Addiction is a disease, not cause for opprobrium.
Addiction doesn’t disqualify achievements
The writer of the Feb. 4 letter “Overdose overshadows actor’s achievements,” referring to the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, argues that it is wrong “when someone who dies from doing drugs is honored in the media.” That is off-base for two reasons:
1) A person’s addiction does not define who the person is and does not disqualify the person from recognition for life achievements. We don’t refuse to honor a great author because the author is obese or works from a wheelchair.
2) The writer makes the common (wrong) assumption that using drugs is a choice for the addict. There is no choice involved in addiction, and relapse is common. Addiction runs in families; it’s no one’s fault for being an addict. It is addicts’ responsibility to work a recovery program, to the best of their ability, but it is not their fault for being born who they are.
BOB SCHNELL, Chanhassen
The writer is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor.
Waste some, want some, and doing it with flare
While we are faced with a shortage of propane in Minnesota, oil drillers in North Dakota are flaring off a large amount of natural gas at wellheads. Propane is a component of natural gas. The amount of natural gas wasted in North Dakota could produce a lot of electricity and reduce the amount of coal we burn.
It is estimated that the amount of natural gas flared off in North Dakota will increase until 2020. The Keystone XL pipeline, if built, will allow the shipment of even more oil from the state. This would seem to translate into even more flaring, unless we develop the infrastructure to efficiently transport natural gas and propane to consumers.
We are told that, nationwide, we don’t have a shortage of propane; we have a shortage of infrastructure. This country needs Keystone XL, but let’s first (or concurrent with Keystone XL) find ways to use what we are currently wasting.
ANDY WESTERHAUS, Burnsville
Multiple deployments are cause for concern
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.