When you get behind the wheel, do you sense the gravity of your task?
Do you drive? Then lives are in your hands.
Last week, a recently retired Hennepin County sheriff’s deputy died from severe head injuries and broken bones while in a coma after an uninsured and reckless driver broadsided him as he was going to volunteer at a senior center. This is but another unnecessary Minnesota tragedy forever affecting family members and friends.
You might read this and make a clear-cut decision to drive as though “a life is in your hands with your hands at the wheel.” Being responsible and having emotional self-control are two elements of common sense.
If each of us held ourselves and other drivers to observe the laws at all times, families wouldn’t be devastated and mourn their loss forever. It is a conscious and deliberate decision.
The Rev. TIMOTHY HARRER, Long Lake
An opportunity to ease Minnesota’s estate tax
With the recent state budget surplus discussions, wouldn’t it be a good time to consider raising the level at which an individual’s estate is taxed — from the present $1 million to the level at which federal estate taxes are owed (around $5 million)? Very few states assess an estate tax at this low level, and I know that it results in many good people moving out of Minnesota once they retire. These are citizens who have done “everything right” throughout their lives, both financially and in many other ways. They (we) regularly saved money in their company’s 401(k) plans, invested in individual IRAs and always lived a bit “below their means.” But Minnesota almost encourages them to spend their retirement dollars (and expend their civic and volunteer efforts) elsewhere.
I think if someone in state government did a realistic cost-benefit analysis of raising the estate-tax level to be in line with the federal level, it would be clear that it should be done.
DAN HURLEY, Brooklyn Center
Kersten was right: It’s indoctrination
The three Feb. 28 letters selected for response to Katherine Kersten’s Feb. 27 commentary warning about the mislabeled “Safe and Supportive Schools Act” (“Antibullying bill ‘safe’? Check the hidden agenda”) had several common traits. All reflected intolerance, if not hate, toward those with other views; all followed the LGBT marketing script and none addressed the facts presented by Kersten. The legislation, in fact, is intended to use the schools for indoctrination of children.
ARNOLD RASMUSSEN, Burnsville
• • •
Kersten hit the metaphorical nail on the head yet again in her incisive analysis of the proposed legislation. Masking attempts to indoctrinate children as concern for their welfare is both dishonest and dishonorable, playing, as it does, on the sympathies of the many who rightly deplore the persecution and victimization of the young by their peers, or by anyone else, for that matter. Sadly, bullying will never be eliminated altogether, but well-ordered schools in which teachers are empowered to intervene and enjoy institutional and parental support will lessen its occurrence considerably. Orwellian speech codes and creating “protected classes” are definitely not the answer to this age-old problem.
BERNARD CARPENTER, Chanhassen
SEX OFFENDER PROGRAM
Editors willing to take the next logical step?
Regarding “Last chance on sex offender reforms” (Feb. 28): It seems very glib for the Star Tribune Editorial Board to point out that human beings, in Minnesota, are being confined in violation of their rights — without calling for their immediate release.
JOHN NORBLOM, Minneapolis
We accept it as reality. Maybe we shouldn’t.
Two paragraphs — fewer than 100 words. Is that what a young mother’s life is worth? I’m oversimplifying this, but I couldn’t help reacting this way to the Feb. 28 report about Kiela Knowles’ death. The all-too-familiar story included a convicted sex offender, a deceased 19-year-old mother and another motherless child.
Another short story reported on the status of the investigation into the killing of 20-year-old Anarae Schunk, whose body was thrown in a ditch.
I’m not suggesting that the media should give murders more press. I am commenting that murder seems to have become common and no longer shocking.
What’s a life worth? Is it worth more than a new stadium? More than a world-class orchestra? More important than banning e-cigarettes or promoting light rail? How much press, time and money go to these issues, compared with ending domestic violence and murder?
People are killed every day. We accept this as part of life, as long as it happens to someone else’s mother, brother, family or friend. Maybe it is time for us to re-evaluate our values.
ROBERT HEUERMANN, Hudson, Wis.
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.