For a moment, let’s avoid the endless arguments concerning gun rights with respect to the horror in Orlando. We Americans are being confronted with an enemy determined to destroy Western civilization and impose an Islamic caliphate worldwide. That evil force has already murdered thousands of Americans on our soil; it has published the names and addresses of 8,000 Americans on its “hit list.” Pray that your name isn’t on that list. The clock is ticking. Yet our president fails to outline a detailed strategy calling for the total destruction of Islamic terrorists bent on our killing. Such a strategy requires a “boots on the ground” military intervention in Iraq and Syria to a far greater extent than what we have done so far. It also requires a far more robust domestic intelligence effort. Take the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Why would a terrorist bother with trying to bring a bomb onboard a flight when he/she could slaughter hundreds more at the TSA wait lines? Until we have a commander-in-chief who understands the existential threat, we have only to wait for the next atrocity.

Mark H. Reed, Plymouth

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And now we know the difference between homophobia and radical Islam.

Bob Huge, Edina

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The terrorist attack in Florida is blowback from at least 25 years of continuous interventionist wars by the U.S. government — wars that have almost always just made things worse.

The U.S. government then takes in the refugees it helped create, and keeps bombing the relatives of those refugees back in the home countries. Obviously, this angers some of the refugees.

It is only a matter of time until there is a similar attack in Minneapolis. You can bet the farm on this one.

Better get your permit to carry a pistol — it is the only thing you can do. U.S. government policies won’t be changing for at least another six months, if Donald Trump is elected. He seems to get it.

Matthew Nelson, Minneapolis

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It’s time to act to promote public safety and minimize the possibility and impact of a mass shooting in Minnesota. Let’s not ignore reality any more. We can’t prevent people from becoming crazy and carrying out mass shootings. Background checks and waiting periods wouldn’t have prevented the Orlando mass murder. Neither would increased availability of mental health services. And trying to explain such insane acts as being caused by terrorism, homophobia, Islamic radicalism or other motivations is pointless, as demonstrated by the Columbine, Sandy Hook and other mass shootings.

But we can prevent people who are deranged or who will kill because of hatred from buying assault weapons. Please contact your legislators and tell them to introduce or support bills to criminalize the sale and ownership of assault weapons and their ammunition in Minnesota. These weapons have no use other than to kill many people at once.

Eric Bressler, Minnetonka

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Concerning the lead letter of June 13 (“What ‘True Islam’ believes”), the “truths” enumerated by the writer read like a litany of principles found in the most accepted and tolerant of Christian religions. If so, his Islam is certainly out of step with what the world sees as Islam’s “truths” as practiced throughout the Middle East and in other areas. If the letter writer is correct, then what Islam needs in this 21st century is a complete and total reformation, and that can come only from within, from Muslims rising up and insisting on it. It cannot come from the rest of the world hoping it will happen. Christianity dealt with it in its Reformation of the 16th century. Now it is time for Islam to reform itself so the letter writer’s “truths” do not appear as little more than wishful thinking to the rest of the world.

Tom Spence, Schroeder, Minn.

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In Islam, there is never an explanation or excuse to kill anyone who is not a present grave threat, and certainly not these individuals in Orlando who were celebrating life and happiness.

On behalf of myself as a Muslim, and on behalf of the hundreds of Muslims who have expressed their extreme dismay and sadness to me as the owner of the Muslim-oriented Karmel Malls in Minneapolis, I want to express solidarity with our fellow Americans at this outrageous act of hate. “Islam” literally means peace. Such cowardice is not the Islamic way, and we condemn any violence such as this. It is truly blasphemy to twist Islamic teachings as somehow supporting such violence against any fellow human.

ISIL is a terrorist organization, one that falsely claims itself as a Muslim ideology. In fact, it has no Islamic relation whatsoever. It targets weak and uneducated individuals by offering them money and other things to commit criminal activities. ISIL is a terrorist organization that not only targets Christians, Americans and Europeans, but also has killed tens of thousands of Muslims who do not agree with its evil interpretation of Islam.

This organization must end. As a Muslim, I stand in solidarity, not only with the elimination of ISIL but also the resentment and hatred from which it was bred. ISIL is the antithesis of peace (Islam) and love, and as such is the “enemy” of humanity, Islam and the free world.

Basim Sabri, Minneapolis

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I am a pastor at a church in north Minneapolis. On Sunday morning, I listened as a 10-year-old girl described our local hospital as “the place they take everyone who gets shot.” It is where they took her brother. On Monday, one of our new members was working in the churchyard late at night. A bullet ricocheted off a tree, just missing his head by a few inches. He was caught in the crossfire of two teenagers shooting at each other.

Between Jan. 1 and June 9 (161 days), there have been 131 shootings in Minneapolis, 80 percent on the North Side. The Orlando tragedy is beyond horrible. We are challenged with issues of terrorism, gun violence, ISIL, Islamophobia and targeting the LGBT community. Could we also keep north Minneapolis in mind as we mourn our dead and work to end senseless violence?

The Rev. Kathy Itzin, Minneapolis

• • •

The unspeakable horror in Orlando has been described as “the worst mass shooting in American history” by numerous news sources, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Star Tribune’s own editorial staff. At places named Wounded Knee, Sand Creek, Blue Water Creek and others, hundreds of innocents were slaughtered. That, too, is American history.

Rick Beddow, St. Paul

• • •

Like many Americans, I felt compelled to do something following the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. As someone with a relatively rare blood type, I wanted to answer the call for blood donors to help save the lives of the injured. Yet a ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prevents me (and, in bitter irony, the majority of the community that was targeted in this attack) from making any such lifesaving donations.

In 1985, the FDA instituted a lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with other men over concerns of HIV. Last year, that ban was modified so that anyone who had abstained from sex with men for a year could donate again. This still excludes the vast majority of bisexual and gay men, including those in monogamous, long-term relationships.

The ban is based on outdated science and retrograde prejudices. Action (such as having unprotected sex) — not sexual orientation — increases the risk of contracting HIV. In any case, the FDA has implemented the Transfusion Transmissible Infections Monitoring System, which monitors blood collected in the U.S. for viruses such as HIV. The American Red Cross, among others, has characterized the blood ban as medically and scientifically unnecessary.

A thin silver lining from this tragedy would be for the FDA to end the ban on bisexual and gay men giving blood. In the wake of such loss of life, it could be one way to save many others going forward.

Tane Danger, Minneapolis