Responding to U.S. Sen. and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar’s endorsement of legalizing marijuana (front page, Feb. 23) and the University of Minnesota’s finding that marijuana use may contribute to lower grade-point averages (front page, Feb. 21), I’d like to bring up an important (but not as widely shared) quote from the “wanna toke” conversation between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Joe Rogan on Rogan’s podcast a while back. After taking his infamous toke, Musk said he doesn’t actually smoke weed, since “I do not find that it’s very good for productivity.” Truer words were never spoken.
Michele Maurer, Hopkins
GUN LAWS, PART ONE
We need to be civil, dispassionate in this ongoing discussion
During a gun-rights rally organized by the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus on Saturday at the State Capitol (“Hundreds rally for gun rights at Capitol,” Feb. 24), state Rep. Cal Bahr, R-East Bethel, told the group: “There’s a lot of us in this room that have had enough, and it’s time to start riding herd on the rest of these people that want to take your rights away from you. They will not go quietly into the good night. They need to be kicked to the curb and stomped on and run over a few times.”
If the members of the Gun Owners Caucus are, in fact, the law-abiding citizens they claim to be, they will condemn these violent words as we debate our issues peacefully, in a civil fashion.
Rich Smith, Taylors Falls
• • •
After reading the Feb. 24 issue of the Star Tribune, two disturbing pieces stood out. “Hundreds rally for gun rights at Capitol” and the editorial “Election security aid is still held hostage” made one question the ethics of Republicans.
In the first article, in addition to Bahr’s concerning statement, state Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, is quoted as saying: “History clearly shows us, through the millions who have died because of government’s confiscation of guns, that we must stand firm.” Speech suggesting violent solutions and false and undocumented threats concerning deaths of millions because guns were taken away is at best imprecise speech, and at worst deliberately false or misleading — incitement that has no place in discourse from supposed political leaders.
The other disturbing news regarding questionable Republican leadership, regarding the reluctance to release federal security aid to help prevent election interference, makes one wonder what is gained from stalling. Are Republicans anticipating that any interference or meddling may be helpful to their party?
Laurie Anderson, Bloomington
• • •
While watching the news on Venezuela, did you happen to notice that the people were throwing stones at the military? Why? Because they have no weapons. This is what happens when the government wants to be your mother and father and run your life. What you can say and can’t say, what you can wear, how much you can earn, what you can spend it on, where you have to live, how long you can live, whether or not you get the care you need. The government wants to run your life from birth to death, and you better go along. Because they know best! Sound familiar? Twenty years ago the people of Venezuela were doing quite well! What happened? Government! You can’t let the government run your life!
Aren’t you glad that our forefathers added the right to bear arms!
Edward McHugh, East Bethel
GUN LAWS, PART TWO
Minnesota should join the states that have protective ‘red flag’ laws
Both the Minnesota House and Senate have introduced “red flag” bills during the 2019 legislation session. If enacted, a red-flag law (aka “Extreme Risk Protection Order”) would enable family members to care for loved ones in crisis by requesting a temporary removal of firearms. The law includes protections of due process and penalties for misuse.
Last year, the Star Tribune Editorial Board highlighted the unique safety risks of adults with dementia who also own guns (“A hazardous mix: Guns and the elderly,” July 9, 2018). This potentially dangerous combination puts vulnerable adults at risk for injury and suicide, and can be risky for the caregivers who live with them.
My family would have been grateful for a red-flag law when facing the challenges of caring for an elderly family member with dementia who displays delusions and paranoia. When his physician insisted that the firearms be removed from the home, we turned to local law enforcement for help. Unfortunately, without a red-flag law in our state, they could not intervene proactively to ensure family safety.
Eight states enacted some version of a fed-flag law in 2018, bringing the total to 13. Minnesota’s bill was tabled, although a record 365 Minnesotans had taken their lives with a gun the previous year. We need this law. It will not fix all our gun violence problems, but it will help us address a growing concern in Minnesota, the extreme risk of gun violence to vulnerable adults and their families.
Dawn Einwalter, St. Paul
It should be calibrated to the conditions our roads face
Lots of hullabaloo about the proposed gas tax hike, but a key factor remains unsaid: Our winter weather is especially hard on our roads. We shouldn’t remain in the exact middle of the national average when our weather conditions are at the extremes.
Kelly O’Brien, Minneapolis
U.S. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR
Amid scrutiny of her treatment of staff, know this side of her as well
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is strong, tough, committed, passionate, and (as we now know) she can be demanding and push people hard. I have no experience working as a paid staff member for the senator, but I have many hours of experience interacting and working behind the scenes with her and her staff as a constituent. I am not dismissing the staff members who have reported that she can be difficult to work with, but I am asking that the experience of those of us who have found her warm, kind, compassionate, wickedly funny and brilliant — and very committed to doing her job — be heard as well.
I, along with fellow advocates, brought an issue to the senator’s attention during her first term. She listened emphatically and agreed to champion legislation that was passed and signed into law in 2016. She did this by working with citizens from across the U.S. and with senators across the aisle. She was strategic and savvy; she compromised when necessary; and she persevered until she got it done. She did what she believed was right; she stood up for millions of people who have eating disorders. She was responsive, respectful, welcoming and patient, and she epitomized what we need in a president. Our next president needs to be strong, tough, committed, passionate, honest, and someone who can work across the aisle and persevere in order to get things done.
Kitty Westin, Minneapolis
• • •
Is it really political suicide for a candidate to admit one’s mistakes and human failings? Klobuchar’s deflection of reports that she has treated staff in a bullying and humiliating manner insinuates that her victims were flawed and simply not tough enough to handle her toughness and high expectations. Her dodging of personal responsibility leaves one with an uneasy feeling that Amy, at her core, is just another politician.
Bruce Remak, Minneapolis