Dead bodies haven’t been able to make a difference in bringing congressional attention to sensible gun ownership policies. Maybe live ones will (“Rebellious Democrats demand gun-law changes,” June 24). I am grateful to the lawmakers who finally, truly made a stand — by sitting in. Resistance on the part of the GOP and the NRA to even have sensible discussions or exploration of policies we can all agree on has brought this on.

It would be so much better to have informed decisions based on research. Efforts to prevent more massacres must be multifaceted and in keeping with responsible gun ownership in the U.S. There’s misinformation and mythology on both sides, but at this point citizens are so fed up I think they hardly care what kind of laws are passed — just do something before the flags are half-mast again.

Sherry Machen, Plymouth

• • •

Minnesotans should not be proud of the Democratic representatives they have sent to Washington. There is absolutely nothing commendable about an outright attack on fundamental human rights that are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Among those being free speech (and association, which they threw away with Obamacare), due process, equal protection under the law, and so much more. The leader from Georgia thinks he is a “civil rights” leader, but apparently is working with many of the Democrats to strip all Americans of fundamental, protected, God-given human rights. Tyranny is at hand, and the potential for abuse is obvious.

Kevin Sell, Minneapolis

• • •

I don’t care what the topic is. I don’t care if they are Democrats or Republicans. These members of Congress, who supposedly pass the laws that the rest of us are supposed to follow, are not even following their own rules and are acting like 5-year-old brats in the supermarket by sitting on the House floor to disrupt business. How can any government in the world now take the U.S. seriously? Every individual involved in this idiotic action needs to be voted out or recalled from office.

Bret R. Collier, Big Lake

• • •

By voting to override President Obama’s veto of the attempted block of his fiduciary rule during the gun-control legislation sit-in, House Republicans showed that ensuring that seniors can be cheated out of their retirement savings is much more important to them than any effort to limit an insane person’s ability to commit mass murder. What a disgrace!

Paul Oman, Brooklyn Center

• • •

I’m not sure why we poor, downtrodden members of the general public are so surprised at the antics and lack of productivity coming out of Congress. After all, we have a representative form of government. I think our House and Senate alike are representing us perfectly.

For proof, I would offer this: Anyone who suggests over social media that Donald Trump might not be the best option for the U.S. presidency or that we should be able to find some common ground on the issue of gun control is met in response by derision, profanity and the continued cloistering of those who hold ardent opposite opinions. There is no opportunity for common ground and polite discourse, just name-calling and truth-stretching.

In short, if we want our members of both houses of Congress to work together on the issues troubling America, perhaps we Americans should model the behavior we expect from them. Just a thought.

Tim Anderson, Eden Prairie


Money spent on superintendent and on teachers: Contrast

Almost $800,000. That’s what someone walking away from the superintendency of the St. Paul Public Schools will receive. What a slap in the face of not only the teaching staff in St. Paul, but of all teachers across the state.

Do you know how long a teacher, someone who actually “teaches” kids face-to-face, will have to work in the classroom to approach making a million dollars? But, you can take this to the bank come next negotiation-time: “We’re broke. We can’t afford to spend any money on our teaching staff!” Wait! The St. Paul School District already has a deficit coming this school year. If it weren’t so sad, this would be comedy.

Jim Stromberg, Edina

• • •

The June 23 article “Silva produces sticker shock” notwithstanding, I thought Jean O’Connell’s Opinion Exchange article in the same issue (“Why I quit the St. Paul school board”) was excellent, both about the controversial departure of St. Paul superintendent Valeria Silva and the interim appointment of John Thein.

Having lived in Roseville for several years, I have become well aware of the great work Thein did as superintendent of Roseville schools before his recent retirement. The St. Paul school board is very fortunate to have engaged him as interim superintendent, and I strongly suggest that if he and the board are in sync during the interim period, the board ask him to become a candidate for the permanent position.

But whoever becomes the next permanent St. Paul super, let’s make sure that at long last the choice will be made on the basis of merit. We have seen the disastrous results when such important appointments are made to conform with wrongheaded political correctness and Minnesota Nice.

Using the guidelines of meritocracy would be just super.

Willard B. Shapira, Roseville


This veteran is glad he stayed

The lead letter on June 23 is from a veteran who calls Minnesota not a great state and is leaving. OK, bye now. I chose to stay. My kids are well-educated and have great jobs. When I got discharged, Minnesota gave me a $500 Vietnam veterans’ bonus and helped me to get enrolled in college. When I got discharged, Minnesota had veterans’ centers at the airport and colleges that we could go to sometimes to avoid a hostile civilian population. My wife of 35 years and I are recently retired and have a huge bucket list of things we want to do and see in this great state. And as a fellow veteran, I want to say to the June 23 letter writer: Quit smoking, if not for yourself, then for (as you say) your future family. I did.

Greg Bolton, Brooklyn Park


Maybe too many in circulation. How many are in your cabinet?

I read the recent Associated Press article about Medicare recipients and opioid prescriptions with concern but also some questions. I do not doubt whatsoever that there is a crisis in the U.S., especially compared with usage in other countries. However, statistics have the potential to be misleading.

As I look at my own medicine cabinet (both my wife and I are a few years beyond 65), I see bottles of opioids that have been prescribed over the past several years for dental and oral surgical procedures, ENT surgery, and arthroscopy of the knee. In most instances, 30 tablets were prescribed; in every instance, no more than two tablets from any of the bottles were used.

Perhaps reports generated by Medicare and other overseeing agencies could more accurately reflect the issue by teasing out where opioid prescriptions are coming from, as well as the amount dispensed, and thereby allow a more specific focus on interventions that may limit abuse on both sides of the problem — the writer and the abuser.

And now I will go through the cabinet and do a little culling and cleaning and dropping off at a disposal site.

Paul Waytz, Minneapolis