Lo, there was a scourge upon the land, and the president went to the Republicans and said, “Surely there is something we can do together.” But the Republicans’ hearts were hardened and they called him dictator and emperor, and turned their backs upon him. The president returned and said, “But if we do nothing many more will die.” But the Republicans answered, “You are not one of us. Go, leave us and return to the land from whence you came.”

The president was saddened, but he returned once more and held out his hand and said, “I mean you no harm. Please help me to remove this plague from among our people.” But the Republicans replied, “No, there is nothing we can do.”

Then the president did weep with grief and pain for the parents of the thousands of children who were lost, and the Republicans called him a spoiled child, and mocked and berated him.

Finally, the president became sorely vexed and cried out to the Congress and the elders of the opposition, “Surely, you can see that if we do nothing, this scourge will remain upon our nation and tens of thousands more will die each year.” But the Republicans and their allies’ hearts were hardened once more, and they said, “What is that to us? We worship at the idol of the Gun and are at peace with our decision. And nothing you can say and no tragedy that befalls the people can move us.”

And so it was that in great sadness and frustration the president did resolve to move forward and do battle alone, with all the forces of the opposition arrayed in strength against him.

Douglas Wood, Sartell, Minn.

• • •

I feel the same as our president about the loss of life via firearms in our country. That said, I can’t agree with his argument regarding the sale of guns. Yes, I’m sure some of those firearms find their way into the hands of criminals. Again, that isn’t the problem with the major catastrophes we’ve experienced in recent years. Firearms were legally acquired — and would be under the parameters of the president’s proclamation.

I don’t have the answer as to how to control those situations, but President Obama’s actions aren’t the way to reduce those tragedies. I’m sure someone a lot smarter than I am will undoubtedly be sure to tell me how to solve the situation, but still not have a handle on the actual problem.

Chuck Koegl, Brooklyn Park

• • •

Shame on the Star Tribune for putting that fraud of a president on the front page with those fake tears. Where were those tears when four U.S. citizens, including an ambassador, were raped and murdered in Benghazi? Where were those tears when 14 people were murdered in San Bernardino, Calif., by terrorists? Where were those tears when Nidal Hasan (another terrorist), a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas? Shall I go on? Mr. Taylor, you had better get a handle on your editorial staff, or you’re going to be losing thousands of subscribers.

Terry A. Krinke, Burnsville

• • •

Folks wasted no time celebrating on the airwaves following President Obama’s announcements on new efforts toward gun control. They celebrated the fact that today and every day that Congress even speaks of gun control, gun sales skyrocket. They celebrated the fact that these measures “will do nothing” to curb gun violence. They celebrated the hope of repealing these measures by a new president before they even have a chance to work. They seem to have no idea or care about how these celebrations must sound to those who have buried loved ones killed by guns. In fact, they seem to celebrate the hope for more deaths! How very strange is the worship of guns in our country.

Janice Thurn, Golden Valley



What of Occupy or Madison? Sorry, but not the same thing.

I was shocked when I read the “Oregon standoff” letter on Jan. 6. I didn’t realize that the Wisconsin teachers’ protest and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations were armed events. I had to go back and review the coverage. Whew! As I thought, those were just examples of civil discourse. Since most of them legally occurred in a public space, they didn’t even qualify as civil disobedience, which is the symbolic, nonviolent violation of a law. The participants were not armed, nor did they urge their compatriots to join them armed to the teeth. The only purpose of bearing arms in a protest is to threaten use of force or intimidation.

In case the writer still isn’t clear, here is an analogy: If I approach you unarmed and ask for money, it is defined as panhandling. If I do the same thing with a pistol at my side and I make it known to you that I have it and am willing to use it, it is called robbery. The difference is the intimidation factor, and the appropriate classification as a felony.

Susan Barrett, South St. Paul



Proportion may vary, but there’s a strong effort, strong pipeline

The Jan. 4 article “With four women stepping down, Senate faces a gender challenge,” noting that the share of women state senators could fall below 30 percent, touched on a crucial issue. Women’s representation in public office is essential to ensuring that government reflects the people it serves and prioritizes the issues that matter to our families and communities. This is why I am delighted to serve as board chair of womenwinning, the multipartisan organization that works all across Minnesota, not just to elect but to identify, train, recruit and promote prochoice women leaders at all levels of public office.

Womenwinning is doing extraordinary work to develop prochoice women’s leadership in Minnesota. Its network of more than 11,000 members statewide helps them identify and train women who are leaders in their fields, equipping them, through “Political Tool Belt” trainings and small-group counsel, with the skills necessary to run for office. Since the launch of its Statewide Candidate Recruitment and Development Program in 2011, womenwinning has endorsed 275 prochoice women candidates, 191 of whom have won their races.

Because of the expert support of womenwinning, Emily Larson was recently elected Duluth’s first woman mayor, and in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District, Angie Craig is poised to become the fourth woman ever to represent Minnesota in the U.S. House. In 2015 alone, womenwinning elected 22 endorsed candidates to the state House, mayorships, city councils and school boards, with a win rate of 85 percent.

The “Political Leaders of Tomorrow” internship program imparts professional political knowledge to the next generation of Minnesota’s leaders, young people whose passion and dedication to prochoice women’s leadership is inspiring. Womenwinning plays the long game, focusing not just on one or two races, but on cultivating a pipeline of prochoice women ready to lead at all levels now and in the future.

This is a banner year for prochoice women’s representation in public office. With Hillary Clinton ready to make history at the top of the ticket and Angie Craig on the ballot in our Second Congressional District, we have an enormous opportunity to change the face of representation in our state and our nation. Since womenwinning’s inception, the percentage of women county commissioners, state legislators and mayors has doubled, and I have no doubt that the pipeline of strong and robust candidates will continue to lead at all levels of public office.

Nancy Speer, St. Paul