Contemplating what moves a person to take up arms.
The Oct. 11 metro section featured an intriguing pairing: two articles about men taking up guns in self-defense. One in wolf country, and one in Somalia. Both of the men, though, fired their weapons amid controversy. The first killed a wolf without a permit, but did so to defend his dog. The other was one of many who traveled to Somalia to fight. What the piece about Somalia did not emphasize is that many people consider that fight to be just as clearly a matter of self-defense as the northern Minnesota man's instinctive shots.
In the last 35 years, Somalia has been invaded by foreign forces numerous times. In 1977, and again in 2006, Ethiopia invaded. Currently, the Kenyan army is making its way north through Somali territory. Much of the gunshots fired in Somalia today are between these foreign forces and Somalis defending their country. (The United States, Western values and Christianity are only ever mentioned in the nutty propaganda of fringe minutemen groups, and even they spend most of their time targeting Kenyan forces.)
But, much like the wolf hunt, the fight in Somalia is a controversial subject among Minnesotans. Many Somali-Minnesotans share the opinion that in order for Somalia to develop, peace comes first. Period. More important, many Somali-Minnesotans consider Minnesota to be home now, and they prioritize development here. Still, we would do well consider the emotions that pushed both these men into defending that which is beloved.
SARAH BRETT, MINNEAPOLIS
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.