.

The threat from terrorists on our freedom and way of life is mentioned in the press and elsewhere constantly. The fact is, a bigger threat to our freedom isn't the terrorists on the other side of the planet, it's people and politicians who distort the facts to further their own agenda.

Many Americans have fought and died to protect our freedoms, only to have some narrow-sighted, self-righteous people constantly erode those freedoms away. If you appreciate those who have fought for our freedoms, past and present, please do what you can to fight back against those among us who seek to take those freedoms away.