DISTRICT 25 SENATE

Dahle the right choice

I find the Star Tribune's endorsement of Ray Cox for the District 25 Senate seat illogical (editorial, Dec. 28).

I agree with your approval of his experience and independence. My wife and I (although usually voting Democratic) voted for him in every election until the last, when he boasted of endorsement by Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. So we were two of the 60 votes costing him the election.

But the main thrust of the Star Tribune's argument is that, in a number of crucial votes, Cox has been bipartisan, voting with the DFL against his party and his governor. If that is his main virtue, why not vote for a full-fledged DFLer like Kevin Dahle? Wouldn't that lessen the power of the governor's veto? You acknowledge that Dahle "is a progressive thinker and a promising political newcomer." Why not give him a chance?

FORREST BROWN, NORTHFIELD, MINN.

BHUTTO ASSASSINATED

An uncommon woman

In my lifetime, I have admired a variety of women who have been on the world stage for their grace, courage and resolve. Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks, Coretta Scott King, Mother Teresa all come to mind.

Benazir Bhutto knew how deadly Pakistani politics can be. Her father was killed by a political rival. With her beauty, Radcliffe education and eloquence, Bhutto could have made a fine career for herself in the news media, business or a number of other ways. Yet, she chose to return to her native Pakistan to be involved in the political process.

In her heart, she had to know that political and religious extremists would do everything in their power to kill her. Now, they finally succeeded.

In my opinion, she is the bravest woman I have ever seen. Pakistan's loss is our loss.

STEVE ADAMS, NEW HOPE

THE SAGA OF SOLO THE BEAR

Not out of the woods

The Humane Society of the United States would like to commend Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the Department of Natural Resources for stepping forward and giving Solo a reprieve. It was the right decision for this bear and this community.

However, the next step needs to be carefully planned. Being captured, tranquilized (possibly during hibernation) and taken to an unfamiliar new location, where there is likely to be competition from other bears, will imperil Solo and her cubs. This action would not be at all humane or appropriate. Suggestions for sending the bear out-of-state to a commercial tourist attraction would be even worse.

A far better solution would be to let her finish hibernating and then utilize effective and proven aversive conditioning strategies to get her to move on with her cubs, and then seal off the den site under the house.

Solo has been a big part of this community since she was a cub. She has not harmed anyone. The township has already adopted a 17-page plan entitled "Living with Bears: Coexisting with Wildlife in a Natural Setting." This plan is ecologically responsible and in line with this community's values. It should be implemented in this situation.

Rushing to move this bear may sound logical and humane, but in reality is just the opposite. The real answer is to teach the community how to coexist with bears -- that means not creating attractants like unintended food or denning sites which bring bears too close for comfort.

LAURA SIMON, NEW HAVEN, CONN.;

FIELD DIRECTOR, URBAN WILDLIFE PROGRAM,

HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES

the second amendment

His faulty grammar

Who but a lawyer could keep a straight face while arguing that the tail wags the dog ("How would you diagram this sentence?" Dec. 27)?

Adam Freedman tries to narrow the meaning of the Second Amendment by torturing the language. The prefatory justification phrase -- "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State ..." -- would have had to be placed at the end of the sentence to become a limitation.

JON WILLAND, MINNEAPOLIS

A different time

Has anyone considered the fact the well-regulated militia is made up of the people of the United States and that is why our founding fathers gave the people the right to bear arms?

Wars were fought by farmers and people who did not want to see their rights taken away as well. The militia was not solely made up of people in the military.

Maybe our founding fathers could not see into the future and see the types of militia that are present today. Nor can we see into the future to see what type of militia our children's children will have.

ERIC KOHNKE, ANDOVER

The adjectives are key

When reading the Adam Freedman commentary (Dec. 27), I agreed with his thoughts about the lack of significance of the commas in the Second Amendment. After all, commas are pretty much a matter of style even today.

There are heavy comma users and restrained comma users. What seems of interest to me in the Amendment is the use of the adjectives "well regulated" to modify the noun "Militia." To me well-regulated means organizing, planning, training such as, for instance, the National Guard. Regulated militia doesn't mean each of us has a right to have a gun we likely don't know how to use in our closet.

KATHLEEN CLARKE ANDERSON,

MINNEAPOLIS

winter towing

Gimme a break

I am so tired of "sad" stories of people who can't figure out how to park during snow emergencies. Do we need to baby-sit adults? I lived in Minneapolis for more than 10 years and never had my car towed. Why? Because I paid attention to the rules.

KARYN ROESLER, COON RAPIDS

THE COST OF THE WAR

The price to Minnesota

According to one of the leading supporters of the Iraq war, Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, the current dollar cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the "worldwide battle against terrorism" is estimated to be $15 billion per month. To put that in perspective: About $300 million per month from Minnesota is going to the Bush approach to foreign relations, which is bad policy and destroys opportunity to improve our state.

One-half of Minnesota's share of that money would build a major bridge every two months or, for three months of expenditures, give the state a world-class early childhood education and care system to help our youngest citizens become the next "greatest generation."

JOHN C. HOTTINGER, ST. PAUL