Readers Write: (July 12): Minnesota Orchestra, gun liability, hiring ex-felons, taxes and competitiveness, Ramadan

  • Updated: July 11, 2013 - 6:12 PM

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The debate appears to be getting strained

It seems that the more is said on these pages about the Minnesota Orchestra situation, the farther from reality we stray. A July 11 letter writer’s suggestion that the orchestra reform itself as a cooperative is a good example, and I’m afraid his preference of Northrop Auditorium over Orchestra Hall is driven more by nostalgia than by informed listening.

He mentions the American Symphony Orchestra. That group was formed largely as a vehicle for legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski late in his career and was made up largely of New York freelance musicians. It was not intended as a full-time orchestra, and never was. The history of other cooperatives is similar.

As a former Minnesota Orchestra musician who played in both Northrop and Orchestra Hall, I can tell you that no musician who played in Northrop would want to go back there. When famed conductor George Szell was asked what would improve Northrop Auditorium, he is reported to have said “a few sticks of dynamite.”

Orchestra Hall is the home of the Minnesota Orchestra, and is considered by many to be one of the world’s great halls. Additionally, as much as musicians may dislike it, they need a board and management (hopefully sympathetic to the artistic needs of both the musicians and the public).

MIKE HIPPS, Eden Prairie

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For liability purposes, this product is different

In response to the July 11 writer who is frustrated by the “slippery slope” of gun manufacturers being held responsible for the “misuse” of their products, his argument seems so very disingenuous. The letter writer fails to mention the fact that while a car, a piece of deck wood and a mountain bicycle (or any product you can name) could be used as a weapon, that is not their primary use. The primary use of a car is to get from point A to point B. The primary use of wood is to build something. The primary use of a mountain bike is to provide recreation. Gun manufacturers know that the primary use of their product is to destroy something. When it destroys human life, gun manufacturers should in some measure be held responsible.

MARIANN BENTZ, Minneapolis

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Regarding guns and capital punishment:

• 50: The number of states that have adopted some form of concealed carry of guns.

• 27: The number of states that have adopted “Stand Your Ground” legislation.

• 18: The number of states that have no death penalty.

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