“I don’t think we need to push for gun laws just because something happened.” That was a quote from a Lakeville High School student who did not support her peers demonstrating after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Fine. “Something happened?” “Something”? I believe that that “something” is pretty significant, given the deaths of 17 people in Parkland. That Lakeville student’s comments were extremely poorly informed. And, the Star Tribune quoted a high school student? Great.
And the newspaper’s publishing of those comments is even more ill-informed (“Sitting out walkouts: Some students won’t be joining in gun-control marches,” March 22.)
To put two students on the front page of the Star Tribune, with guns on their hips and smiles on their faces, is terrible journalism. It encourages the culture that America is trying to put under control. You should be embarrassed.
I understand that the newspaper has to balance both sides, pro-gun, anti-gun, young and old, but the opinions of those young people were egregious. The article stated that 11,300 students are now participating in clay target shooting around the state. But the girl from Lakeville said, “I bet 99 percent of the people who protested ... probably aren’t like me and actually shoot [guns] and use them in their life.” Really?
Wow. Your taking that comment and publishing it in the paper is not good journalism. Go back to the journalism school and remediate yourselves.
Don Leathers, Austin, Minn.
Editor’s note: The Star Tribune will faithfully reflect the authentic views of even more high school students in Sunday’s Opinion Exchange section. Five students from metro-area schools participated this week in a roundtable exchange sponsored by the Star Tribune Editorial Board and WCCO Radio (830 AM). We’ll offer excerpts of the discussion, which struck us as thoughtful, moving and singularly respectful.
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When there are no substantive arguments against tighter gun regulations, the argument from semantics always comes to the fore (“Assault weapons: At least understand what you mean when you use terminology,” Readers Write, March 22.) How dare you speak of preventing more gun deaths when you don’t even use the correct terminology; if you don’t know the difference between (insert technical jargon here) and (insert more technical jargon here), then you have no standing to discuss the issue. Using that reasoning, the ER doctor should refuse to evaluate you for appendicitis if you complain of stomach pain, instead of using the correct terminology, abdominal pain. See how ridiculous the semantics argument really is?
Fact: A gun is a killing tool; that is what it is designed for, that is its only function. It can be used legitimately, for hunting, sports shooting, or even for self-defense or collecting, but it also can be used to kill people, indiscriminately, for no good reason. There is no constitutional right that is absolute; even the Heller decision, which affirmed, for the first time, an individual right to own guns, included language regarding sensible firearm regulations. We have the right and the responsibility to do whatever we can, short of violating the Constitution, to limit the number of unnecessary gun deaths. It is absurd to suggest that we must remain silent unless we know the exact terminology for each part of every firearm.
Joyce Denn, Woodbury
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It is startling how various proponents of gun rights refuse to admit that military-style assault rifles are readily available for purchase today and were designed as killing machines. That is exactly what today’s semiautomatic rifles are. The most common weapon used by U.S. forces to “assault” the beaches on D-Day was the M1 Garand: a semiautomatic rifle capable of firing more than 40 rounds per minute — firing only each time the trigger is pulled — exactly the same firing action as weapons like today’s AR15. According to Barrett Tillman’s book “D-Day Encyclopedia: Everything You Want to Know About the Normandy Invasion,” veterans fondly referred to the M1 — a semiautomatic rifle that fired only each time the trigger was pulled — as “the Normandy assault rifle,” and Gen. George Patton himself referred to that weapon — semiautomatic, pull the trigger once for each shot — as “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”
If we choose to have rational discussions regarding the availability of weapons, then let’s acknowledge that we did not send the majority of our brave forces into World War II with weapons designed to shoot at cans and hunt for deer.
Todd Embury, Ramsey
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The late Lakota scholar Vine Deloria Jr. often made the point of what had unbalanced our society. He said that we are focused upon our rights — the Second Amendment right to bear arms; the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness; property rights; privacy rights, etc. Nothing wrong with those, he said. What is missing is asking what are our responsibilities as citizens as we exercise our individual rights.
Lakota culture put much more emphasis on responsibilities for our community, for the common good. So I am prompted to ask those who focus on their right, for instance, to bear arms: What is your responsibility to the wider community as regards the exercise of that right? To those of us who are gun owners, as I am, what is my responsibility as I exercise that right? Ninety people a day are dying in gun violence, two-thirds from suicide. What is my responsibility to try and protect my community from the misuse of the right to bear arms?
All of us gun owners should be at the front of the line taking responsibility to see that there are reasonable, common-sense laws about guns so that our right to bear arms is balanced by the right of the wider community to be safe in schools and workplaces and homes.
And to our Minnesota legislators who refuse to even discuss the responsibilities of gun owners and sellers for the common good: When will you begin, as the people most responsible for the common good of all Minnesotans, to take some responsibility for what is most wrong about our society today: the loss of balance between individual rights and the attendant responsibilities that exercising these rights bring? We have thrown out any sense of responsibility in favor of exercising our individual rights, no matter what the impact is upon others, even death to innocents, month after month. You need to start protecting children, not the profits of the gun manufacturers contributed to your campaign chests.
Howie Anderson, Ponsford, Minn.
Two events, two fearful actions and, if logic serves, two acquittals
Whether or not you or I agree with the acquittal of the officer who shot and killed Philando Castile, as logic goes, he was acquitted, so officer Mohamed Noor should be, too, in the death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond (“Murder, manslaughter charges for ex-cop Noor,” March 21). Both officers reacted too soon and were spooked. Undeniably, race was a factor in Castile’s death. More training and accountability is needed in these situations, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be a police officer myself. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman called Noor’s actions those of a “depraved mind.” “Depraved” is the mind of a serial killer or rapist and hardly a fitting word to be used in this case. Tragedy all around.
Kristen Obanni, Bloomington