I am sitting in my living room watching the TV coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris. I wonder if this could have been averted. I think the answer is yes. Could the loss of 200 lives on the plane a few days ago have been averted? Again, yes.

You told us months and months ago we will degrade and destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. We really have done neither. They seem to get stronger and stronger by the day. Our halfhearted responses have done little to stop attacks by radical religious terrorists who only want to kill as many “nonbelievers” as possible. Your administration bragged about 250 airstrikes against ISIL in October. I remember “shock and awe” in Iraq when we did 500 to 1,000 in a day. And, yes, we had boots on the ground. And, yes, we won.

Mr. President, we are the only country that can put an end to this. We have the most powerful military in the history of the world. We have the best military in the world. Our soldiers are second to none. They can and will destroy ISIL if you let them do the job that they have been trained to do.

Mr. President, if you are really concerned about your legacy, end this madness now. You will go down in history as one of the best presidents ever. The opposite is also true. If you do nothing, you may go down as one of the worst. I pray that you will make the right choice, and do it sooner than later. The world waits.

John Feltes, Shakopee

SENSITIVITY

This being offended all the time is really getting out of hand

In the Nov. 13 Readers Write column, writers echoed a prevailing opinion that we have gone too far with being political correct. Being “PC” stifles their individual rights, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it, much less care.

In other words, they are offended by society marginalizing their sensibilities by complaining about people offended by society marginalizing their sensibilities.

Steve Mark, Minnetonka

• • •

The irony is thick: A reader, objecting to the removal of a Nativity scene from public property in Wadena, Minn., laments, “that if communities like Wadena don’t stand up, band together as a community and declare that enough is enough — anyone can bully and threaten lawsuits in order to strip away our rights, rights that are granted to us by the Constitution.”

In fact, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) does not infringe on any individual’s right of free exercise of religion, as guaranteed by the First Amendment. The First Amendment also prohibits the establishment of religion, that is, no government entity or representative may favor one religion over another, or favor religion over non­belief, regardless of the views of the majority of the citizens. Rights are enumerated in the Constitution precisely for the protection of the minority; if rights such as freedom of religion were determined by popular opinion, they would, after all, no longer be rights.

The reader should be grateful for the work the FFRF does in guarding our First Amendment rights; the time may come when he will not be in the majority, and then he will truly appreciate how our Constitution protects the minority from the tyranny of the majority.

Joyce Denn, Woodbury

• • •

Enough is enough. Who does the Freedom From Religion Foundation think they are? If you don’t like seeing the Nativity scene in Wadena, then don’t look at it. You are a watchdog organization working to keep church and state separate, and in doing so, you promote atheism, plain and simple. Why do we have to listen to a bunch of geeks just because they are against religion? When are people going to take a stand against people taking our rights away?

Look at Germany; 70 years ago, the Jews and the Christians didn’t object early enough, and now they are ashes.

People, wake up and get some guts. The leaders of Wadena should have told this group “go slither under a rock.” You are “out of the closet atheists.”

You have a right to believe in nothing and in going “nowhere” when you are gone, but don’t you dare think for one minute you can stop us who do believe in God. Amen.

Susie Pundt, St. Michael, Minn.

 

DOWNTOWN MINNEAPOLIS

Is fear of ‘street people,’ ‘gangs’ just code word for minorities?

There’s danger in the city! One letter writer (Readers Write, Nov. 11) relates being terrified in downtown Minneapolis by a gesture to him made by one of a group of “street people” whose “clothing was disheveled” and by two men “doing a drug exchange.” (Sure about that?)

In the Nov. 13 Readers Write, another letter writer’s evidence of danger is secondhand and more speculative, but he wants to “get the outlaws and gangs off the downtown streets.”

Are “outlaws and gangs” code words for people of color? My impression is that downtown violence, if it occurs, is done by drunks — usually young and often white — coming out of clubs in the wee hours.

The second letter writer wants to feel 100 percent safe downtown — even 97 percent is not good enough for him. I would advise him that the biggest danger he faces in a trip downtown is on the road to and from. Car accidents, unless they involve deaths of several people and/or young people, are not repeated again and again on the news. These accidents are too everyday to be sensational.

Even staying home or in one’s own neighborhood has its dangers. Recently, a young woman was very unsafe in an Applebee’s in Coon Rapids, where she was attacked and injured for not speaking English.

I live near downtown St. Paul and lived for many years near downtown Minneapolis. I visit there often.

To quote my late husband (who died a natural death): “Being alive is a risky business.”

Jane Thomson, St. Paul

• • •

I agree with the letter writer regarding the lack of safety in downtown Minneapolis. I also believe the CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council is wearing his rose-colored glasses (Readers Write, Nov. 12). There can be a perceived lack of safety or an actual threat to one’s safety. As an older woman, I go downtown alone — usually by train or bus — to visit the wonderful library and the farmers market in the summertime. But I am careful to go in the daytime, and I find myself having to be quite vigilant about my surroundings. So a perceived sense of safety is as troublesome as actual threat, and that keeps people away.

I just moved back from Seattle, where the downtown is vibrant, clean, well-lit, walkable and safe. It has the flagship Nordstrom store, a well-maintained Macy’s, a large mall that hosts a carousel during the holidays, and many, many smaller shopping venues, with both movie and live theaters. Yes, there is crime everywhere, but because of what Seattle offers its residents, it is a very popular destination. “Build it and people will come” is true. Seattle has its police presence, but officers are on bicycles and horses. I have thought that maybe since folks who work in downtown Minneapolis are up high in skyways for half of the year, they don’t see the problems. I hope the latest remodel of Nicollet Mall invites people back, but I fear it will take more than that. Downtowns in some cities are fading away. Some become ghost towns at night. It’s sad and a waste.

Randa Downs, Minneapolis