Friday, Dec. 14, marks the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Connecticut. Since that day, we have seen an ever-increasing rise in incidents of gun violence at schools and mass shootings in this nation. As we reflect this holiday season, let us honor all victims of gun violence by turning tragedy into transformation. There are many seemingly simple — yet incredibly powerful — things we can do today to prevent gun violence, including advocating for sensible gun-safety laws and access to programs in our schools and communities that help us identify the signs and signals before a shooting might happen and intervene to get help for at-risk individuals.
More and more people are uniting to bring the change we need. The phones in Congress are ringing off the hook with calls for “common-sense” gun reform, peaceful rallies are growing in cities across the country, and families and friends are gathering together in their own living rooms to talk about bringing violence-prevention programs to their schools. The movement is growing, and we must keep the momentum.
To keep this hope alive and bring the change we need, I am asking everyone to take three simple actions today. First, call your member of Congress and ask that he or she support gun- violence-prevention legislation to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Second, “Know the Signs” to prevent gun violence at sandyhookpromise.org. And third, “Make the Promise” at www.sandyhookpromise.org/promise and truly honor victims by turning tragedy into transformation.
Mary Cook, Andover
Americans do care. They decisively support a carbon tax and dividend.
Contrary to claims in the Dec. 12 commentary “The (political) science behind climate change,” the public does support effective solutions to the climate change crisis.
In March 2018, the Yale University Program on Climate Change Communication survey showed that 68 percent of Americans favored a revenue-neutral plan to “require fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax,” with only 29 percent opposed. That matches a 2014 poll from Stanford, the New York Times, and Resources for the Future that found that requiring companies to pay a greenhouse-gas tax and then giving “all this tax money … to all Americans equally” was favored by 67 percent to only 31 percent opposed.
While the specific poll language and methods differ, these reports show that the public approves of a policy that imposes a price on greenhouse-gas emissions and then returns all of the money to American households.
Fortunately, there is now a bill in Congress (the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act) that does just that. This bipartisan bill (HR 7173) will drive down carbon pollution and bring climate change under control while benefiting people and the economy. Just what the public wants.
Claudia Egelhoff, West St. Paul
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It’s not possible to ponder every hunk of data that floods by each day.
But here are a couple bits of information that deserve a little contemplation from recent Star Tribune articles.
• From a Dec. 12 article on EPA plans to roll back the Clean Water Act:
“Farm groups also worry that strict clean water regulations will limit their ability to use pesticides and fertilizer that could drain into creeks and swamps.”
• From a Dec. 11 article on the Trump team pushing fossil fuels at the climate summit in Poland:
President Donald Trump’s energy and climate adviser said, “We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice their economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability.”
Mull over those for a minute.
Greg Larson, Excelsior
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It amazes me that climate-change deniers think that the economy is not at all connected to the environment. Former U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, father of Earth Day, had said: “The economy is a wholly dependent subsidiary of the environment.” As we are seeing from the reports out of Poland where current climate-change talks are being held, most of the countries realize this truth, while the U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia reject the truth. If national governmental units cannot act responsibly, local ones (state and city) need to act independently to counter their outrageous disregard for the welfare of future generations and all other life-forms on the planet.
Anne Baynton, Roseville
No wonder — it’s a rare person who has the fortitude for this job
It is a unique person who seeks employment where every call means their life could be on the line, yet they are required to make the right decision in a few seconds (“Police call officer shortage a ‘crisis,’ ” front page, Dec. 13). The field of medicine has doctors making errors and patients dying, but doctors do not have their every move recorded then played back on the evening news, nor do they typically face firing or relocation. In Minneapolis, an officer who has committed an error often receives little support.
Most of us do not seek that kind of job. I have the utmost respect for law enforcement. Mistakes are made. Law enforcement officers are people just like me, yet their job often has no forgiveness. Call them what you want, but nothing feels more comforting than a call to 911.
Sharon McKernan, Bloomington
We can afford it. Math with me.
Dec. 21 is the deadline to fund the federal government or it will be “shut down.” Of course, a government as large as ours cannot truly shut down completely, and despite attempts to gin-up fear about a “shutdown,” essential services will continue and benefit checks will continue to be sent, because statutory safeguards were put into place decades ago to continue such services.
At issue is that President Donald Trump is asking for $5 billion in funding for “border security” to build a wall on our border with Mexico to help prevent illegal immigration. I lived in Los Angeles for 17 years and saw firsthand the negative effects of illegal immigration and how a sanctuary city operated to the detriment of legal taxpaying citizens.
Democratic leaders have said that a wall would be “immoral, ineffective and too expensive.” The purpose of this letter is to focus on the issue of the wall being “too expensive.”
For most people, $1 million seems like a ridiculous amount of money, so when you see a $5 billion price tag, that must be outrageous, right? For 2018, the federal government has a budget of approximately $4.1 trillion dollars. Here is the math on “too expensive” in a few intuitive steps: (1) $5 billion is 5 percent of $100 billion; (2) there are 10 $100 billions in $1 trillion, so $5 billion is 0.5 percent of $1 trillion; and (3) with a budget of $4.1 trillion, that means $5 billion is 0.0012 percent of the total budget. Putting this math into monetary terms to which all of us can relate, compared with $100, what is being opposed is 12 pennies, which is the monetary equivalent of 0.0012 percent of $100. Opposition to the president’s request based on a “too expensive” standard is outrageous and ridiculous.
Carter J. Erickson, Nevis, Minn.