Thus far, we have established two facts regarding the 2016 election: (1) Donald Trump won the election with a majority of the electoral votes, and (2) the Russians were guilty of hacking into Democratic National Committee e-mails for the purpose of hurting Hillary Clinton (she can’t be trusted) and helping Donald Trump (lock her up). Unfortunately, what we don’t know is what effect the Russian hacking information had on individual choices on Election Day. If you take the hacked e-mails out of the equation, who knows what the outcome might have been. Sorry, President Trump, the question of legitimacy could still be an issue.

Dwaine Glasenapp, St. Paul

• • •

The Democrats and the media would have us believe that Trump Tower could not have been bugged without a FISA judge finding probable cause. As a result, they argue that the absence of such a warrant proves wiretapping did not occur. But FISA judges do not actually flip the switch that allows the surveillance to occur. Instead, the various intelligence agencies can surveil any of us at any time. The only purpose of a FISA warrant is to make sure the evidence gathered can later be admitted into evidence. If the party doing the surveillance is seeking information and is not planning to prosecute, there is no reason to seek a warrant. To those who would say that it is not appropriate to suggest that U.S. intelligence personnel would ever violate the law, please explain the recent leaks — which undoubtedly do violate the law.

Bob Gust, Bloomington

URBAN VIOLENCE

Even if you live elsewhere (or maybe especially), you can act

Sunday’s Star Tribune featured three letters in response to Mickey Cook’s recent commentary on gun carnage on the north side of the city (“To whom it should concern,” March 12). One letter writer asked, “How do you expect an old, fat, white-haired guy living in small-town Minnesota to stop gunfire in north Minneapolis?” Ironically, the writer listed his address as Delano, where less than a week ago a black family was driven to leave town because of racist graffiti and vandalism at their home. The writer was correct: There isn’t much he can do about events in north Minneapolis. But there is plenty he can do in his own hometown, and perhaps — one can hope — he was part of the more than 1,000 people in Delano on Sunday who stood in protest of racist behavior in their town, and in support and solidarity with the victimized family (“Delano takes a stand: Hate is not who we are”).

No, there is not a whole lot we can do about larger problems distant from us. But there is so much we all can, should and must do in our own environment, in hopes that whatever small thing we do will eventually spread beyond us — that our actions will have the butterfly effect on the larger world.

Jay Hornbacher, Hopkins

• • •

“I am concerned about 750 murders in Chicago each year,” says the letter writer from Delano. I am, too, but how can the rest of us help?

Here’s an idea: President Trump’s budget proposal calls for a $54 billion increase in our national defense budget. What if we took $1 billion of our tax dollars out of that and instead invested in, say, the Lawndale neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where the unemployment rate is above 18 percent and the average annual income level is less than $13,000? We would use our tax money to:

(1) Fund a dozen farmers markets no more than a mile apart in the neighborhood, open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. These markets would provide fresh produce and baked breads and nuts and fish and meats during business hours, all free.

(2) Hire a thousand young men and women for a minimum of $15 per hour under a Habitat-for-Humanity-type program. These folks would paint homes and plant trees and repair fences and walkways and windows, all free to homeowners and businesses in the neighborhood.

(3) Triple the number of teachers in the schools, paying each teacher a minimum salary of $80,000. Teachers would either be in the classroom instructing students or attending continuing-education courses while earning credits toward advanced degrees. Lawndale students as young as 3 could attend one of a dozen new state-of-the-art schools in the neighborhood built with our tax dollars. Tuition would be free.

(4) Hire a thousand older men and women for a minimum of $25 an hour to walk the neighborhood side by side with a city police officer, talking to folks, listening. (Something similar could be done with our state surplus dollars in north Minneapolis.)

Think of this as a grand experiment, a massive investment for one of our communities. Freedom is not free. Let’s make America great, one neighborhood at a time!

Timothy Hennum, Minneapolis

SUPREME COURT HEARINGS

Democrats, don’t be patsies

In his March 20 commentary, James Robertson argues for Democrats not to oppose Neil Gorsuch for appointment to the Supreme Court. He suggests that a peace offering might benefit all. Please, Democratic senators, quit playing Charlie Brown to the Republican’s Lucy in thinking that if you’re reasonable, this time you’ll actually get to kick the football. Obama’s eight years have taught us that compromise won’t yield any results from the Republicans. The Republicans are gleeful that they successfully stole this nomination from President Obama. Yes, please give Gorsuch all the courtesy that Merrick Garland received, and that’s all. Make the president offer a more centrist judge, just as Ronald Reagan did after Robert Bork was blocked, or make the Senate change the rules for the filibuster.

Karl Palazzolo, Minneapolis

THE STAR TRIBUNE

The eye of the beholder prevails

The Monday front page was a shining example of the fourth estate working properly.

• “Spending on roads lopsided”: Statistics can be interpreted different ways, but the Star Tribune’s numbers coincide with my intuitive sense that there are lots of roads in outstate Minnesota.

• “Delano takes a stand …”: It’s refreshing to see good news.

• “U.S., China make nice as Trump tweets”: It’s up to the fourth estate to keep the executive branch in check, since the legislative branch seems unwilling to do so.

I wish other media could be as objective and fact-based as the Star Tribune.

Dennis Johnson, Minneapolis

• • •

Star Tribune, you are fake news!!! Really disappointed in you not fact-checking!!! Trump’s budget plan is not eliminating Meals on Wheels! You have become biased news. News flash: Why don’t you just report the news! Not interested in your biased opinions!!!

Jackie Thompson, Bloomington

• • •

I frequently bemoan the loss of creativity, editing ability and, frankly, basic literary skills displayed by our local (and national ) newspapers. On Sunday, I opened the Star Tribune and saw, atop news of the death of Chuck Berry, the headline “His guitar was the DNA of rock ’n’ roll.” Creative, clever, crisp. I’m still smiling.

Steven Lebow, Minnetonka

• • •

With all the problems facing us in today’s world, why in the world would the Star Tribune run on the Metro section cover a story about a priest leaving the priesthood? (“Ex-Nienstedt deputy leaves clergy,” March 18.) It’s not an uncommon happening in the Catholic Church. So, I can only surmise it was due to the Star Tribune’s obvious dislike of the church, from my perspective, based on the many negative stories it has run over the years. Perhaps someday when a clergy in another religious group leaves their church, the paper would find reason to give the story prominent placement. But I am not betting on it.

Dick Brown, Excelsior