It's getting increasingly difficult not to just shake my head at complaints about the release of the supposedly "vile" Grand Theft Auto IV.

More tiresome still is the frequently mentioned, never qualified link between playing mature video games and committing acts of real-world violence.

Violent crime has been steadily declining nearly across the board since the early '90s, particularly among youths. The only spike was among adults. In fact, in 2004, the same year as the release of the previous Grand Theft Auto, violent crime hit a 40 year low!

Most gamers will agree that minors should not even be playing M-rated games in the first place, and luckily, ID checks at game retailers are on the rise. The only thing remaining is for parents to start paying attention to what they let their children play, and for those whose (increasingly rare) children do go wrong to find a new scapegoat.

TIM GOYETTE, ROSEVILLE

Praying for the Catholic Church's return to reason

Thank you, Nick Coleman, for your column articulating the feelings that I have about the Catholic Church banning Dr. Steven Miles from speaking ("Anti-torture but pro-choice? Can't have that in church, please" May 3).

I am 68 years old and have been a Catholic my entire life and am prolife. I am so deeply saddened that the church currently has such narrow and limited vision. The church continues to support a few moral issues at a higher level than other important moral issues.

To ban Miles because he has different views than the church on other issues seems rather frightening to me. It is very clear that Miles intended to speak only on torture. He obviously had no intention of expressing opinions on other issues.

The church is really missing the point. I consider our government's role in torture and torture in general one of the most important prolife and moral issues of our time. I hope and pray that the church leaders will return to using reason. If that happens they can focus on the many pressing life and social justice needs of our time.

PATRICIA RADECKI, MINNEAPOLIS

A consistent ethic on life

Columnist Nick Coleman and Dr. Steven Miles both miss the point on what "prolife" means. In fact, it may be time to start talking about "whole life" rather than "prolife."

To be "whole life" or "prolife" means to have a consistent ethic on life. It means valuing the dignity of each human being at all stages of life (womb to tomb). The Catholic Church is the one public entity that consistently defends the dignity of human life. It is against torture, says in all practicality the death penalty ought not be administered in today's society, is against abortion, counseled against going to war in Iraq and defends the aged and infirm.

If Miles and Coleman are against torture, which is wonderful, by logic, they also need to be against the torture carried out on those still developing in the womb. The archdiocese's position on not allowing Miles to speak at St. Joan of Arc is both consistent and "whole life."

DAN MILLER, EDINA

MCCL cofounder urges bridges, not bans

As cofounder of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life with a doctorate in theology from the Catholic University of America, I was appalled to learn that officials of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis barred Dr. Steven Miles from speaking on torture at St. Joan of Arc Church.

We who oppose unrestricted abortion because we adopt a "seamless garment" approach to all life issues should be intent on building bridges with people who are prolife in other respects, such as principled opposition to torture. We can further the prolife cause much more through respectful dialogue than through purity tests and exclusion.

Banning such a brilliant and courageous opponent of torture is a heart-wrenching set-back for the prolife movement and the Catholic Church in our area.

WILLIAM COUGHLIN HUNT, SOMERSET, WIS.

Homes section needs to return to the real world

Homes listed at $150,000 wait for buyers. They don't show or don't qualify. Foreclosed homes in "good" suburbs stand empty, crumbling into disrepair. Meanwhile, the Star Tribune features a riverside dream home ("Home of the Month," May 3) that almost no one could ever hope to afford.

Do your editors and reporters read the news they write? Or is "dream the impossible dream" one solution in the current crisis?

MARILYN MEINKE, MONTICELLO, MINN.

Franken stands tall

We stand with Al Franken. He is a man of integrity and purpose. Al has a plan to work in Congress to bring our troops home and then provide generously for their service. He has a plan to work with fellow senators to fight climate change by investing in renewable energies to create a green economy. He'll work with others in the senate to create a universal health care system that works for all the citizens and infuses new life into Medicare and Social Security.

Education has always been a passion of Al's. Why do we have No Child Left Behind? It was written by the administration's lackeys and not educators. We need an emboldened new plan to challenge all the children. Al will work on that plan.

Don't be detoured by smear tactics of those on the right. It shows how much they fear the energized TeamFranken campaign. Let's show 'em what we're made of! Visit frankenforcongress.com to learn more.

TOM AND SANDY AHLSTROM, SHOREWOOD