Outlaw weapons at family block parties

One way to make sure that families don't show up to a block party is for gun advocates to bring their guns to the event ("Gun owners target family event," June 19, and "Gun group calls off 'meet-ups,' " June 21). At least, I hope that the only people who would show up would be gun advocates. They could admire each others' weapons and talk about how persecuted they are. They could take their own paranoia to an even higher level. I know of no common-sense, rational family who would attend that kind of "family block party."


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Out of curiosity, I recently attended a "handgun essentials" course sponsored by Midwest Carry Academy and taught by a National Rifle Association instructor. The theme of the presentation was "the only thing that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun." While I do not question the motive of any participant at the course, I felt the instructor fed on the paranoia of family protection, and "Second Amendment and liberty supporters." People who feel they need to carry a gun at family events are not normal people. Legislative action needs to be passed to outlaw guns at family events.

JERRY SOVELL, Minneapolis
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Giving thanks for the U.S. military's service

I recently participated in the American Legion Boys State of Minnesota. It was a great experience learning more about Minnesota's cities and counties, as well as state politics. The speakers talked about integrity, trust and many topics about being greater than self. After this experience, I'm all the more grateful for the men and women who have served and are serving in the U.S. military. They've protected our freedoms and our great country.

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The difference between wants and needs

Thank goodness that the University of Minnesota has frozen undergrad tuition. Now these students can afford luxury apartments ("Student apartments go upscale at the U," June 15). Assuming that they will graduate in four years, they will have only accumulated $30,000 in debt while thinking, "I have grown to expect apartments to be so luxurious because that's all I've really ever known." Maybe these student need an exposure to Econ 101. A banker may be somewhat reluctant to underwrite a loan to someone with great aspirations, overwhelming debt and no assets.

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Seriously, what's the point of the program?

What problem is Teach for America attempting to solve ("Teach for America faces new obstacle," June 20)? Shortage of motivated qualified teachers? We have no shortage of teachers. I'm sure there may be some qualified TFA teachers, but I doubt that a person who has spent four or five years studying a discipline and then at the end of that period participates in five weeks of "intensive" training in education can match the skills of a person who has spent four or five years studying a discipline directed at their topic and the science of education. TFA makes as much sense as taking art history majors who cannot find jobs and giving them five weeks of "intensive" training to make them family physicians in out state Minnesota.

JIM STRAND, Plymouth
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Democracy still intact, other problems abound

Kudos to Thomas Friedman for his rational approach to the National Security Agency leaks and the aftermath ("This surveillance keeps our society open," June 13). Obviously, we all have perceived demons as to the biggest threat to our well-being. For some it is our government, although the last time I checked it's still the government of, for and by the people. Certainly we must be ever vigilant that it doesn't become simply the government of, for and by the wealthy or the military/industrial complex. I personally believe the biggest threat to humankind is the intolerance preached by many of the world's cultures and religions toward other people. This intolerance breeds hate and violence that leads to acts such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I still maintain that our democratic government is the best thing we've got going for us.

MARK GRAY, Waseca, Minn.
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10-year-old recipient given a fair chance

The court victory for the family of Sarah Murnaghan leveled the field for their daughter ("U.S. transplant network resists lung rule changes," June 11). They didn't demand the next available set of lungs. They also made sure that the severity of their daughter's illness was taken into consideration on an equal level with that of the adults awaiting donor lungs. Sarah must have been sicker than the next tissue-matched person. That is the way the system should work. Sarah didn't snatch life from someone else; she was granted an equal chance at life.

BECKY HUEBNER, Mendota Heights

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'Glass-half-empty' is no way to wind down life

Life only winds down in retirement if you let it. I have found new life in volunteering and in part-time jobs I really enjoy ("Retired at last! Oh, the joy. The dread," June 9). Retirement can be a very rewarding evolution in life.

KIRK VOGLAND, Bloomington