Young man steps up, takes responsibility

In January, Reid Sagehorn tweeted “actually, yes” in response to a question whether he had “made out” with a young female teacher at his high school. Before long, Sagehorn found himself suspended from school and under consideration for felony charges by local police.

On Saturday, flanked by his mom and dad, he expressed regret for his words. He didn’t point fingers; he didn’t try to sidestep responsibility. He simply said he was sorry.

I don’t know that young man, but I feel proud of him anyhow. Good job.




The agony of defeat needn’t be stifled

In response to the two featured letters (“Shame on tearful silver medal winners; shame on newspaper,” Feb. 22) regarding the front-page photo of members of the U.S. women’s hockey team after their loss at the Olympics. What I saw was a photograph that captured the raw emotion of the players right after they played their hearts out. They were understandably disappointed to lose a gold-medal game that was theirs to win right up to the last few minutes.

Olympic athletes put years of dedication and sacrifice into their training, and devote so much time and energy to their respective sports — all of this at the expense of time with family, friends and careers. They represented our country well and deserve better.


• • •

If you’ve followed the long-standing rivalry between the U.S. and Canadian women’s hockey teams and watched the Olympic final, it was an extremely tough, heartbreaking loss. Sure, it’s just a game. But the women, still in uniform, were showing genuine disappointment moments after an intense, emotional game in which they played their hearts out and came within an inch of winning. Plastering a smile on their faces would have been dishonest — and impossible.

The postgame interviews I heard were honest and appealing, with several team members saying they were proud of their teammates and none exhibiting poor sportsmanship. That photo spoke volumes, and I lingered over it, appreciating it as an apt visual metaphor for a classic game.




It’s not about smoking or getting high

Regarding “Medical marijuana: Ask the right questions, and you won’t back it” (Readers Write, Feb. 22): I am writing as the parent of a daughter who has suffered from refractory epilepsy/seizures for more than 13 years. We have tried more than 45 drugs and combinations of drugs, and also dietary measures, to control her seizures, without success. As her parents, my wife and I are always looking to provide the best quality of life for her as possible. After trying the conventional methods, we are willing to try something else.

One of the “illusions” of medical marijuana is that the only way to benefit from its use is to smoke it. This is neither fair nor accurate. There are different components, otherwise known as cannabinoids, to marijuana or cannabis that are used for medicinal purposes. Of these components, the most prevalent are THC and CBD. THC is, in layman’s terms, what provides the “high.” The component CBD is not intoxicating and has anticonvulsant properties (among other things). A liquid formulation of highly purified cannabidiol (CBD) extract is used to control epilepsy and seizures.




Appointment system is nothing like tyranny

William Cooper’s Feb. 20 Short Takes counterpoint (“Selecting judges”), which analogized Judge Thomas McCarthy to Fidel Castro and Kim Jong Un, does not describe the Judge McCarthy I saw during my two-year case and six-week trial in his court. McCarthy treated all parties fairly, treated counsel and witnesses with respect, was fully informed about the issues and resolved them under the law.

Although Cooper argues that lawyers appoint judges, actually, the democratically elected governor appoints judges, based on recommendations from the Judicial Selection Commission. The commission’s recommendations are usually impressive candidates. After the first term, judges face elections.

It is also not true that the commission is composed entirely of lawyers. There are nine at-large members, and four are not practicing lawyers. Within each judicial district, there are four additional members, two of whom are non-lawyers. The lawyer members are of diverse background and practice, including both plaintiff and defense lawyers.

As a trial lawyer, I know that the Minnesota system has resulted in the appointment and re-election of good judges. The law allows Judge McCarthy to time his retirement so that his successor is either appointed by the governor or is elected. McCarthy believes the appointment system works (“The best way to pick a judge’s successor,” Feb. 18), and the evidence supports him.




As with all things, there’s a progression

The three stages of Minnesota’s health insurance exchange:

• MNsure.

• UNsure.

• YAsure.

GALE J. ANDERSON, Bloomington