Did you know that hunters -- with NRA approval -- give sitting ducks more protection than humans? I'm a 61-year-old, lifelong duck hunter who's more than sick and tired of the NRA's "give 'em an inch and they'll take an inch" obstinacy. The magazine capacity of the standard duck-hunting shotgun is five or six, but no duck hunter ever has that many shells in a gun. NRA-sanctioned federal law requires that duck hunters must put in what is called a "plug" to drop the capacity of their guns to three shells. In my decades of hunting, I've never heard a single person whine about this restriction. So, Congress, I demand as much protection as a sitting duck.
TOM MENEELY, ARCO, MINN.
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As a practicing real-estate lawyer, I was particularly disappointed with the Star Tribune's unbalanced article "Contract for deed can be house of horror for buyers" (Jan. 6). A reader could reasonably equate contracts for deed with Ponzi schemes and con games. Although there have been some abuses, those of us who specialize in real-estate law know that contracts for deed have been used in thousands of mutually beneficial transactions. They've enabled many buyers who lack a sufficient downpayment or an adequate credit rating to enjoy the benefits of home ownership. Regarding reform, the best recommendation is for sellers and buyers to consult with competent lawyers, real-estate professionals or other trusted advisers before entering into important property transactions.
JOHN H. BRENNAN, WAYZATA
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I appreciated the editorial on the failure of the 112th Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act ("Heed the need for safety," Jan. 6). There are too many headlines about murder, rape, assault and other violence that demonstrates people's poor coping skills. By the time anger management is required, the patterns of violent behavior are established and it can be too late for change. Why can't parents, schools and our communities do a better job at helping our boys and young men act and communicate appropriately? Stress is a fact of life, and dealing with it in a healthy manner is a skill that has been ignored. Turning to alcohol, getting into fights, making threats, or shooting and killing someone is costly and harmful to our community. Let's come up with ideas on how to turn the tide, from lashing out in desperation to communicating with understanding.
SHARON E. CARLSON, ANDOVER
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As a wildlife watcher and conservationist, I am pleased to know the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is working to figure out why the moose population is dying ("GPS will help biologists address decline of moose," Jan. 5). But as a taxpayer who is among the 80 percent of Minnesotans who don't hunt, I'm concerned that the DNR is spending my hard-earned tax dollars to recover an animal that, despite its precipitous decline, is still hunted. Are the DNR and the governor focusing on recovering the moose simply for hunters to kill, just as they have the wolf?
CATHERINE ZIMMER, ST. PAUL
As a West Virginia expatriate now living in Minneapolis, I read with enthusiasm John Rash's column about "Buckwild," MTV's latest reality show ("MTV jumps from 'Jersey Shore' to West Virginia," Jan. 5). After reading the story, I was saddened not by the stereotypes acted out by the young but by the response and lack of leadership of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. If only he were half as upset over the destruction of his state's beautiful mountains as he was over "Buckwild." When politicians are more worried about public image rather than public good, why should the senator's response come as a surprise?
THE REV. G. TRAVIS NORVELL, MINNEAPOLIS
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I am writing to address the issue of the degradation of children's role models due to the current television programming. Recently, I was watching television with my younger brother, and I saw a commercial for a new NFL-based cartoon. This cartoon not only made NFL players out to be superheroes, but also encouraged children to stay inside and watch television rather than go outside and play. We are teaching our children to idolize sports stars who do nothing productive for society. Now, I don't have anything against the NFL or its players, but shouldn't our children want to be someone like Superman and make the world a better place? Do we really want them to aspire to throw a ball down a field? Is it not our job to teach our children how to be good people and good citizens?
SASHA WARBRITTON, EDEN PRAIRIE
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I agree with David Morris's commentary about the movie "Lincoln," regarding how "the struggle to gain full citizenship for minorities continues" ("Injustice did not end when credits rolled," Jan. 10). He cites Michelle Alexander's book "The New Jim Crow" as a must-read for people who care about what is occurring in our society. We need to start recognizing that the war on drugs as it's being enforced is really a war toward our citizens of color. He points out that African-Americans face prison on drug charges at a rate 20 to 57 times great than that of white men. But the majority of dealers and drug users are white. I hope the Star Tribune will publish more pieces like this one.
STEPHEN ZIFF, MINNETONKA
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.