The Aug. 1 letter suggesting that we likely only need 100 diplomats in Russia got me thinking about what the estimated 1,200 embassy and consulate employees there do. A quick Google search led me to a July 31 analysis in the Washington Post on this very subject. Among other things, I learned that a relatively small number of those individuals are actually diplomats and that likely only 300 of the total are Americans, with the rest locally hired. Among the employees are trade representatives from our departments of agriculture and commerce, staff to support the Space Station, and Defense Department employees focused on such matters as nuclear proliferation, as well as individuals handling visas and helping U.S. citizens while they are in Russia. While it makes sense to ask questions about what all these people do, it is foolish to make assumptions, without any information, about what the “right” number is. But the problem was compounded by the inaccurate and misleading use of the term “diplomats” in the Star Tribune headline. Now, more than ever, we need accurate journalism and citizens who don’t jump to conclusions based on nothing but their opinions.

Cyndy Crist, St. Paul

HOUSING

Density is the answer, if only there weren’t such an aversion

No one can deny there is a need for more affordable housing in Minnesota (“Housing needs high-level attention,” editorial, July 31). Predictably, people will look to tax dollars to fund a solution. While government does have a great deal of power to solve this problem, paying developers exorbitant fees to produce more poorly constructed “affordable housing” is not the most effective solution. The problem with housing, as with any commodity, is that demand is outstripping supply. This shortage is artificially created by zoning laws that prohibit dense housing to be constructed and by building codes that require acres of parking and prohibit small, naturally occurring affordable housing from being built. This is exacerbated by NIMBY neighbors convinced that dense housing spells the end of civilization. At a cost of $0.00, state and local governments could end the housing shortage by changing zoning laws to open up land to high-density development and adopt building codes that allow the construction of NOAH (naturally occurring affordable housing) units and require less parking. Neighbors might realize that the alternative to suburban sprawl is urban density and all the vibrancy and commerce that is created in dense urban areas.

Will Rolf, St. Paul

The writer is a real estate agent.

MINNEAPOLIS CITY GOVERNMENT

If mayoral candidate Dehn has the answers, I have the questions

Reading the Aug. 1 commentary by state Rep. Raymond Dehn, a candidate for Minneapolis mayor (“My approach to policing and public safety issues”), I have one concern. He states that the best deterrent to crime is providing people with affordable housing, healthy food, clean air and water, accessible education, and quality health care. Whatever happened to “get a job”?

And after he gives everything away, he wants to remove guns from the cops.

Am I the only one who thinks this is absurd?

Paul Grimes, Andover

POLICE SHOOTING

Shame on the letters editor for allowing victim to be blamed

The Star Tribune should be ashamed for printing the Aug. 1 letter that said Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s “tragic death was likely a mistake, an accident. She should not have gone to the scene of a disturbance she reported.” First and foremost, this is “blame the victim” mentality taken to the extreme. Further, the implication is that anyone in that neighborhood who was outdoors at the time the police squad rolled through the alley was open game.

Thomas Mooney, Minnetonka

MINING

With these Minnesota jobs comes great responsibility

With all the controversy over mining in northeastern Minnesota, it is apparent that many people who stand to lose their livelihoods in the canoeing, camping, hunting and fishing, and tourism businesses stand to lose a way of life for their lifetimes with a release of toxic runoff.

While we need jobs in mining, are the miners prepared to put some skin in the game? Sulfide mining has never been done safely anywhere before. Are they willing to back up their claims that it can be? Will they be willing to put up their pension money toward the cleanup until the problem is remediated? Only then should we take their claims seriously.

Lee Gilbert, Cologne

OPIOIDS

We hear lots about abuse, but what of those who need relief?

Magazines and newspapers, including this one, have printed thousands and thousands of words about the opioid “epidemic” over the past couple of years. I now wonder if there is a single person in the United States still unaware of the dangers of overindulging in this (and similar) drugs intended to suppress pain.

Unfortunately, there is a dark side to this awareness. I had a knee replaced on July 13 and knew immediately I was not being given enough painkiller. I turned my knee slightly wrong and screamed. I got caught in the covers at night and screamed and cried. My doctor’s assistant would not listen to me. This went on for about eight days, and then I was taken off painkillers.

I am almost 80. Is this really what you want to happen? Is this OK with you?

Jean Coram, St. Paul

• • •

Has anyone given consideration to the poor souls who use opioids correctly to try to control pain that can’t be dealt with any other way?

My brother is the victim of an auto accident and has been on Opana for many years after several attempts to reduce his pain through every possible manner. He has been on the same dosage for the past 10 years! It does not remove the pain but makes life tolerable. He would love to get off the opioid, but what will he use for adequate pain control?

Endo, the manufacturer of Opana ER, says shipments will end Sept. 1. Why isn’t this making more news? What are the legitimate users to do? My brother is not alone. There are thousands who are anxious over this decision to cut off their pain medication. They will suffer greatly without adequate pain relief. What’s the plan for these folks?

Sandra Messner, Hutchinson, Minn.

GENDER BEHAVIOR

A note on respecting women

Some believe that disrespect toward women occurs only when someone lays an unwanted hand on a woman’s body. However, it is the small remarks that occur each day that are often overlooked. I recently got into an Uber car, where the driver started discussing my body and how I must “take care of myself and work out.” The conversation continued, and I knew this was occurring because I am a woman. In situations where you are essentially “trapped,” it can be intimidating and uncomfortable. Women have to experience small moments of fear throughout the day due to situations such as these. I believe it is important for people to make sure they are speaking respectfully — you do not know how your words could affect others.

Ashley Anderson, Minneapolis