What the eyes can see, what the heart can feel

A March 15 letter writer correctly states that wildlife-management science is the only thing that should determine how natural resources should be managed. But then he jumps to the conclusion that moose and deer population in northern Minnesota are plummeting due to the overpopulation, while providing no data to back up his conclusion.

Over the past several years, I have taken canoe trips up into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and have observed evidence that the population of deer is very high. Overbrowsing is very evident. I do agree that the population of moose has plummeted, but not because of predation. Climate change is the most probable factor in the extirpation of moose from northern Minnesota.

The letter writer also provided no data to show that wolf population growth is extremely high. I would argue that the population of wolves is significantly less than it was in historical times.

Nick Rowse, Burnsville

The writer is a retired fish and wildlife biologist.

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The letter stating that science and numbers should be the only considerations in “wolf management” held some surprises for me. For example, I had no idea that scientists had concluded that declining moose and deer populations were due to the wolf. I had the impression that the complex reasons behind population decline were still under study.

Hasn’t some science suggested that even wolves have a culture, and that their ability to function is affected by the loss of members, who are more than just random placeholders?

I care what happens to species other than my own, and that value is not strictly limited to those species which I may own or use. While I do some more research, please have the numbers people tally the concern of a Czech-Ukrainian-German-Italian-American. Not that it carries any special weight.

Elisa Hayday, St. Paul

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One of our country’s downfalls in recent times is how we have lost our connection to the natural world and to our own hearts. Just because we are at the top of the food chain doesn’t mean we should ruin the Earth and give science and numbers precedence over relationships with human beings or animals. Our spiritual relationships do matter.

Kristen Wernecke, Minneapolis

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How Obama could earn his Peace Prize

I read with disappointment Thomas Friedman’s March 14 column brushing off current U.S. attention to the Israeli/Palestinian issue as a “hobby,” then recognizing the serious regional and wider import of the events in Syria and elsewhere, but paying them no more mind as he went on to describe President Obama’s coming trip to Israel as that of a “tourist.”

Granted, his challenge to the president to question in public Israeli leaders about continuing unlawful settlements in the West Bank was spot-on. But having asked, what then?

It seems to me the president’s time would be better spent at home by 1) leading a serious reevaluation of continuing U.S. support to Israel, in the face of the settlements, and 2) correcting Secretary of State John Kerry’s reference to the Islamist and Al-Qaida-affiliated Syrian opposition forces as “freedom fighters” (they are now burning books) and mounting a serious effort, through cooperation with the Russian foreign minister, to quarantine the violence and press both sides to dialogue without preconditions.

Then Obama will have gone a long way to deserving the now nearly four-year-old Nobel Peace Prize.

Maggie Meehan, Fergus Falls, Minn.

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Child sexual abuse

Remove time limit on prosecution

Current law says child sexual abuse victims immediately know they are injured and have until age 24 to file a lawsuit. Considering that it can take decades for victims to confront the abuse, statutes of limitation are woefully short and act as an arbitrary barrier to justice. I know because I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.

I was sexually abused by a parish priest at age 13. I suppressed my pain so deep that I didn’t recognize I had been abused until well into adulthood. Even as a well-educated, full-grown man, I continue to be haunted and challenged by this history.

At age 39, I was able to find the courage to seek justice against my abuser and those who helped facilitate the abuse. After five years and publicly reopening those wounds, my case was dismissed by the Minnesota State Supreme Court because the statute of limitations had expired. I was revictimized by the system designed to protect me because I couldn’t seek justice on my time frame.

The Minnesota Child Victims Act being considered at the State Capitol would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases, allowing victims to seek justice at any time against the abuser or institution that facilitated the abuse. This legislation respects and acknowledges the healing process while encouraging victims of child sex abuse to come forward and potentially identify abusers who may still be abusing children.

Jim Keenan, Savage

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The answer is right before our eyes

I believe that Gov. Mark Dayton has presented a good idea without even realizing that fact.

He stated that if we can’t raise taxes on the rich, then we will need to cut spending to cover the $627 million deficit. That is the good idea.

I wonder how that would affect his plan to increase spending another $1.8 billion?

Mike McLean, Richfield