It is hardly a surprise that Donald Trump, the proverbial 500-pound elephant in a china shop, would blunder into the political trap set for him at the Democratic National Convention ("Trump blasted over his Khan rebuke," Aug. 1). Trump's penchant for "shooting from the hip" only proves that such shots sometimes ricochet on the shooter. However, the DNC also must accept a large part of the blame for this tawdry affair by dragging the name and reputation of an honored, deceased army veteran through the political mud for the pointless pleasure of watching Trump again demonstrate his lack of presidential decorum.

Finally, Khizr and Ghazala Khan cannot escape sharing the blame for allowing their political beliefs to prostitute the memory of their deceased son for cheap return, not only at the convention, but on the several talk shows they have since appeared on.

George Atkins, Minneapolis

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It is shameful for Mr. and Mrs. Khan to wait 12 years and then decide to stand in front of a national TV audience and use their son's death as a cheap political stunt to suggest that Trump doesn't understand the Constitution and that he would unfairly target all Muslims.

Trump has never said his fight is against all Muslims. What he has said, and wisely so, is that it's risky for America to not properly vet individuals from nations with strong ties to terrorism. And he's right.

Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says it's despicable that Trump chose to "dishonor the service of an American who gave his life for this nation."

But Trump never said anything about Humayun Khan one way or another; he had never heard that name mentioned until Khan's father popped up at the Democrat National Convention and dropped his little bombshell.

The Democratic Party has a long history of opposing all things military. I find it interesting that it's suddenly so concerned about the memory of one of our fallen. Something partisan and political, perhaps?

Mark Overholser, South St. Paul

Stories of immigrant successes must remember context

As I read the Aug. 1 letter "Dour writer should look again," about his immigrant grandparents and great-grandparents, I thought of my own Swedish grandmother who came to the U.S. at 19, not knowing a word of English. A very similar story for many families who came with nothing, worked hard and found a life that was worth living.

There is one difference between my grandmother, Hilda Hedvig, and another large group of immigrants. She came with a ticket in her hand; they came with chains around their necks. It made all the difference.

Sandra Mahn, Plymouth

Different system, same outcome: Insurers avoiding sick patients

I am watching closely how much health insurance companies decide to raise premiums for 2017 ("Blue Cross retreat prompts re-evaluation by insurance competitors," July 29). Our daughter is one of the 103,000 Minnesotans who will lose their Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) coverage next year.

My daughter is also one of the patients all insurance companies are trying to avoid. In 2014, she was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer. When she was no longer able to continue her job teaching middle school, her insurance through her employer ended and she purchased an individual plan from BCBS.

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Our daughter and others like her would have been left without health insurance. Now BCBS accomplishes the same thing by leaving the whole individual market. For a "nonprofit" insurer, this sounds a lot like what a for-profit corporation might do to increase profits by lopping off an underperforming segment of its operation.

Cancer treatment is expensive. While it took many months, our daughter is back — her personality, her ability to participate in the community and her opportunity to do some traveling before the tumor starts to grow again.

It is important that everyone has access to health care when they need it. There will come a time when we or someone we love will need expensive medical care. If insurance companies are allowed to cover only those they can profit from, we will all suffer.

Richard Blake, Grand Rapids, Minn.

The writer is a member of the Grand Rapids City Council.


Pedal power doesn't relieve you of obligation to pedestrian safety

About 7 p.m. on Monday, I started to walk across West River Parkway at 36th Street. To my left, I suddenly noticed three rather speedy bicyclists on the road blow through the stop sign and head toward me. As I stepped back to the curb, I yelled, "stop sign, guys!" and one of them said, "sorry."

I think if any of you three cyclists were driving a car along the parkway and came to a stop sign with a pedestrian just entering the crosswalk, you most certainly would have stopped. Please realize that just because you swap the car for a bicycle, the rules still apply. I'm glad I was looking out for my safety, because you most certainly were not.

Mark Brandt, Minneapolis