Does St. Paul hope to mirror Minneapolis?


A Dec. 16 story ("Mpls. sees high-density future") discussed the role of high rises, condominiums and other projects on the horizon to boost population growth in downtown Minneapolis. This is great. Now, what about St. Paul's projected growth in terms of population and buildings, and the impact of light rail? Please look across the river and tell that story, too.

STEVEN SCHREIBER, Inver Grove Heights



Sweden is ahead of and behind the times


In her column on gender neutrality efforts in Sweden ("If you could rid the world of gender, would you?" Dec. 16), Katherine Kirsten revealed a nostalgic view of traditional gender roles that is touching, but that differs greatly from historical reality. I remember a traditional father so tired from his role as breadwinner that playing catch with his son at the end of the workday was out of the question. The mother, constrained by her traditional homemaking role, was also unable or unwilling to throw a ball to her son. I remember the boy throwing the ball against a stone wall to catch the unpredictable rebound, alone. Today, on the other hand, it's common for a mother to play catch with a son or daughter, and for a father to bake bread with a daughter or son. Gender differences are useful but should not become restraints. Perhaps, as Kersten maintains, Sweden has taken gender neutrality a bit too far.


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Kersten seems to fear that Sweden's gender-neutrality effort will land in the United States unless preventive action is taken. God forbid that boys plays with Barbie dolls, that men become nurturers or that women become more independent! My gosh, this could lead us right into a society with a female leader, with more men choosing to run child care centers, with girls excelling in science, and with more boys forming close, caring friendships. Thankfully, the Star Tribune has a columnist to inform us about this terrifying potential. Whew!




Let's be sensible and safe about gun use


The often-repeated slogan "guns don't kill people, people kill people" is sanctimonious nonsense. Guns were created and designs refined for one specific purpose: to kill. Not to maim, hurt, slow down or scare. To kill. We don't equip armies with swords anymore. Why? Because guns are a much more effective means of killing people. Why are high-powered, large-magazine weapons so popular? Because it's so much easier to kill many people when one doesn't have to worry about reloading. When you take a gun-safety class, what do they tell you? Don't pull a gun unless you are planning to pull the trigger. And if you shoot, shoot to kill. The Second Amendment is paraded around as an inalienable right to protect ourselves from tyranny. But other rights have limits. You can't yell "fire" in a theater. We need sensible gun laws now.


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State Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, plans to sponsor a bill that would allow teachers to be armed with loaded guns in order to protect our students. What if a distressed teacher discharges a gun and kills a student? Will the next step be to provide weapons and bullet-proof vests for our students? Fortunately, this lawmaker's voice is barely being heard over the roar of citizens who demand stricter gun control.


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In 2001, Richard Reid, also known as the shoe-bomber, was caught trying to light his explosives-laden shoe on an airline flight. As a result of his attempted terrorism, it was decided that all travelers must remove their shoes for inspections at U.S. airports. When we ponder the recent acts of gun terrorism, isn't it time to decide that ordinary citizens should give up for their right to possess automatic or assault weapons?


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I starting hunting pheasants and squirrels with my dad and grandfather at a young age. The hunting and firearm safety that I received was not from a classroom, but from these two responsible men who understood safety as well as right from wrong. One of the best pieces of knowledge that I received came during a pheasant hunt in which we heard repeated firing in the distance. Dad looked at me and said "One shot, got the bird. Two shots, probably got the bird. Three shots, no one got the bird." I learned that repeated shots had nothing to do with hunting. There's no reason that hunters need assault weapons to hunt. Nor do they need automatic rifles or 30-round magazines. People who need this "edge" are not hunters or sportsmen.


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Will we ever see an end to the carnage caused by guns in this country? Until now, no incident has been horrifying enough to empower us to stand up to the deranged people who continue to advance the sales and use of millions of guns with horrifying results. Please, stand up! Now is the time.


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The fob that unlocks my car doors as I approach can start the vehicle even if my keys are still in my pocket. My computer instantly reads a fingerprint as a password. Technology enables me to use my car or computer while preventing access by unauthorized people. Isn't it about time that we applied this kind of innovation to firearms? For example, trigger locks could be engineered to work only for the owner, or to not work within 300 feet of a school zone. Technology and legislation need to join hands to solve the problems of which Sandy Hook is only the latest example.