The writer of the lead letter Jan. 27 was spot-on in describing two good men who recently suffered tragic deaths. However, her ideas for eliminating the cause of such deaths was confused — that shooting deaths are caused by guns and that drunken-driving deaths are caused by drivers. We could turn that around by saying shooting deaths are caused by bad people and drunken-driving deaths are caused by booze and cars. Better still, let’s simply cite a complete lack of moral sense (God) as the ultimate cause for those deaths.

Jerry Kassanchuk, Golden Valley

• • •

On Monday, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt informed 200 gun-rights advocates that he and his party “have their back over the next couple years.” On Tuesday, the rest of the state was grappling with these gun-related stories:

• A gunman injured two police officers, then was fatally shot in New Hope.

• An Eagan boy, 13, was fatally shot by his brother while playing “cops and robbers.”

• Charges were filed in Washington County in the death of a teacher who was shot while driving his pickup.

Until politicians of both parties are able to discuss guns and our gun culture without fear of backlash from the gun lobby — and until those who want to responsibly exercise their right to own a firearm stop seeing these conversations as the first step toward the limitations of their rights — people will continue to die.

Tim Herbstrith, Minneapolis


Consider where the impact will be felt

Gov. Mark Dayton has once again proven how out of touch he is with lower- and middle-income Minnesotans (“To fix roads, Dayton calls for gas tax hike,” Jan. 27). His $11 billion transportation proposal is rife with provisions that will directly hurt most Minnesotans just as they have been given a small but temporary reprieve in the price of gas.

No one is disputing that Minnesota roads and bridges are in dire need of repairs, today and into the foreseeable future. But Dayton has proposed a hike in both the gas tax and sales tax to pay for that work; these are the two taxes that most greatly affect low- and middle-income families. Yes, there are positive signs that the economy is improving and that such measures would have less of an impact. But low and middle incomes continue to drop despite the gains on Wall Street and diminishing unemployment. We all are trying to do more with less.

There are other options available to pay for infrastructure improvements that don’t hurt the average Minnesotan as deeply. I suggest that the governor gain a sense of reality and explore those first.

Rick Rivett, Chaska

• • •

The idea of a gas tax hike makes me wonder why there was no talk of fixing roads before the Vikings stadium deal was made or the Southwest light-rail line was proposed. Now that billions of dollars have been promised to these projects, financed with our money, what’s left?

Neither one of these projects helps pay for the cost of fixing our roads and bridges.

Patricia Blanc-Rogacki, Minneapolis

• • •

Tuesday’s front page tells us that Dayton’s proposed increase of the tax on gasoline by 16 cents per gallon would “sock” us with “significantly higher taxes at the pump.” Is that the paper’s editorial position on the proposal?

James J. Williams, Orono



Loppet Foundation is broad in scope

Regarding the Jan. 26 article about determining uses for Wirth Park: As a longtime member of the Loppet Foundation, I wanted to clarify that the foundation is much more than an events organization. It is a youth development nonprofit that provides coaching, mentoring, equipment, transportation and inspiration to thousands of Minneapolis-area youths and families. It is the 2014 national championship skiing club through its Loppet Nordic Racing division, which sets the standard for high-level community-based ski coaching in the United States. It is a partner to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, creating opportunities for year-round outdoor activity in the Minneapolis area. And it is a community organization that runs large-scale events that celebrate what is best about living in Minneapolis — like this weekend’s City of Lakes Loppet Festival. Hope to see you out there!

Jim Young, Minneapolis



A great sport for your daughters and sons

As a woman who grew up before Title IX had opened any doors to athletics, I was lucky enough to find rugby in 1974. If I were asked to review the three most important events in my life, rugby would be at the top.

It taught me to own myself as a strong, fit, aggressive woman. It validated all those innate qualities in me that I could not validate anywhere else in my life. And it gave me a community of equally strong women to play with and supportive men to coach me.

I started playing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on the first women’s team in the Midwest. I went on to play for Carleton College in 1978 on the first women’s team in Minnesota. The next year, I started the University of Minnesota team, the first women’s team in the Twin Cities.

Yes, I had some bumps in my eight-year career, but not one broken bone and certainly no head injuries (“No-brainer: No school football, rugby,” Opinion Exchange, Jan. 24, and “Rugby doesn’t belong in rogues’ gallery,” counterpoint, Jan. 27). Instead, I gained more confidence and leadership skills in those eight years than at any other time in my life.

Encourage your sons and daughters to play rugby. It is a great sport for the body and mind.

Alice Tibbetts, St. Paul



Allow me to offer a 75 percent solution

If a hard-core minority of, say, 25 percent always hates roundabouts (“Roundabouts gain ground,” Jan. 25), engineers planning to build more of them in Minnesota should design them so they only go three-quarters of the way around. Win-win.

Chris Steller, Minneapolis