Readers Write: (July 4): Trucks on the roads, patriotism, U smoking ban, housing

  • Updated: July 3, 2014 - 5:12 PM

There are a lot of passenger vehicles, and many of them aren’t well-handled.

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A June 4 letter writer (“Nagging problem: Trucks at rush hour”) blamed semitrailer trucks for impeding her from getting to work on time but didn’t account for the 3 million licensed drivers in the metro or the truck driver shortage.

Not having semis on the road during rush hour would be impossible for freight companies and businesses. Delivering during off-peak hours requires extra staff for the businesses, driving up costs for the consumer.

According to federal Transportation Department statistics, 7 percent of auto fatalities in Minnesota involve a large truck, while 8.1 percent are auto/pedestrian, and 54.6 percent involved lack of restraints such as seat belts. Blaming the trucking industry for slow commutes or accidents that tie up the roadways is ridiculous. If the drivers of passenger vehicles were as regulated as the trucking industry is, the accident rate would drop significantly. As a truck driver, I see countless drivers texting, eating, arguing, changing clothes and otherwise driving inappropriately or cutting off other drivers to get somewhere one minute faster. I like to think that if we were all a little more considerate on the road, we would get to our destinations earlier and alive.

Chad Tucker, Osseo

PATRIOTISM

Too much or too little focus on the military?

Many thanks to Steve Berg for his thoughtful and well-written commentary “Support troops, sure, but celebrate all of America” (June 29). I, too, served in the military (probably about the same time as Berg), and I, too, readily acknowledge the value of our military and the dedication of our troops. At the same time, I am sensing an increasing propensity to shape and define loyalty, patriotism and citizenship solely or almost completely in military terms. The danger of this is that it often diminishes the relevance and importance of other aspects of our country and culture, for example, education, caregiving and critical thinking. So while the military deserves our salute, I join Berg in his suggestion that there are many others that should be honored as well.

David Kaiser, Apple Valley

• • •

Berg’s commentary summed up my feelings and probably most veterans of wars. We were not heroes. Don’t compare World War II to all of the political wars since. One was for our national and international survival.

Most, if not all, since then have been political wars initiated by hawks who avoided military service at all costs when they were eligible to serve. Expressing this opinion will usually get one labeled as unpatriotic and nonsupportive of our military men and women. In reality, they know — just as we did in Vietnam — the difference between fighting to defend the security of the United States and fighting to avoid losing a nonwinnable war that we should never have initiated in the first place.

Al Mattson, Plymouth

• • •

I appreciate Berg’s service to our country but disagree with his sentiments. First off, July 4 celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence, not our armed forces. But more significantly, the following excerpt from a poem by Charles M. Province is a far better response for him.

 

 

“It is the soldier, not the reporter

Who has given us the freedom of the press.

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