Exactly how armed are armed defenders?
David Kopel ("In the right hands at the right time," Jan. 17) cites several examples of armed defenders who prevented further tragedies by their use of firearms. Well and good. I'm sure most Americans agree with and would even applaud the use of legally owned firearms for defensive actions in the circumstances he described.
What Kopel did not say is whether any of the defenders in his examples used AR-15 type weapons or large ammunition clips. How about it, Mr. Kopel: Do you have any other examples in which such weapons or ammunition were successfully used, other than by police, for defensive purposes? If so, what were the circumstances that necessitated their use vs. using more standard personal or hunting-type firearms?
GARY LOFF, WEST ST. PAUL
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President Obama, speaking Wednesday about the need to stop violence and about how our efforts would make an impact, said that "this is how we will be judged." It is very probable that the legislation after Roe vs. Wade, allowing abortion to be legalized in 1973, has greatly contributed to our society's decrease in respect for life.
As the president also said, referring to gun-control measures, "if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, we've got an obligation to try."
When will he and our nation also acknowledge the horror of nearly 50 million innocent, unborn children having the opportunity of freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness being taken away from them? Yes, President Obama, this is how we in America will be judged.
MARY PETZ, HOVLAND, MINN.
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Anti-Obama video is off-base and lowdown
The NRA has created an online video that calls President Obama an "elitist hypocrite" because he allows armed Secret Service agents to guard his daughters in school, while at the same time he does not endorse having armed guards in all other schools. The video makes no sense.
Because of their relationship to the president, the girls have significant potential to be kidnapped and used as a source of bribery against their father, who obviously makes some very significant decisions. Their protection is a matter of national security. If they would be "taken," all the guns in the world might not make any difference.
JIM BARTOS, BROOKLYN PARK
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The NRA has sunk to a new low when it involves the president's children in the debate on gun control. Men do not use children to fight their battles.
LOWELL WENZEL, BLOOMINGTON
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Sworn duty is to the law, not to ideology
The tentacles of the NRA have penetrated our social and political network so deeply that sworn officers of the law now feel obliged to publicly state their loyalty to the gun lobby, in defiance of their oath of office. Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole did just that when he notified his constituents that federal gun regulations must pass his "constitutional muster" before he would comply with them (Minnesotans continue to pursue gun permits in record numbers, Jan. 16).
In doing so, Cole clearly indicated that he is not fit to wear a law-enforcement badge in Minnesota. His kind of bluster might fly somewhere with lower educational and judicial standards, but in Minnesota, which boasts some of the nation's highest professional law-enforcement requirements, people like Robin Cole simply don't measure up. It is not his job to interpret the Constitution. It is his obligation to enforce the law in a fair and balanced manner.
As a former licensed Minnesota peace officer, I sometimes had to enforce portions of statutes with which I had serious differences. Regardless of my personal feelings, my sworn duty was to follow the letter and the spirit of the law. A rogue cop is the last thing any community needs. Cole would do well to turn in his badge and walk away. I'm sure he could find other work. There's probably a position saved for him at Fox News or with the NRA. They're always looking for new zealots.
STEPHEN A. MILTICH, MOUND
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A wonderful day, performers and all
On Monday, I plan to celebrate my gratitude and affection for the American people. The Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and the re-election of President Obama do not come into being without the work of a magnificent citizenry.
Obama's mother and grandparents endured the loss of MLK and Robert Kennedy in 1968. They had no idea that 7-year-old Barack would be elected president of the United States just 40 years later.
As we begin Obama's second term, the good citizens who re-elected the president are fully aware of the disaster that he saved us from. The majority of Americans are thankful for the president's struggle for us and against all those who oppose us.
We are prepared to support the president every step of the way. This is the USA that we want -- a nation that plans to nurture all of our citizens. Old-style, good-citizen conservatives are welcome aboard.
ROBERT PERSCHMANN, CHASKA
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Come on, we survived Elvis shaking his hips, Meatloaf's "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" and the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." The writer of the Jan. 17 Letter of the Day about Katy Perry and Usher ("Choice of inaugural performers sends an objectionable message") needs to give the kids of today more credit.
SUE WILSON, SAVAGE