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This letter is in response to the opinion piece by D.J. Tice on state Rep. Jim Nash, R-Waconia, the author of a proposed mandatory reporting bill in the Minnesota Legislature, who suffered abuse at the hands of his father his entire childhood. It broke my heart to read this story ("For this legislator, action targeting child abuse is intensely personal," April 19). For me, it was my mother, and she preferred a 2x4. I, too, spent many nights praying for someone to come, and no one ever came. Many people knew, but no one said a word. My father stood by and did nothing.

We are left to find our own way out of hell, and once we get out, we find that we are broken, and we will remain broken for however many days we have on this earth. I can't change Nash's story or the outcome, but he can change how this plays out for children subjected to this violence now and in the future. It is the best he and I can hope for. I hope his colleagues listen, and take action.

Carol Jones Clark, Woodbury


Minnesota is one of only nine states that gives individual counties control over their child protection services. Currently, there is a legislative task force that is addressing the widespread failures of our system.

The child protection system in the state of Minnesota emphasizes reunification with parents as the preferred permanency arrangement for children. However, reunification isn't always the best-case scenario. After being sent back home, some don't survive the reunion, and even more endure brutal beatings, sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment. In 2021, Minnesota had some of the highest rates of repeat abuse or neglect after the reunification of children. Currently, Minnesota Statute 260C.212, Subdivision 2, is about how "Placement decisions [are] based on the best interest of the child." Statute 260.012 is the "Duty to ensure placement prevention and family reunification." These statutes imply that reasonable efforts are made to prevent placement or to eliminate the need for removal and to reunite the child with the child's family at the earliest possible time. They also imply that Minnesota is to ensure that the child's best interests are met by requiring an individualized determination of the needs of the child. But what happens when these statutes contradict each other?

Reforming Minnesota's decentralized system has been a point of contention since at least 2014. How many more children are going to be harmed before we stop just talking about these problems and actually do something about them?

Amber Knudson, St. Paul


A tragedy that's all too common

The tragic story of a 4-year-old finding a loaded gun and shooting his 2-year-old brother, regrettably, is all too common ("Plea deal tossed in gun death of boy, 2,″ April 18). So is the fact that those involved refer to the outcome as an "accident."

While unintentional, this kind of accident can be both anticipated and avoided, just like the 1,262 gun deaths that occurred from 2003 to 2021 because children found unsecured, loaded weapons (per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

It's not the 2-year-old's or the 4-year-old's fault that they were left in a vehicle with an unsecured gun. And yet one is dead and the other is saddled with a traumatic memory for the rest of his life. Nor did they have any say about living in a gun culture that thinks of such incidents as unavoidable accidents. As if the children were simply collateral damage.

A bill working through the Minnesota legislature (HF 4300/SF 4312) is aimed at eliminating similar tragedies. The safe-storage bill would require that a firearm be securely locked whenever it's not within reach of the owner. Violators will be held accountable.

Some will say the safe-storage bill infringes on their right to bear arms. It does not. The requirement is that firearms be securely locked only when not under control of the owner. All rights come with responsibilities, and it's a minimum responsibility to care for others' safety and right to life.

Rich Cowles, Eagan


A fatality finally tipped the scales

Regarding "Driver gets 5 months for fatally hitting priest" (April 18): Driving violations are handled far too leniently in the justice system. No serious punishment occurs until someone is killed by a driver with a long record of convictions. In the article, it says the convicted driver had a history of over 20 convictions for driving while his license was revoked, lack of insurance, speeding, illegal passing and so on. It appeared that he never had a Minnesota driver's license.

Reading the newspaper, I see this pattern over and over: No real punishment for recurrent serious driving violations until someone is killed. I see articles about people with recurrent DWI violations; the driver does not go to jail until someone is killed. When is the justice system going to wake up? When is the state Legislature going to tighten the guidelines for prosecuting recurrent serious driving violations?

Dennis West, Minneapolis


Allow rifles statewide

I've hunted deer in Minnesota my whole life, mostly in the shotgun zone ("Will 'shotgun only' zone be abolished for southern deer?" April 19). Despite winning a number of competitive marksmanship awards in my youth, it wasn't uncommon for me, when using a shotgun, to hit even a perfectly positioned deer nonfatally.

The last few years, I hunted in the rifle zone. A single shot through the heart has become the norm.

Anecdotally, it seems to me that allowing rifles during the firearm season statewide would be more humane to the deer, better for hunters and safer in that it would result in fewer projectiles entering the environment.

A bullet fired from a rifle will go farther than a shotgun slug, of course, but no hunter with a modicum of sense would fire up into the air as opposed to downward toward the ground. Besides, even a shotgun slug would go far enough to hit someone if fired upward in an irresponsible fashion.

Jonathan Wolf, St. Cloud


Boasting about the number of gentle deer who are slaughtered in Minnesota as compared to other states is like bragging about how many puppy mills we have. It's not something to be proud of ("The buck doesn't always stop here," April 7).

Hunters point to deer-vehicle collisions to justify a violent pastime. But the Insurance Information Institute found a "dramatic increase" in the number of these accidents that occur during "deer season." It's unsurprising that loud gunfire and flying arrows make terrified deer flee their forest homes and run onto roadways.

Hunters also only "manage" deer populations to suit their own interests. When undisturbed by humans, deer reproduce only to the level that their habitat and food sources can support. Does even reabsorb their fetuses when resources are scarce. After hunters kill a large number of deer, the unnatural spike in available necessities causes increased breeding and more twins. And hunters and wildlife departments frequently kill natural predators to ensure plenty of targets, disrupting the balance of the ecosystem.

Behind the excuses and the euphemisms (corn is "harvested"; animals are killed), is one glaring truth: Nature is better off without hunters. And humans are too.

Nicholas Steffens, Minneapolis