State Sen. Carrie Ruud, featured in “Guns a ‘way of life’ in Minn.” (March 20), is right. She had felt threatened by someone following her as she was in-line skating and had every right to carry a handgun to defend herself. Anyone has this right to defend themselves or their families, or even a stranger, in a perilous situation.

However, nowhere in the piece was there a mention of assault weapons. No civilian should have the right to own a weapon of war that is meant to kill a large number of the enemy in seconds. Why can’t we all agree on that?

Here’s one reason: The NRA instills fear and paranoia in all susceptible individuals. It is all or nothing. They see any incursion into gun ownership as an omen that all guns will eventually be confiscated. This is their credo of the last few decades, and it is an extreme view they are unwilling to moderate.

Our daughter felt threatened in a circumstance similar to Ruud’s. She changed the route of her run, but we would have been inclined to support her if she had chosen to arm herself instead.

This issue is not about self-defense. It is about assault weapons and better background checks. We should all be willing to get behind these methods of ensuring against the horrible damage that assault weapons have caused in our society, not only from school massacres but also from the fear they engender among our citizens.

Ernie and Carol Larsen, Plymouth

• • •

Ruud, R-Breezy Point, says that law-abiding citizens aren’t the problem. It would be fascinating to learn where these law-abiding citizens are. The kid who murdered 20 little kids and six teachers at Sandy Hook was law-abiding. Until he wasn’t. The guy who murdered 59 people in Las Vegas was law-abiding. Until he wasn’t. The kid who murdered 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school was law-abiding. Until he wasn’t.

And along with that illusion, Ruud seems to think demonstrations are for fun. Sure they are. That’s why terrified and/or anxious schoolchildren organize themselves to try to have an impact on legislators who are incapable of legislating. For fun.

Miriam G. Simmons, Stillwater

• • •

I was extremely dismayed at Ruud’s demeaning comments regarding student responses to school shootings. I would like to say the following to her and to the entire Legislature:

1) Students are not making signs for “fun.”

2) A peaceful walk, silent gathering or prayer vigil is not a “parade.”

3) The students are unfortunately very well-informed; they have witnessed the slaughter of their classmates firsthand. To say that they need to “do their research” is arrogant, indeed.

4) Dismissing students in this way insults both students and teachers.

5) Please stop using the “Chicago” reference when talking about gun control. It is an outdated, misused argument, and has a racist subtext. (Ask a student to explain it.)

Gretchen Bray, St. Peter, Minn.

• • •

Guns are a “way of life” in Minnesota, says Ruud. So was smoking in the 1950s until we found that it causes cancer. We don’t need assault rifles to protect women jogging alone on Minnesota side roads. Neither do you or your family. If you have already purchased an assault rifle, we’ll legislate to buy it back at cost from you as a compromise. “Because we all have one” is not enough.

James Struve, Minneapolis

• • •

I grew up in rural Minnesota and hunted all types of Minnesota game with my family and friends.

I agree with Ruud that there is a tradition and culture of having guns in Minnesota homes. What’s changed are the types of guns. Military assault rifles with high-capacity magazines designed to quickly kill many people are a recent and sad addition and should not be part of our gun culture. We can have our gun rights while limiting the types of available firearms and who gets to own them.

Bob Elfstrand, Minneapolis

• • •

Your unlimited gun rights. My grandchildren’s lives. No contest.

Mary Moriarty, Plymouth

CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

Teachers just need support, not any side’s ideological spin

Katherine Kersten can use various studies and reports to spin her views one way (“Undisciplined,” March 18), while Julia Hill and Dana Bennis can spin their opposite views another way (“Let’s discuss race issues in schools — calmly,” March 20), using various “research-based practices such as restorative justice and circle processes” as their supporting evidence. Sadly, one side of the debate went so far as to say that the viewpoint of the other side was “contemptible” (a word that no educator would ever use when teaching a student how to deal with viewpoints opposite to their own). All three of them cherry-picked their data to support their views.

Now, just for a moment, let’s set aside the race piece and just view inappropriate classroom behavior. I would first ask the three writers if any of them is in the classroom on a daily basis with 35 elementary students or 150 secondary students and is personally experiencing the difficulties the classroom teacher faces when inappropriate classroom conduct is not answered with appropriate “teachable moment” consequences. Suspension should be used only in the most serious and severe situations, but some type of consequence, more than just a “now Johnny or Mary, don’t do that again,” should prevail as a sign that the powers that be are actually supporting the classroom teachers.

Most teachers just want to be supported as they manage their classroom and do their teaching, but far too often this is not the case. Having been connected to public education for 50 years and still in the classroom as a volunteer three days of the week, I see firsthand how difficult teaching is in 2018 and how badly teachers need all the support they can get. They need more support than these three “spin doctors” are offering. Not having such support is the only thing that is really “contemptible.”

George Larson, Brooklyn Park

GENDER BIAS

Evident, though unexamined, in article on racial wage gaps

A stunning footnote to the article about the racial-disparity wage gap at age 35 (“Black-white gap persists, even in affluent America,” March 20): Women of both races earned less than both groups of men. Compared with white men, women earned just 70 percent to 77 percent of the men’s salaries.

Gender bias is also thriving in the upper crust.

Melinda Erickson, Minneapolis

SERIOUS JOURNALISM, PART ONE

Put this tired trope to bed

Re: “Your boss wants you to nap — on the job” (StarTribune.com headline, March 20): Since this article has been appearing every few years for the last 30 years, you’d think napping at work would be the societal norm now, rather than a minor fad that gets written about every few years for the last 30 years.

Chris Keprios, Minneapolis

SERIOUS JOURNALISM, PART TWO

Anti-Trump bias is over the top

I just read Tuesday’s issue of the Star Tribune very carefully, and although I could have missed something, I don’t believe I did. The only mention of Barron Trump’s birthday was a small snippet in some column called “FACES”!

Now, if it were one of Obama daughters having a birthday, it more than likely would have made the front page with pictures and a story!

Wow, Star Tribune. Can you say “bias and prejudice”?

Dave Colburn, Hayfield, Minn.