I understand Rachael Joseph’s anger toward Tim Walz for his past support of the NRA (“The curious evolution of U.S. Rep. Tim Walz,” Feb. 28). But, if she wants effective gun legislation in Minnesota in the near future, she needs to put away her anger and her “call BS” comment and support Walz for governor. Why? Because it will take electing a Democratic governor and flipping at least 11 Minnesota House seats.
Walz is the most electable DFL governor candidate statewide. Regarding the Minnesota House, the Republicans control it now because they have successfully capitalized on the myth (that they promote) that there is a great divide between the metro area and greater Minnesota. Guns is one of the issues they use to promote this myth. Walz is the GOP’s greatest fear. He will successfully campaign for House DFL candidates statewide by discussing progressive values including gun control. With Walz and Peggy Flanagan as governor and lieutenant governor and Melissa Hortman as speaker of the House, Minnesota will pass effective and reasonable gun-control legislation.
Jerry Gale, Brooklyn Park
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I hope none of us who has ever undergone an honest change of heart has to experience Rachael Joseph’s fierce scrutiny.
My takeaway from her counterpoint is that either we hold the “right” opinion from birth or we are condemned never to arrive at the “right” opinion. For all the times that my friends, children, teachers and parents have made me see the error of my ways, I thank them and appreciate that they allowed me to change my mind without public shaming.
I’d rather have a repentant Tim Walz than one who clings to his support for excessive gun rights because he’s always thought that way.
Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis
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I’ve seen things through a different lens since July 23, 2016 — the day my sister Taylor, an innocent bystander, died from senseless gun violence. Even today, I confront painful memories that bubble up when a loved one is taken away. I see echoes of that pain on the faces and hear it in the voices of the courageous Marjory Stoneman Douglas students in Florida.
My family found support in one another. But some of us also sought outside help for our trauma. Not every family is so privileged. That’s why I’m sponsoring a bill, which is very near to my heart, to create a pilot program to study gun-violence trauma.
Years ago, tangible investments in similar studies were made to better understand and support veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress. This bill emulates those studies, to help survivors and victims’ families come to terms with their grief, understand triggers and build resiliency tools to cope with experiences brought on by gun violence. It works hand-in-hand with the bill named in honor of my sister, the Taylor Hayden Gun Violence Prevention Act. Taylor’s bill would support community organizations successfully reducing gun violence by creating a competitive grant program to advance their work.
We have a lot of work to do to improve gun safety. The time for excuses and inaction is long past. Passing these two bills would be positive first steps in this long process. If you agree, call your legislators and tell them to act this session.
State Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis
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Paul Shambroom’s Feb. 27 commentary about the Lakeville anti-gun vigil and my concurrent public safety lecture left out a few important facts (“A vigil and a pro-gun event, taken together”). Shambroom complains about the lack of interaction between attendees of the two events. But, in fact, I reached out to organizers of the vigil and offered to speak at the event. Everyone wants to increase public safety, even if we disagree on how to accomplish it. I had hoped to create a dialogue between the two groups.
Shambroom claims that I refused his booklet containing profiles of the Florida shooting victims. But he doesn’t mention that I informed him I had already read extensively about each of the victims. I suggested that he give his booklet to someone who didn’t yet know about the victims.
John R. Lott Jr., Swarthmore, Pa.
The writer is president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.
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Thank you, Dick’s Sporting Goods and CEO Edward Stack, for doing what is right for society vs. what is best for your bottom line — you are American heroes (“Defying the NRA, Dick’s takes a harder line against guns,” StarTribune.com, Feb. 28). Sales spike when talk of banning these assault rifles ratchets up, so for you to take this stance now is truly courageous. Are you paying attention, Mills Fleet Farm, Cabela’s and any other retailers that are tone-deaf due to the dollars stuffed in your ears?
David McCuskey, Long Lake
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A big thank-you to Delta, MetLife, United Airlines and many other companies that have ended partnerships with the NRA. But I am outraged by the words of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle from Georgia, who blackmailed Delta by threatening to exclude the airline from receiving a lucrative tax cut, a threat Republicans in the Georgia legislature followed up on (“Delta tax cut stripped from Georgia bill after NRA feud,” StarTribune.com, Feb. 28). I hope the good people of Georgia stand up to this bully and see it for what it really is — the NRA has its stranglehold on the Georgia GOP.
Nancy Nichols, St. Louis Park
Three finalists for chancellor, and, alas, the search must go on
The slate of finalists for chancellor of Minnesota State exposes just how damaged the system’s reputation remains after the failed Steven Rosenstone experiment (“Minn. State Colleges names three finalists for chancellor job,” Feb. 24). The three finalists seem even less qualified than those for last year’s failed search. The board of trustees had better keep interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra warmed up in the bullpen.
Neal Cohen is the poster child for the weakness of this candidate pool. How is a former aviation executive a finalist for chancellor of the nation’s fifth-largest higher-education system? His only academic experience is as president of an international cartel of for-profit schools.
As a physician and chief academic health officer, Dr. Ricardo Azziz seems a poor fit. Did the search committee notice that Minnesota State does not have a medical school? Azziz is also a finalist for the Idaho State University presidency.
Given that the board of trustees has been turning Minnesota State into a job-training consortium for the benefit of Minnesota businesses, Van Ton-Quinlivan is likely the search committee’s odds-on favorite. Her only academic administrative experience is as vice chancellor for workforce and economic development at a community-college system.
Minnesota State, despite a new name, remains a hot mess.
Monte Bute, Woodbury
The writer is a professor at Metropolitan State University, a Minnesota State institution.