Let's stop kidding ourselves, start talking


I don't know. After at least 28 adults and children were murdered in Connecticut, do you think there will ever be a good time to talk about some kind of gun control in this country?


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After my second cousin was killed at Virginia Tech, I truly believed that change would come. My hope has been diminished greatly since 2007. Gun-rights advocates are unwilling to acknowledge that we have become a country of gun rights over every right. Guns win. They won in Virginia Tech and Columbine, and they won in Connecticut on Friday. When we can no longer send our children to school and believe they will come to no harm from gun violence, we have lost. We have lost our children and our future.

I am sad and angry that this is my country today. Having grown up in a family that hunted, I do understand reasons for possessing guns. If you want to protect your family, I have no issues. I would wish for the true hunters and those who carry for protection to please support legislative changes to decrease the level of gun violence in our country. Only the names and location of Friday's tragedy are different. The victims are still your fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers and children -- just not yours, yet ...


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The Second Amendment was written more than 200 years ago and was reasoned on the need to have militias in lieu of a standing army (by the time Thomas Jefferson ended his presidency, the army had been reduced to less than 5,000), and in response to the realities of living on the frontier (for instance, needing a gun both for hunting to put food on the table and for protection).

Handguns were not the prevalent weapon of the time. They were not very practical or useful. The majority of pistols, single-shot muzzle loaders, were in the hands of sailors, due to close-quarter combat aboard ships. The single-shot musket of the day was much preferred for its durability, accuracy and range.

Guns are tools. Handguns and high-capacity magazine weapons are designed for one purpose: killing people. The reality of America today is the vast majority of those people are children, women and our police -- not attackers or intruders. The price of freedom is responsibility. It is time we the people, through our Congress, act reasonably and responsibly and address this issue. To do nothing only amplifies this national tragedy.


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Political leaders (including the president) and the National Rifle Association will have to finally take seriously the unpopular steps needed to make progress against this ridiculous gun mentality. Start with making a handgun in anyone's possession illegal outside of their castle or home or residence. To transport a handgun in your vehicle, you would need a permit designating the reason, the time involved and where it is in the vehicle. A fee will also be charged for a background check.

Damn it, do something!


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It is vital to remember that now is not the time to be discussing anything resembling tighter gun-control legislation. It is far too early, and emotions are running too deeply, to discuss anything that would even begin to limit the number of guns available and the number of people who own them.

After all, if the killer wanted to do this evil deed, he could have just as easily used a club or kicked the youngsters to death. Are we going to limit the sale and ownership of clubs and feet?

No. To discuss this very volatile matter, we need to wait until we have a period of, say, a year and a half with no mass killings that come about as a result of gun sales and ownership. Then and only then will we have cooled off enough to be rational about this.

Meanwhile, we hope that nothing happens, or something like that.


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Blame news media, not pranksters, for tragedy


The tragedy of the nurse in England who took her life after innocently forwarding a call from Australian radio hosts pretending to be Queen Elizabeth isn't a reflection of the two hosts, but of the media who blew the hoax into a huge moment of public ridicule for the hapless victim.

It's time for news reporters to get back to honorable journalism. The only sensible reason to report this matter in the first place would be to reveal the vulnerability we share as victims of pranks. It was unconscionable for reporters and commentators to mock someone who was tricked under such circumstances.

Atonement is necessary, and possible only if the lesson is learned well enough that the media take a deep, authentic, redemptive look into behavior that has, regrettably, become professionally acceptable.


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A comparison shows why it's a problem


What if a state passed a "right to shop" law? Anyone could shop at a Costco or Sam's Club whether they paid the annual membership fees or not. That would be reasonable, right? After all, there is nothing more American than the freedom to shop. However, the discount clubs would argue that it is not fair for nonmembers to get a free ride and enjoy the benefits paid for my members. If anyone could shop at the discount clubs, the clubs' ability to secure benefits for their members would erode over time. That's the problem for unions with "right to work."


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I remember when both sides worked together for the greater good. I believe the last election in Minnesota shows that the public believed the GOP had slid too far right. I now ask the DFL Party not to move too far left. We have a fiscal problem; please work on this first and reach a bipartisan agreement if at all possible. After that the state can turn to our social issues in the same manner.

I believe that Michigan is a good example of what extremism can lead to. The state's Republican governor had said that "right to work" was too divisive an issue for his state, but then signed it into law. There were massive protests that led to scattered violence. I cannot condone such behavior, but labor history would tell you it could happen, and it did.