A dangerous situation, prepared or unprepared

Many letter writers, including one published May 1 (“Some empathy is in order for situation Byron Smith faced”), seem to think that Smith did not deserve such a harsh sentence for the murds of two people. That writer states: “Sometimes well-laid plans can boomerang on you,” implying that the intruders’ plans went awry. However, what about Smith’s cold and calculated plan — his moving of his truck to appear not to be home, activating an audio recorder in his basement, making sure his guns were loaded and then sitting in a basement chair, waiting for the intruders? Smith’s plan seemed to work perfectly for him.

I agree; there’s not a lot of reaction time when someone is breaking into your home. However, Smith had hours to plan this confrontation, which resulted in two deaths. His life sentence is deserved.

Keven Henslin, Champlin

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I think we need a new law — let’s call it the “Implied Assault Law.” If a person invades someone’s home, the assumption should be the person is there to inflict physical harm on the occupant. Under this new law, the occupant would be entitled to take whatever defensive action he or she believed was necessary at the moment, up to and including killing the intruder, without question.

I can’t imagine the fear, violation and outrage I’d feel after my home had been invaded one time, let alone several times. People who break into homes are not victims; they are violent and dangerous criminals.

Mike Beer, Minneapolis

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How many times have you heard someone say that they bought a gun for protection? Now they have a gun in the house whose purpose is to subdue an intruding human being.

When almost anyone can have a gun, and virtually no one has the kind of training that would prepare them to face threatening, highly charged, emotional and chaotic home-invasion situations, how can we possibly have expectations of “reasonable” behavior?

Gary P. Engen, Mounds View



Finding the meaning in a ‘botched’ execution

There is dark and revealing irony at play when a convicted man enters a death chamber, is soon dead, and yet the execution is widely considered “botched.” To be clear, our horror has nothing to do with the person dying. There are plenty of ways to kill instantly with little pain; they just aren’t very pretty. Our discomfort has to do with us, with being horrified watching our society kill people under the law. May our search for a “humane” method of execution be forever in vain, because the only way to succeed is to shed the part of our humanity that makes us free.

Patrick Pfundstein, St. Paul

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The May 1 letter under the heading “Another wake-up call for an unjust practice” lamented the execution of a number of persons who have almost certainly been innocent. It instantly brought to my mind the analogy of thousands of innocent children in this country whose lives have been terminated through abortion. The writer’s last sentence certainly applies: “Their blood is on all of our hands, and it will remain there as long as we continue this barbaric practice.”

Ron Schuerkamp, Chaska



One thing is clear: Nothing is clear

I turned to Page D3 of the Star Tribune’s Business section on May 1 and saw a headline that stated: “Once more, U.S. economy sputters.” Then, I went to Page D6 and saw another headline that declared: “Fed to continue trimming stimulus as economy wakes up.” Is it both at the same time? Or is it really the economists’ dirty little secret — that no one really knows which direction the economy is headed?

Iric Nathanson, Minneapolis



Forget Donald Sterling; here’s an actual scandal

There certainly was swift action in the NBA’s banning Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for making alleged racist remarks in a private conversation with his reported “girlfriend.”

On the same day, we also heard from Judicial Watch that it uncovered documents produced by high-ranking White House personnel that virtually prove that the Obama administration, despite the death of four Americans, concocted a false scenario of what happened in Benghazi, Libya. Those in the administration knew it was a terrorist attack but wanted to protect Barack Obama’s campaign for a second term as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s political future.

Comparing the two incidents, shouldn’t America be banning Obama from the presidency and Clinton from any future plans for the office?

Bob Maginnis, Edina

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Thanks for another hard-hitting, Pulitzer Prize-winning report on quinoa! (Taste, May 1.) I’ll have to wait for my next issue of Better Homes and Gardens to get the real story of Benghazi!

Barb Lydell, Andover

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I get more out of watching 15 minutes of Fox News on the workings of the federal government than in a week of your “newspaper.” You can only protect an incompetent president for so long. I suggest you start focusing on the IRS, Benghazi, the EPA, Obamacare and other dangerous issues that will drag us into a totalitarian state run by mindless bureaucrats and power-hungry politicians. God help us all.

Gary Hoonsbeen, Minneapolis