The story of the Bloomington dentist killing the “beloved” lion Cecil on a hunt in Zimbabwe is revolting on several levels. The report that he paid more than $54,000 for the opportunity, according to the London Telegraph, makes me think about his use of the word “legal,” along with his expressing regret.

I cannot help thinking of the many who cannot afford dental care even with insurance while this man, Walter J. Palmer, makes so much that he can pay to hunt and kill a lion in Africa for sport. I certainly hope this behavior qualifies as a strong-enough ethical lapse to revoke his license, since being convicted of poaching a bear in Wisconsin several years ago was not enough.

Regret, Mr. Palmer, is when you break a plate or have to carry bad news, but regret for killing any lion, especially a beloved and collared one, is reprehensible. The havoc that being in the news will bring to your life pales in comparison to havoc in the life of the pride of lions and those who honored Cecil’s life.

Rosemary Rocco, Maple Grove

• • •

I think this man should be helping the children in Africa with dental issues instead of murdering innocent animals. I hope you folks who let this man in your mouth will realize what kind of a person he really is and will stop funding his sick entertainment. Your insurance payments are funding his tools of death.

As a society, we should reject and shun this cruelty. There is no valid reason for such murderous activity except a perverted and sadistic sense of fun, which is nothing to brag about. Palmer’s trophy photos are those of an egomaniac with too much money, and his regrets are meaningless. Cecil’s life has no price tag.

Carolyn Niesen, Duluth

• • •

Palmer will wish he’d never heard of Africa when social media is done with him. His dental practice will be dead in a matter of days. The circumstances of Cecil’s death were particularly despicable. According to Johnny Rodrigues, who heads up the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, the lion was lured out of a national park with food, shot with a bow and arrow, tracked for 40 more hours, then finished off with a gun. Nice going, Palmer.

David Larousse, Lafayette, La.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

Sorry, skeptical letter writer; you’re grasping at straws

A July 28 letter writer disagrees with Pope Francis’ assertion that “a very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system,” an assertion made in the recent encyclical “Laudato Si.” The letter writer claims there are “many thousands of scientists in the relevant disciplines” who do not agree that global warming, or climate change, is a scientific fact. He then goes on to name four such scientists, one of whom is deceased and two of whom are retired. The fourth, the astrophysicist Dr. Sallie Baliunas, has indeed suggested alternative causes such as sunspot activity and ozone depletion, but has not denied climate change.

The fact is that few, if any, active climate scientists deny that the planet is warming or that human activity is the principal cause. Francis’ encyclical on this important subject, unlike the July 28 letter, is accurate in its assessment of the latest scientific research.

Allan Campbell, Minneapolis

• • •

I think the letter writer missed the simple message the pope gives us: We are given this beautiful world (air, land and water), and we are to be good stewards of all. Personal responsibility is foremost in managing all of what we have. Life is not without rules to live by for the common good. When we abuse, we take from others. This pope is learned in science as well as religion and is leading us to see things we have been too selfish to see and do.

Mary Dosan, Eveleth, Minn.

• • •

Apart from the flawed analysis of how scientists arrive at conclusions (it’s based on evidence) and despite the reported effects of climate change (based on verifiable news reports, weather data and observable phenomena), the July 28 letter writer, like many others, will not be persuaded by any means or reason.

Holdouts may think that they do the rest of us a service by adopting a skeptical attitude in the service of reasonable doubt, but at the end of the day it is simply naked stupidity, intransigence and stubbornness — human traits that are as evident today as throughout history. Galileo faced the same crowd back in his day, and it didn’t change the “facts”; it just made life more difficult for the “consensus” seekers who were guided by belief. Either way, the planet is heating up, and those who are aware of this are obligated to do something about it.

George Hutchinson, Minneapolis

 

FETAL RESEARCH

Utilitarianism cannot justify it; unborn babies’ value is intrinsic

It’s hard to agree with the logic Dr. Steven Miles uses in his July 28 commentary singing the praises of fetal research (“This work saves and betters lives”). His premise is that it’s necessary, indeed commendable, to use parts and pieces of aborted babies to better or save the lives of others, including unborn babies whose mothers want them. He also justifies that practice on grounds that women donate their babies’ bodies to researchers only after making the decision to abort. Implicit in this logic is that a mother’s desire for her baby to go on living is the only determinant of that baby’s worth and that donating someone else’s body to science is ethical and praiseworthy.

An unborn human is a separate being, not part of his or her mother, and the value of a baby before birth is intrinsic, not dependent on someone else’s attitude. Everyone can support procedures Miles references that are used to save the lives of wanted babies in the womb. But many object to treating other babies merely as sources of spare parts just because those babies happen to be unwanted by their mothers.

Nancy Koster, Edina

 

GUNS

Limit of one purchase a month could help fight trafficking

The front-page story listing all of the problems caused by the Burnsville woman’s straw purchases of guns (“Guns bought by woman are linked to crime spree,” July 28) points to some obvious and much-needed remedies.

Minnesota needs to pass an anti-trafficking law that limits purchases to one firearm per month per person. While 12 new firearms a year should be more than enough for any law-abiding gun owner, a trafficker would not be able to make a living from the sale proceeds of just that number.

And laws prohibiting straw purchasers need to be strengthened and enforced. “Charges are fairly uncommon against straw buyers, people who buy guns legally on behalf of people who cannot,” the article reports. “But gang-related crimes involving guns bought that way are a recurring theme.”

Mary Lewis Grow, Northfield

 

IMMIGRATION

To me, it seems the answer to a number of problems

Recently, I’ve read several articles that seemed remarkable in juxtaposition. One spoke of a number of countries that were combating their declining birthrates. Another was related to the damage caused by global warming. The third referred to a number of countries working to stem the flow of illegal asylum seekers. In the U.S., there is real concern about who will care for the aging baby boomers and sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease, yet there is a call to build an enormously expensive wall to keep people seeking work from entering the country.

It seems that the obvious solution would be to embrace immigration, which would eventually increase the tax base and workforce. This seems far better than encouraging a higher birthrate increasing the pressure on global resources.

Priscilla Elwell, Minneapolis

 

BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

An organization evolves

As a parent of a Cub Scout and as a former member myself, I am so proud and pleased that the Boy Scouts of America voted to allow gay Scout leaders. This has been a progression since the organization voted two years ago to allow gay Scouts. Far from changing its mission, the BSA wisely reviewed itself and realized it would lose its membership and meaning if it did not make such changes. Sometimes the world changes for the better, and this is such an occasion.

Phillip Trobaugh, St. Paul