It's important to shed light on this condition


The bravery that Carolyn and Charles Engeldinger are showing by publicly discussing their son's struggle with mental illness, in the wake of the unspeakable tragedy at Accent Signage, is nothing short of heroic ("Parents say killer fell into world of delusion," Oct. 14).

Mental illness is the least understood malady existing in our human condition. One in four of us will experience some form of it in our lifetimes. And the fact is that those with a serious and persistent mental illness are no more likely than the rest of us to commit a violent act.

When mental illness is discussed in detail and in the open, as the Star Tribune facilitated in its report, we all gain a better understanding. No one could blame the Engeldingers for shrinking away from the nightmare that's befallen them. We owe a debt of gratitude to them for sharing their painful story with us, and for helping us to better understand a topic that's been taboo for too long.


The writer is the CEO of People Incorporated Mental Health Services.

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Drawing attention to the societal harm of untreated mental illness was a positive step, but I was disappointed to see that insurance was not mentioned. Insurance companies often put more restrictions on mental health care than they do on physical health care, and some offer little or no mental health care. Many Americans, especially the millions without insurance, can't afford treatment for mental illness. If Americans want to prevent tragedies like the Accent Signage shooting, they should call on elected officials to support comprehensive mental health care and insurance for all.


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Distinguish fact from political rhetoric


Wouldn't it be nice if there were close-captioning fact-checkers during debates? That way all people, regardless of education, could know what is true.


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Some of Mitt Romney's remarks about women in the workforce during Tuesday's debate deeply offended me as a woman ("Heat, but still too little light," editorial, Oct. 18).

He seemed condescending when he described how he had searched for qualified women candidates for jobs in his cabinet -- as if they were few and far between. He apparently didn't need to search for qualified men. He patted himself on the back for creating flexible scheduling so women could go home to care for the kids and cook dinner. I'm all for flexible scheduling, but

Romney doesn't seem to realize that it's not only moms who care for kids or cook dinner. Not to mention that a truly humane and family-friendly workplace does not require people to work through the dinner hour on a routine basis.

One need only look at the women surrounding President Obama -- his wife, Michelle, his daughters, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and many others -- to see strong, capable women who are treated like people, not as tokens.


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Don't listen to the transit naysayers


If Northstar commuter rail is a failure, it is because of Annette Meeks and those of her political leanings who held positions of influence and authority during the decision to cut the project in half ("Northstar rail is a failed experiment," Oct. 15). This "failure" would be her greatest achievement. Let's go to St. Cloud!


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A Lutheran leader's letter to archbishop


Thanks for the commentary from Herbert W. Chilstrom, the former presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America ("An open letter to the archbishop," Oct. 14). It gave me courage as a Catholic to speak about the marriage amendment. What deeply concerns me is that one American citizen (Catholic Archbishop John Nienstedt), by virtue of his position in a religious organization, would silence the opinions of other American citizens (archdiocesan priests). To me, that's not what America is about.


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Chilstrom wrote: "As private citizens, you and I have the right to put forward our opinions on the marriage issue. Beyond that, we should trust our legislators and judges to enact and guard laws that are for the good of all people." Does anybody really believe that? How many times have the people voted to pass a law only to have a judge say, "You can't do that"? They will stretch the Constitution until it's paper thin to make it fit their ruling. Religion does not conform to the people, the people conform to religion.

EDWARD R. McHUGH, East Bethel

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Would it really make fraud more difficult?


I loved that Dan McGrath's simplistic support of the photo ID amendment (Oct. 14) had the online headline, "It will be easy to vote, but hard to cheat." I'll bet that most college students in Minnesota know how to get a fake ID. So how hard is that?


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I recently noticed a trend. I read the Oct. 14 Opinion Exchange commentaries against the amendment, written by the mayor of Duluth and a Winona City Council member, and the one for the amendment, by Dan McGrath of Minnesota Majority. I attended a debate on the amendment, and a staff person from ISAIAH spoke against, and McGrath spoke in support. I heard a radio story in which a woman from AARP spoke in opposition. Speaking against? You guessed it, Dan McGrath. I'm starting to wonder if we're voting to change our Constitution based on one man's personal agenda.