I am a member of the NRA, and I support the right of citizens to defend themselves. I have also been a police officer for 23 years, and I have discussed the proposed Castle Doctrine law with dozens of working cops. I believe that it creates a loophole defense for murder.
When I was 10, I lived in south Minneapolis. Across the alley lived Mr. Cunningham, who had a wonderful apple tree in his back yard. More than once, I snuck in and stole an apple. Mr. Cunningham was a nice and peaceful man, but he certainly didn't like having his apples stolen. I have little sympathy for thieves, even 10-year-old apple thieves, but if he had shot and killed me, it would have been cold-blooded murder.
Here's my problem with the Castle Doctrine bill. I entered Mr. Cunningham's property by "stealth" to steal an apple. Article 3, subdivision 4 of the bill states that if a person enters property illegally by stealth, the property owner can "presuppose" that there exists an imminent threat of harm or death and employ deadly force. Subdivision 5 states that such a person is "immune from any criminal prosecution for that act."
If the Castle Doctrine becomes law, I don't expect apple thieves to be shot by thousands of responsible gun owners across our state, but I do expect that occasionally a crazy, violent criminal will use this loophole as a defense for murder.
Every three months I receive my NRA magazine in the mail, and I dutifully read the section about ordinary citizens who defend themselves with firearms. I appreciate that my NRA publishes these examples. As a cop, I always read them with our current law in mind. I have never read such an example that would not be allowed under our current law.
DAVE KOLB; POLICE CHIEF, CHAMPLIN
The writer is cochair of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Legislative Committee.
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It is a shame that the transportation mode along the Hiawatha Corridor is a train instead of a bus.
Because a cable broke on the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge under which the Hiawatha Line passes ("Bridge's broken cables were recently inspected," Feb. 21), passengers must exit the train at one end of the detour, get onto a bus, travel around the detour, exit the bus and get back onto a train to complete their trip.
Had this been a bus route, they could have stayed on the bus, since it could just drive around the detour.
That is one of the big problems with trains: Once the tracks go down, the route can never vary.
MIKE MCLEAN, Richfield
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The solution to all that political money being collected and spent seems fairly simple. By far the greatest part of it is spent on TV advertising, which we all say we hate. Not too many decades ago, we somehow made it illegal to advertise tobacco on our airwaves. (I don't include cable companies in this, which are subject to their own sticky rules.)
Our airwaves are still ours; we can issue or withhold licenses and simply say that there will be no political advertising on free TV. That stops the use of, and therefore the need for, great big war chests fed by rich persons.
WILLIAM L. DOWNING, FALCON HEIGHTS
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I am curious to know how many viewers, bombarded with political commercials on TV, are aware that station managers can control the ads that they accept to show the public? They can refuse to accept erroneous facts, misguided and questionable opinions, innuendo and outright diatribes. A quick trip to factcheck.org or flackcheck.org., both products of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, will tell them if ads are suitable.
Obviously, station managers see enormous revenue in running the ads. A letter, e-mail or call will not only make them aware of their "rights" but could help voters make more intelligent decisions if they were presented with ads that were accurate and reflected the real views of the candidates.
C.E. KAGAN, MINNEAPOLIS
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There's only one problem with the headline "For unhappy consumers, social media are a mighty sword" (Feb. 20): To properly use a sword as a weapon, you actually need to have the courage to stand face to face with the person you're going to attack with it.
Now, apparently, if I'm in a messy restaurant, I shouldn't complain in person, like a man, to the manager on duty. It's better for me to skulk off with my smart phone and whine to the world about my horrible experience. Not only will I get rewarded for my wimpishness with free coupons or whatever, I won't even have to send out a follow-up message about how well I was compensated for being a tattletale. Heck, I can even make up bad stuff if I want!
ROB WALLACE, BLOOMINGTON
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Once again the heavy hand of our archbishop has fallen on the faithful, not only on the living but on the dead. The latest pronouncement regarding the beautiful, newly inaugurated custom of burying our dead in the churchyard as Catholics in Europe have done for centuries is currently being questioned ("Cremation burials at parish stymied," Feb. 21).
We now have one more group of Catholic laypersons whose spiritual sensibilities and personal conscience decisions are being disregarded.
The list has grown from those whose sexual orientation is not deemed "correct," to the parents who accept and love them, to the people in the pews who are forbidden to discuss on church property pressing questions about changes in the structure of the priesthood, to those who resent the use of their donations for the promotion of a constitutional amendment they do not support, and now to family members of deceased parishioners who wish to be buried next to their loved ones.
Enough is enough!
MARY AND PETER RITTEN, Minneapolis