Under Dayton's plan, my business must go


My family runs a 25-year-old travel business that employs 56 people in Minnesota. We studied the economic impact of competing with travel agencies in other states that would not have to pay the sales tax proposed by Gov. Mark Dayton. We concluded that we have three options:

• Pass on the tax to customers and go out of business. (The tax is more than our profit margin.)

• Absorb the tax and lay off many workers and still go out of business.

• Move our headquarters out of state.

We are already making plans on how to move our headquarters out of state if the proposal passes. We are not alone. There are hundreds of businesses in Minnesota, employing thousands of people, that face the same options.

I don't believe that Dayton intended for his plan to have such dire consequences. I sincerely hope he reconsiders now that the impact is being made known.


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Double standards are rising all around


I am a practicing Mormon. Jokes about polygamy and Joseph Smith are old hat to me. My sense of humor includes laughing at myself and my religious beliefs, yet I cannot imagine a musical that mocks Islam or Judaism in the manner "The Book of Mormon" mocks my faith that would be embraced and celebrated the way it has been. The show's popularity does not mean that it is in good taste or good-natured. It seems to demonstrate that as far as religious bigotry in America is concerned, there's a double standard: Some groups are sacred cows, others are fair game.


• • •

So an off-duty policeman cannot dress as a Muslim woman ("St. Paul officer in hijab apologizes for photo," Feb. 6). Why, when I was in high school, was it OK for a fellow classmate to dress as a pope, and why, when I was in my 30s, was it OK for fellow partygoers to dress as nuns and priests? What is so special about a Muslim woman that she cannot be copied on Halloween? If a policewoman dresses as a prostitute for Halloween, can the prostitutes request an apology?


• • •

I was disappointed to see the production of "Doubt" as part of the Minnesota Opera's lineup. The media has left the impression that the sexual abuse of minors is a Catholic problem, and the production of "Doubt" perpetuates this falsehood. It also discredits the many good priests who are dedicated and hardworking and who would never dream of harming a child.

While I am deeply disappointed with the sexual-abuse cases that have come to light in the Catholic church, the problem is being investigated, exposed and dealt with on many levels. However, I question why the church is the only institution under the microscope? The Department of Education estimates that 6 to 10 percent of all students in public schools will be victims of sexual abuse before graduation. Would "Doubt" be in the season lineup if the story line were about a public schoolteacher? Maybe, but I "doubt" it.


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Of contradictions, emotions and data


I found it interesting that we can legislate and deny access to potentially lethal big cats ("Era of exotic 'pet' wildcats appears to be fading," Feb. 3), but we cannot seem to successfully legislate to deny access to lethal big guns.


• • •

Legislating with emotion leads to poor decisions. President Obama says that if we can do one thing to save but one life, we have an obligation to do it. But with that sentiment, there's a huge cost. Resources spent doing ineffective things take away from the opportunity to do productive things. Outlawing high-capacity magazines, for example, does not eliminate them or their threats when in the wrong hands.

The millions that are already out there don't simply evaporate. We might have learned that from the war on drugs. We have an obligation to reduce gun violence by doing the most effective things, focusing on saving the most lives. Better mental-health screening and care might help. Prohibitions on certain kinds of hardware won't even come close.


• • •

In 2011, England and Wales had a murder rate of 1.35 per 100,000. The same year, Minnesota -- with "shall issue" and lots of long guns, included many of the evil AR type -- had a murder rate of 1.38 per 100,000. Minneapolis, seen as a model for gun-control efforts, had a rate of more than 8 per 100,000.

The Brits have worked diligently to remove all threats to human life, even trying to remove pointy kitchen knives from the scene. But they still have violent murders. The gun is not the problem, as is shown by actual studies. It may be people. Guns do not cause violence.

Scholarly studies, based on facts, show that when people can defend themselves and their property, violence drops (

If you are going to shred the Bill of Rights, base it on truth, not on TV reporting by people who fear guns and know nothing about them.