The 'king of the road' is no role model
Let me start by saying that I have worked with Shaun Murphy and greatly admire him, but that his attitude toward wearing a bicycle helmet is inappropriate for his job as the Minneapolis bicycle and pedestrian coordinator ("King of the road," Aug. 7).
I can just imagine kids pointing out to their parents that the city's bike chief doesn't wear a helmet. My comment to riders who don't wear a helmet is: "Don't you think your brains are worth a $20 investment?"
Many people (including me) have had a serious bike accident (through no fault of their own) and were saved from more permanent harm by their helmet. The city should make wearing a helmet a condition of Murphy's continued employment. I would also note that the coordinator would be refused participation in any organized bike ride, all of which now require helmet use.
STATE REP. PHYLLIS KAHN, DFL-Minneapolis
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I loved the article about Murphy, but I did not like the fact he doesn't wear a helmet. He says that he "doesn't want the activity to appear dangerous or scary" and wants to show that biking is "something that a normal person can do."
Then, I ask, why do you need a coordinator? I'm a firefighter who has responded to many emergency calls involving motorists, bicycles, skateboarders and pedestrians. Walking is relatively safe at any speed, but increasing your speed on a bicycle is not safe without a helmet.
Once cyclists go over the handle bars, as I have once or twice, they may reconsider this issue. I have nothing against the coordinator position, just against Murphy's failure to provide support for what I consider a very basic and essential piece of equipment.
CARLA MCCLELLAN, Minneapolis
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Reasonable guns laws needed to curb violence
This fact, from Wikipedia, researched in about 30 seconds: "Protecting the religious and political rights of all people and preventing discrimination is an integral part of the Sikh faith." It's too bad gunman Wade Page didn't take less than one minute to educate himself about the objects of his hatred. In the age of the Internet, ignorance is a choice.
BOB WORRALL, ROSEVILLE
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The Second Amendment guarantees the right to own and bear arms, and I am not against hunters, sportsmen and people who want self-protection from exercising those rights. But government has a right and a duty to protect innocent people from being slaughtered by those who, by any reasonable criteria, should not be able to acquire weapons that can only be used to kill people. It is time for politicians to stand up against this slaughter of innocent Americans and pass reasonable gun control laws that will not infringe upon our Second Amendment rights.
ROBERT SCROGGINS, EDINA
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Debating the proposals and the terms used
David Bellert -- "How to stop invasive species (you're not gonna like it)," Aug. 7 -- wants to ban all private boats from all lakes to stop the spread of aquatic-invasive species. Shall we then ban all ducks, geese and raccoons, too? Their feet are loaded with zebra mussel larvae. For all we know, they might be the primary reason for the spread.
JERRY LARSON, WAYZATA
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Is the Star Tribune representing both sides in the so-called invasive species debate? Using the term "invasive" to describe an organism that flourishes in an area to the best of its ability is prejudicial. "Non-native" is more appropriate. "Invasive" smacks of fear-mongering by those with a vested interest.
The DNR is motivated by increased staff, budgets and regulation. Lake associations are motivated by decreased access to lakes by the public. Both the U.S. and Minnesota constitutions forbid warrantless searches.
Not knowing what will occur in the future is not justification for violations by the state against the people. Much can be learned from our neighbors in Wisconsin who have been dealing with non-natives for the better part of two decades.
The Star Tribune should conduct a ride to French Park on Medicine Lake or the Wayzata boat launch on Lake Minnetonka. These are places where trailering and launching a boat is enough to warrant an unconstitutional search.
DANIEL GUSTAFSON, PLYMOUTH
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Focus on achievements -- not on her hair
This is so irrelevant ("Why we should care about Gabby Douglas' hair," Aug. 7). Quit looking for an "issue" and watch the girl fly. She's amazing.
JULIE TORGERSON, EAGAN
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Folks, why can't Gabby enjoy her gold medals without your judgmental comments? She earned them by her hard work and dedication. That should be enough.
MATHEW MURPHY, St. Paul
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Some people never miss an opportunity to misunderstand (Readers Write, Aug. 7). The Star Tribune headline "'Average' gymnast now pure gold," (Aug. 3), far from diminishing Gabrielle Douglas's achievement, leads in to a story about talent, courage, and determination.
To wit: A talented, 14-year-old who knew that her raw talent needed honing had the courage to move to Iowa and live away from family in order to train with the coach she knew she needed. She worked with incredible determination to turn herself into an Olympic champion in two short years.
What a remarkable story! What a compliment to the champion and her most understanding family!
ELAINE FRANKOWSKI, MINNEAPOLIS