Leave the strategizing to those in the know

I have to chuckle a little, then shake my head in amazement at the letters sent in by people who think they know the drug world better than the people who work in it and fight against it, in this case Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (“Lax marijuana enforcement puts us on a dangerous road,” Sept. 18).

The folks who wrote in and explained how legalizing marijuana would cut down on crime (Readers Write, Sept. 20) reminded me of a street person going into a bakery and explaining how dough rises to the baker. Some people just don’t have a clue and need to leave this area to the experts.


* * *


Beginning to draw skeptics, admirers

While strongly supportive of Pope Francis’ commitment to social justice, I was deeply disappointed to hear him refer to abortion as a “small issue” (“Pope rocks church by castigating ‘small’ rules,” Sept. 20).

Is he not aware that social justice applies to all God’s creatures? This definition would certainly include unborn children.

I could certainly agree that contraception is a small, private issue to be decided by each individual woman depending on her circumstances. But taking human life at any stage is no small thing.


• • •

Wow, a nonelitist pope who’s telling the church that it worries more about its rules than it does about its people (seems another important person once told his church leaders the same thing). A pope who is “personally” reaching out to the common and poor people. A pope who understands that his “authoritative” stance on issues was doing more harm than good. A pope who chooses not to live in luxury and buys a used car he can “personally” drive around in. How refreshing!

WILLIAM MILLER, Brooklyn Center

* * *


Mayoral control would help how?

The Sept. 19 commentary by Francis X. Shen missed the point when it emphasized the need for mayoral control of the Minneapolis school system. The system is not in dire straits. There’s no strong evidence that it is failing. What is problematic is the achievement gap between white students and students of color. Nowhere in his article did Shen address this problem or explain how mayoral control would remedy it.

RICHARD MASUR, Minneapolis

* * *


Why we still need ‘political correctness’

Harvey Mackay, in reviewing Larry Winget’s new book (Sept. 16), suggested that he admires Winget’s resistance to “political correctness,” starting with the title of the book: “Grow a Pair: How to Stop Being a Victim and Take Back Your Life, Your Business, and Your Sanity.”

In the book, Winget suggests it is sophomoric to assume that “growing a pair” has anything to do with body parts or masculine vs. feminine traits. “Get your giggles out of the way,” he says, “and then let’s talk about what growing a pair really means.”

We hate to stand in the way of giggles or of bluntly stated business advice. But both Mackay and Winget are wrong about the phrase “grow a pair.”

No matter how many times they reassure us that “lots of women … have a pair bigger than most men can ever hope to have,” the phrase retains its gender connotations. We can’t hear it used without being reminded of stereotypes — including the idea that men, not women, are the ones with “gumption,” who avoid “being a victim and [take] control of [their] lives.”

When business authorities like Mackay and Winget use the phrase, they heighten the risk of gender discrimination arising out of stereotypical thinking — what scientists call “cognitive bias.” All giggles aside: Can we find another way to express ourselves — one that still manages to be blunt without being biased?


* * *


That’s what we call successful outreach

On July 31, I visited Minneapolis for the first time. As I exited a freeway searching for my friends’ address, I discovered that I was lost. I was riding a motorcycle and had the back open searching for the appropriate map when a police officer stopped and asked if I needed some help. I responded, “Yes, sir, I sure do.” I was all turned around!

The officer immediately looked on his GPS and gave me precise and accurate directions. Where I live, we get a lot of visitors, and I only hope that our police are as courteous and friendly as that officer was. If they are all like this officer, Minneapolis needs to be proud of its police officers.

WAYNE LIPPS, Napa, Calif.

* * *


We all should make a plan in advance

Katy Butler (“Why few of us get to die peacefully at home,” Sept. 20) was mostly right on. However, I do not think physicians’ motivations are related to dollars at all.

While working in ICUs for years, I saw families wracked with guilt over decisions that they could not make, and patients enduring weeks or months of extraordinary measures because family members could not agree on what to do. Family conferences with the physician (not the patient’s family doctor) ended with “try everything for another week.” The doctor, of course, must agree. The patient is voiceless.

Make your voice heard. Make a living will. It isn’t hard to do.

Let your family know you mean it and save them the agony of not knowing what to do.

KIM GUNYOU, Minnetonka