When something gets under a legislator’s skin, we get a law (“Bill wants to get ‘slowpokes’ out of left lane,” March 15). State Sen. John Jasinski, R-Faribault, fumes over the traffic coming to the Capitol. There is a minimum speed which people must meet to be on freeways like Interstate 35. As presented, the problem seems to be drivers going the speed limit in the passing lane. One official calls them “arrogant!” Explain that to your state trooper! Maybe Jasinski’s law should be called the speeders’ bill rather than the slowpoke bill.
Despite the law, everyone speeds — and worse: tailgating, weaving, forgetting to signal lane changes, etc. Adjust to the speed of the traffic? Not difficult at rush hour, when it is 15 miles per hour. If “slowpokes” going the speed limit can be fined and even jailed, who is safe? Consult your driver’s manual.
Mary Lund, Minnetonka
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I do not share the desire for legislation against “slowpoke” drivers. I’m amazed to read the comment by Shelia Dunn of the National Motorists Association that driving the legal limit in the left lane is “arrogance.” I always thought the posted legal limits were the speeds at which we were supposed to drive, by law. Are they mere suggestions?
What’s next from Jasinski? A law requiring customers waiting in line at banks to step out of the way to let armed bank robbers through? I believe we can more effectively deal with dangerous, impatient, road-rage prone left lane speeders with increased ticketing for speeding and more extensive use of photo radar.
Lee Blaske, Excelsior
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“Keep right except to pass” makes more sense than current freeway signs stating “Slower traffic keep right.” I hope Jasinski’s proposal succeeds. It seems simple to realize that if I’m not passing, I’ll stay in the right lane. Deciding if I’m driving “slower” is a matter of perception, thereby allowing those who think they’re not driving slowly at 50 mph to occupy the left lane. A simple change in signage on our freeways would be a good start in bringing sensibility to our roads.
Larrie Reese, Shoreview
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I don’t know why people can’t tell it like it is. We need to be honest about the fact that speed-limit signs are no longer the law but just suggestions. Hardly anyone drives the posted speed. One creates a hazard by driving the speed limit in the right lane. Drivers want others out of the left lane so they are free to run 5 to 10 mph over the limit. While I travel the posted speed in the right lane, I feel like I should have a slow-moving-vehicle triangle on the back of my truck. I am comfortably ensconced in a three-quarter-ton truck, and I pledge to stay out of Jasinski’s way, as I know his avocation is more important than any of my daily endeavors.
Chuck Justice, Woodbury
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I thought Republicans were all for removing laws and regulations. If they want a higher speed limit, then push a law to raise it. That would be 100 percent better than setting a double standard to an existing law because of a few people who cannot tolerate someone else who is actually adhering to the law.
In this day and age, we can buy our way into carpool lanes. Why not have special tabs that could be purchased to allow a person to drive 10 mph faster than the rest of the cattle on the roads? I suggest a better idea is that people like Sen. Jasinski just cool their jets and wait for the driverless car revolution. When that time finally comes, I suspect that he will still be angered that he has to go the same speed as the rest of humanity.
Dale Jernberg, Minneapolis
How fortunate that some can stomach urge to ‘do something’
Thankfully, several Minnesota legislators have “succumbed to the urge” to do something about the “perceived” gun violence (“ ‘Do something’ can be a detrimental refrain,” Opinion Exchange, March 15). The “casual exchange of firearms” is just not how guns were obtained in recent massacres. St. Lucie Shooting Center, Orlando. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Parkland. Reno Guns and Range, Las Vegas. Shooter’s Choice, Charleston. Local gun shops (which are conveniently located in Eden Prairie, Brooklyn Center and Richfield for city dwellers) are selling and transferring lethal goods. It should take time. And some paperwork. And a fee. Even for us law-abiding citizens.
Liz Knutson, Minneapolis
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Sen. Paul Gazelka, in referring to Gov. Mark Dayton’s support of improved gun restrictions as “poking a finger in our eye,” exemplifies a resistance to even discussing gun control changes to help make us all safer from gun violence (“Dayton sets final line on taxes, spending,” March 15). Our elected officials (and we ourselves) must be better than this in order to come up with real solutions to this multifaceted problem, a problem which definitely involves guns.
Susan Wehrenberg, Apple Valley
Bullying is the factor that’s still not getting enough attention
With the recent coverage on firearms legislation and school safety, it is my observation that one rather important piece of the solution is largely overlooked — bullying and the social interaction in our schools. There are multiple factors to curbing school violence; it cannot be solved just by banning a particular style of firearm or arming teachers, yet this is the two-sided argument unfolding in our Legislature. For someone to commit a shooting, there must be intent, proximity and access to weapons. We must look deeper into why some students feel compelled to pick up a weapon and harm their fellow students — the intent.
Bullying and other social aspects of school life are factors that must be studied more deeply. How many school shooters were loners and outcasts who were likely ostracized and bullied by their peers? Perhaps the best way to prevent the next school shooting is to first keep that one student from feeling the need to unleash pent-up anger and rage at their peers for the indignations they suffered in the cafeteria or classroom. I believe a louder and stronger message can be sent by befriending the student who sits alone at the lunchroom table than by walking out of classrooms (“ ‘That could have been us’: Minn. students walk out against gun violence,” March 15). If we can remove the intent, we can drastically reduce or potentially eliminate future school shootings.
Jason Chong, Fridley
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After reading the March 11 commentary “This is what a potential school shooter looks like,” I was shocked. The author, Aaron Stark, said he could have been a school shooter because he felt so alone and isolated at school. I was inspired to write about what my school does to get all students involved and included.
As a sixth-grade student at North Middle School in Harrisburg, S.D., I am proud to say that my school makes every student feel important. Because of Mix it Up, no student ever eats alone. This involves every kid choosing a colored M&M at lunchtime, then moving to the table with that designated color. Everyone talks to one another. It means no one is left out at lunch, and it is also an opportunity to make new friends. Web leaders, a selected group of eighth-grade student leaders, keep the conversation going and make this special social activity work.
In schools, where students spend so much of their time, how many do not feel like they are a part of things or that they do not have friends? I think our special programs at North Middle School have helped everyone.
Ananya Velpuri, age 11, Sioux Falls, S.D.