Generally, when we see obvious dangers, we act
After 9/11, it became much tougher to fly, with new bans and restrictions on what you could bring onto any commercial airliner, all in the name of safety, protecting us from people bent on mass killing. The rules may not be perfect, but they seem to work very well.
When the manufacturing of methamphetamine spiraled out of control, limits and actual databases were created to block the staggering amount of head-cold products being used to make meth. Not perfect, but working pretty well, according to recent statistics.
When drunken driving became an epidemic in this country, we cracked down and made the penalties much harsher. Not perfect by any means, but much better than it was.
When psychotic people, intent on killing as many people as possible, can buy unlimited ammunition, riot gear, assault weapons and bomb material with a simple driver's license, a 30-minute background check (as in Colorado) and free shipping through the Internet, I have to question anyone who doesn't support fair, equitable, common-sense decisions limiting how and what can be purchased.
Limiting purchases and monitoring through a database may never be perfect, but it certainly could reduce the carnage we witness over and over in this country.
JEFF HEIMER, Blaine
• • •
Cops don't often get their due -- when we read about them, it's often about their excesses. So kudos to the police in Aurora, Colo.
What remarkable things did they accomplish? First, they were on the scene at the theater in about 90 seconds following the first 911 call.
Second, two officers recognized that shooter James Holmes's black ballistics gear was nonstandard and intervened, preventing him from being confused with responding SWAT team officers.
Third, they evacuated his apartment complex until they could check on the situation inside.
Fourth, they approached it from outside, preventing further death, injury and damage from tripping the wire on the front-door booby trap. And finally, they were able to disarm apparently very sophisticated explosives.
In my view, this was brilliant police work. Combining that with the heroism of victims and others on the scene, Aurora is one impressive community.
JOHN HETTERICK, Plymouth
* * *
Procurement process plays a pivotal role
I'm glad to see this movement back to "onshoring" ("Made in America makes a comeback," July 15). Global powers get that power by having a positive macroeconomic cash flow. But for something to be sustainable, we need to cross the chasm to another level.
There is one small group of people who control this leap: the product procurement and purchasing departments in companies like Target, Wal-Mart, the Gap, Sears, Macy's, Home Depot and other entitles we all buy our stuff from in this country.
I remember when Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, had occasion to go out of his way to "buy American" and actively promote it. You see it today in Menards ads -- but this is not a trend. Not a habit. It is just a hint of what could happen.
I challenge retailers to analyze their product mix by country of origin and make adjustments. They find that flexibility in inventory management, cost of transportation and increased customer goodwill outstrip whatever number of pennies per product they think they are saving by buying from the cheapest source. Even better, I challenge them to tell suppliers to "supply American."
TOM RIEGER, Minnetonka
• • •
A July 22 letter writer hopes the "Made in America" movement succeeds. To a degree, I agree. But, as the expression goes, "Be careful what you wish for."
The reality of economics is not one-sided. The old adage that "for every action there's a reaction" does apply. For example, now that wages in China are beginning to increase, it's more likely that more American manufacturers will actually produce goods in America, made by our people instead of by the Chinese. But that will mean other American businesses that depend on exporting to China will be affected.
At least one major industry in Minnesota depends greatly on business from China. That's agriculture. A slowdown for Chinese workers will mean they'll spend less on our agricultural products.
We can't assume "Made in America" will exist without ripple effects.
JIM BARTOS, BROOKLYN PARK
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN
An open mind still requires evidence
A July 23 letter writer called for viewing U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's concerns about Islamic influence in our government with an open mind. However, having an open mind and showing healthy skepticism does not mean blindly giving Bachmann the benefit of the doubt.
It is important to recognize when claims are unsubstantiated. Schools teach students to cite only reputable sources when forming an argument, especially when using information from the Internet. Bachmann failed to do this, and consequently left herself open to fair criticism.
I do not doubt Bachmann's intelligence; rather, she is quite clever in choosing words that bring her multinational media attention. I think her efforts would be better spent on raising legitimate concerns about governance than on making unsupported accusations, though.
It is encouraging to see politicians from both sides of the aisle denounce her fear-mongering.
ALEX COLE, Burnsville
• • •
After reading recent editions of the newspaper, I realized how many people dislike Bachmann. I do hope it is not just because she is a Republican.
Let me say a few words in her defense. Do you actually believe that everybody who works for the federal government likes this country? If so, why do we have so many leaks, some of which cost lives?
No! Not everybody does like this country, and why couldn't it be that some of these people work for the government? What better place to work?
EDWARD MCHUGH, East Bethel