Help is available if they should need it


Our troops are coming home! Let's hope they can find jobs in this perilous economy. The evidence suggests that many will return with emotional problems, some diagnosed but many not.

An example may be the recent story of Alan Sylte, who, according to court documents, shot a Lake City, Minn., police officer following an altercation with a woman ("Shooter was Iraq vet facing discharge," Dec. 21).

There have already been many examples of psychological stress in Minnesota, and there will be more, as the loyal and capable young men and women we've paid to defend (and kill for) our country come home to a lifestyle far different from what they've become accustomed to.

Some will adjust quickly; for others, the memories will haunt them to their graves, as has happened with Vietnam, Korea and World War II vets.

Can anything be done to ease the nightmares, the anxiety, the sense of futility which results from spending years of your life "on edge," not knowing whether you shall be alive the next day?

The Veterans Administration appears to be doing the best it can, but it will soon be overwhelmed by numbers -- there is always money to build the machines, train the soldiers and fight the war, but money seems always lacking to care properly for the physically and emotionally wounded as they return from battle.

The problem is made more difficult by the reluctance of our warriors to seek help for their emotional issues, lest they be considered weak by their comrades and superior officers.

Men and women of the military, it is possible to resume a normal civilian life, if you are willing to risk, take courage in hand and seek quality help.

You do not need to live the rest of your life as though you were still in battle. Check your VA office; call a therapist. There is help available. You owe it to your family and loved ones.


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Nature in its raw form is no picnic, either


It is amazing to me that so many uninformed well-meaning people want to protect all of the wildlife on the planet. Even a short course in ecology would help these people see that nature does a much better job of taking care of its own.

The controversy surrounding a Goodhue County wind farm is a classic example ("Wind farm tensions flare over eagle study," Dec. 17).

Yes, there is always a chance that a bird such as an eagle will be hit by a turbine blade, but the notion that stopping the project will somehow further protect the bald eagle from extinction is ludicrous.

In the 1960s, eagles were near extinction from another man-made product that no one was protesting, DDT. It took a well-researched and beautifully written book by Rachel Carson to draw attention to the connection between DDT and predatory birds' poor hatching success.

Today, bald eagles are thriving and in many areas are actually too numerous, because in our efforts to bring them back from the brink, we humans have overprotected them.

I would ask the protesters who are dragging animal carcasses to the Goodhue site in the hope of attracting eagles to come with me to northern Wisconsin and witness an adult bald eagle attacking, drowning, then eating an adult loon on the shore of a lake.

Or, if that's not evidence enough, we'll visit the site of a downed tree containing a years-old eagle's nest littered with the collars of small dogs and cats.


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In letter, 'Mark Trail' was misunderstood


I was puzzled by the Dec. 17 letter writer who questioned "continued inaccuracies in the portrayal of wildlife" in the comic strip "Mark Trail." The strip has never been as simple as this literal interpretation.

Each day readers are commissioned to reflect on its multidimensional meaning. "Mark Trail" is America's story -- one of intense philosophical searching (Lost Forest), one of temptation and lust (Kelly Welly), and one of purity and ultimate redemption (Trail's companions Cherry, Doc, Rusty and, most important, his dog and best friend, Andy).

Were the wolves in the strip referred to by the letter writer wrongly portrayed as hungry, vicious killers? A thousand times no! Are angry wolves a metaphor for the conflict and strife that resides in all of us?

Perhaps they are to be seen as Mother Nature beating the tar out of a domesticated bear, who attempts to exploit her womb? Perhaps the meaning is Old Testament: Paradise Valley in jeopardy from the lecherous Eve-figure Kelly Welly's quest for fame.

These are struggles we all must face. The writer belittles "Mark Trail" with his narrow analysis. I say go back to the strip and look again. Find the wilderness that you have misplaced.


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Really? The letter writer is getting tired of "Mark Trail" due to its continued inaccuracies in the portrayal of wildlife?

Perhaps the writer doesn't fully understand that a comic strip, by definition, is a cartoon telling a humorous or adventurous story. If the writer doesn't enjoy a certain comic strip, one might suggest reading only the ones that provide personal amusement.

Looking at a recent comics page, there were four talking dogs, a talking spider, a talking pig, talking birds and two talking cats, not to mention a newborn with a mustache and glasses.