We have heard many people say that if someone in the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., had a legally carried concealed weapon, there would have been little or no loss of life in that terrible and senseless attack.
But consider if there had been 50 people in the darkened theater with concealed firearms -- or 100, each firing at the person who fired last. The bloodshed would have increased exponentially as each shooter fired at others who were shooting.
The problem is not too few guns, but too many. And the time to talk about it is now -- until we stop losing thousands of innocent lives a year in the United States due to gun violence.
RENEE BERGERON, ST. PAUL
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The 18th Amendment, the one that established Prohibition, was repealed because it didn't work. The Second Amendment, the one that's interpreted to provide virtually unrestricted access to firearms, should also be repealed because it doesn't work.
I wonder if the main section of a replacement -- a 28th Amendment, modeled after past amendments -- could read something like this:
"After two years from the ratification of this article, the people will have the right to keep and bear arms only as part of well-regulated militia, national defense or governmental law enforcement.
The Congress of the United States may establish a licensing and registration process that does permit individuals to possess firearms for the purposes of collecting, hunting, target shooting, defense of self and others, or other legalized activity.
The Congress will establish reasonable penalties to enforce the limits established through such a process. If the Congress does not establish the process within a period of two years from the ratification of this article, only then may each state establish its own process, which will include reasonable penalties for non-compliance, and only for the purposes listed above."
For the sake of comparison, let's remember that we do not have a right to a driver's license, but we may apply for one. It's a privilege we earn.
JIM BARTOS, BROOKLYN PARK
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The juxtaposition of two leading sports stories -- the scandal at Penn State and the extension of the University of Minnesota basketball coach's contract -- is an interesting reflection on collegiate athletics and the worship of coaches. I have nothing personal against the coach. But in round numbers, the basketball coach is making three times what the university's president is earning. What else do you need to know?
AL SULLIVAN, NEW BRIGHTON
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I have seen several articles recently about the shortage of firefighters in Minneapolis. Let me be clear -- fire departments are a fundamental necessity that can be provided only by government. What is going on now is a fight between niceties and necessities.
Minneapolis has chosen to cut necessities in order to fund traditional liberal priorities such as the arts and sensitivity coordinators. Its citizens are getting just what they deserve, because they continue to put people in office who have no understanding of what government was designed to provide.
There may be a firefighter crisis, but it is manufactured by elected officials who have no priorities, only a great thirst for your tax dollars.
JAY HUYCK, MAPLE GROVE
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On the July 23 opinion pages, I twice noticed the notion of political correctness twisted into an antiprogressive slur. A letter writer predicted that political correctness will be "our own demise," while a commentary lamented the marginalization of "those brave enough to oppose the politically correct agendas."
I am sick to death of these allegations of Political Correctness Gone Mad. The treatment of minorities and disadvantaged groups has advanced so much in this country, in part because of the language we use; a cursory review of media in the late 19th and early 20th centuries shows racist and sexist stereotypes that would be unbelievably offensive if published today.
So please, don't say that political correctness limits your freedom of speech (it isn't the law). Don't say that it is an oppressive speech code (that's just blaming the victim and victimizing the perpetrator). There is nothing wrong with allowing minority groups a seat at the table, and in using language that makes people feel welcome.
MICHAEL CHERGOSKY, ST. PAUL