You’d probably never heard of these three guys: Alek Skarlatos, Spencer Stone and Anthony Sadler, but you should know them now. Here were three Americans, all friends, vacationing in Europe, traveling by train to Paris on Friday, when terrorism struck. Shortly after the train crossed the Belgian border into France, they heard a shot, saw a gunman with an AK-47 and 300 rounds of ammo, and immediately rushed to stop him.

Risking their lives, these three heroes, with the additional help of a Frenchman, a Briton and another dual French citizen, overpowered the gunman before he could murder who knows how many innocent people. Their courageous actions drew instant worldwide praise, especially within France.

And on Monday, President Francois Hollande of France awarded the Legion of Honor, that country’s highest award, to the three Americans and the Briton. (This award is normally not handed out to those who aren’t French citizens.)

“Faced with terrorism, our societies are not weak,” Hollande said at the ceremony. “And they will never be weak as long as they stay united, and as long as there are brave women and men ready to risk their lives.”

Since worldwide terrorism is here to stay, we need more people like Skarlatos, Stone and Sadler.

P.S. I hope our own president recognizes these guys, and not just with words — just like the French president did this week.

Neil F. Anderson, Richfield

ROAD CONSTRUCTION

Yes, it’s a pain, but MnDOT is taking the long view, as it should

In response to “Does MnDOT care about drivers?” (Readers Write, Aug. 24), I want to state that I do not work for the state and know absolutely no one at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Also, I live within the western-suburb traffic mess, so I share the pain. I also know that things will not improve without investment and work. Encouraging MnDOT to take a longer view is absolutely the right thing to do. When there is money, fix our roads! When you can do a better, safer job in a third of the time, shut down part of Hwy. 169.

It is a question of taking the bandage off slowly or quickly. It’s the same amount of pain. Let’s trust the people at MnDOT — they have to drive the same roads as we do.

Nancy Norman, Plymouth

 

BLACK LIVES MATTER

State Fair protest is not the constructive path to change

A Black Lives Matter march along Snelling Avenue is not going to make a change in the lives of young black children (“Black Lives Matter plans State Fair protest,” Aug. 22). The organizers can create a positive change by finding ways to make Black Lives Matter.

The time spent organizing a protest and a march — as is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday — could be better spent volunteering in schools to help pupils learn to read, improve math skills, and learn to be productive and successful at school.

March in the neighborhoods where black youths have shot each other to protest the waste of lives.

Elaine Rushton, Edina

 

MINING

Sorry, but modern practices aren’t any more assuring

The Aug. 24 commentary “Modern mining is much safer, no threat to Minn.” attempts to reassure us that today’s hard-rock mines pose no safety risk and claims that the Gold King tragedy in Colorado is “an excellent reminder of how far we’ve come.”

Rather than soothing my concerns, the author’s example illustrates another sad fact about many environmental disasters caused by mining: The offending mining company is usually long gone, bankrupt or otherwise financially unaccountable when cleanup is needed and ecosystems are irreparably damaged.

The latest environmental-impact statement for PolyMet estimated that $180 million was needed for “mine closure” plus $3 million to $5 million annually for water treatment — indefinitely! You’d need a $400 million dedicated trust fund in place to pay for that. Even if PolyMet creates the 350 jobs it promises, that is $1.14 million per job!

I believe our North Woods are too irreplaceable to gamble with in the long-term, even with the promise of short-term employment for the region. I hope wise politicians join the environmentalists and average citizens who don’t believe the risk is worth it. Do we need another example of our environmentally irresponsible generation pushing off future dangers? Our state’s future citizens and our planet deserve better.

Warren Djerf, Minneapolis

 

CANDIDATES’ QUALIFICATIONS

If they’re not a politician, they’re not a politician

I may scream if I hear one more person say, “I like such and such political candidate because they’re not a politician.” What they’re really telling you is they have no experience in public office. Think about it. Would you want someone who has never worked in law representing you in court? Should someone who knows nothing about medical devices serve as CEO of Medtronic? You are voting for someone to run your country, not to be the next person you’re going to have a beer with. I don’t want our future leaders to be “just like me.” I want them to be way smarter than me!

Hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but the presidency of the United States is a pretty political job. Sorry, Donald, Carly, Ben — either you’re a politician already, or you’ll have to become one.

David Frederick, Coon Rapids

 

ART INSTITUTE

Curator’s advance to the Uffizi speaks well of our own museum

Congratulations to curator Eike Schmidt and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)! Schmidt’s departure to head one of the world’s most prestigious museums, the Uffizi in Florence, Italy, should remind us all of what a treasure we have in our own state. Mia’s skilled director, staff, volunteers and very generous donors make the superb collection especially accessible. Good luck, Eike, and happy 100th birthday, Mia!

Jeanette Colby, Minneapolis

 

DISSERTATION LOSS

I could’ve been there, and — ouch — I understand

My heart goes out to the young woman whose years’ worth of dissertation research was stolen from her apartment (Gail Rosenblum column, Aug. 24). I was out of town, years back, when a grain elevator exploded behind the apartment building we were living in. I had spent long months doing my own thesis research. This was in the dark ages, before we all had computers. A reporter in the large crowd of onlookers asked my husband, John, what he had rescued from our apartment before running outdoors to safety. John told him, “I couldn’t get our cats out from under the bed, but I grabbed an $80 black-and-white TV and a box filled with my wife’s thesis research notes.” The reporter asked, “Why the box?” John said, “Oh, man, because I knew I could never go though that again.”

Lois Rafferty, Minneapolis