The creator of the landing boats learned his trade in earlier, nefarious activities.
Reihan Salam’s June 1 commentary raised an interesting question: Did Prohibition create any benefit other than increasing awareness of alcohol abuse? Absolutely. The 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion is upon us. Let’s accept that Prohibition greatly helped the Allies win that battle — and therefore win the war. Stick with me.
A recent special on public television detailed the history of Higgins boats, the lightweight landing craft developed by entrepreneur Andrew Higgins. His boats allowed small groups of troops to quickly exit onto the beaches during the invasion. Although the soldiers on those boats were vulnerable, overall they were not as vulnerable as they would have been on larger, slower targets. That fact allowed them to eventually succeed on that fateful day, when otherwise they probably would not have.
Before the war, illegal rum-running during Prohibition had motivated Higgins. He played both ends of that trade. He built fast boats for the feds, then built faster boats for the rum-runners. That meant the feds needed even faster boats, so he accommodated them again. In the process, Higgins developed the boat-building skills that allowed him arguably to be the most important contributor of all to the defeat of the Nazis on D-Day.
History is a story, and a thought-provoking, entertaining one at that.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
GUNS IN PUBLIC
No place for weapons in the marketplace
There is absolutely no reason for anyone (outside of law enforcement) to enter a restaurant, bar, shopping mall or any other type of business bearing a loaded weapon (“Target in middle of gun squabble,” June 5). This is neither a war zone nor the Wild West. I, for one, will not shop at Target until it changes its policy on guns so that it is once again a family-friendly place.
Kay Kemper, Crystal
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The picture of a shopper at a Target store in Texas on the front page of the business section looked like any other war zone around the world. Why would any diaper shopper be concerned with a semi-automatic weapon slung over the shoulder of a stranger?
The NRA on its website last week posted that the open-carry laws in Texas were “downright weird” but came to its senses this week and apologized for the statement.
In the military, we never carried loaded weapons unless in a war zone or on the firing range, yet today we must lock and load as civilians while shopping or eating.
Don Kerr, Woodland
Hypocrisy is evident in attacks over release
For several years, conservatives have been blogging, tweeting and petitioning their demands that the president not leave Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan, but now that Bergdahl has been rescued, they are criticizing the president and viciously attacking not only the sergeant but his father.
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.