That forensic evidence indicates that the two convicted killers (Richard Matt and David Sweat) who escaped from a maximum-security institution in New York had been in a cabin of a restaurant owner, who found a jug of water and a jar of jelly on his table and saw “a man” run out the back door, says either nothing or too much (“DNA of convicts is found in cabin,” June 23). But it does say much about the arrogance on behalf of our now overconditioned and overcertain society of “CSI” lingo: Perhaps the man who was sighted running planted false evidence only to lure the police on a wild-goose chase; perhaps this very man hates the system but enjoys playing games with it; perhaps the restaurant owner is saying more than he really knows or sees for the sake of recognition; perhaps, like all the other tips, tips leading down the road to nowhere, the media wants us to believe, via the CSI lingo, we are in good hands and are not to worry.

Not to worry? I could not agree more, for, in a word, if these men have the ingeniousness to escape the certainty of our system’s security, they have the ingeniousness to always already be one step ahead of the law. In a word, they are “gone,” for they have come to understand something very priceless about freedom, something most of us either take for granted or give up in our overdependence on trust in this System of Absolute Certainty.

Keith Krugerud, Brooklyn Park

IRAN NEGOTIATIONS

Kline overstates his case about the risks of a nuclear deal

The views of retired U.S. Marine and current U.S. Rep. John Kline on a potential U.S.-Iran nuclear deal are appreciated (“What we must see in any deal with Iran,” June 25). However, Kline exaggerates the threat the deal poses to U.S. security.

First, in arguing that a nuclear-arms race will occur in the Middle East if Iran develops nuclear weapons, Kline overlooks the absence of global nuclear-arms races since the first such weapon was used at Hiroshima in 1945. Since 1945, only nine countries have developed nuclear weapons. Furthermore, similar fears of an arms race were aired when China built nuclear weapons in the 1960s (none transpired). Thus, it is questionable that a nuclear agreement with Iran will result in a different outcome. The more likely scenario is that the ending of sanctions will boost Iran’s economy and, ultimately, help stabilize a country the United States needs to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and counter China’s growing influence.

Second, nuclear weapons are defensive weapons, not offensive weapons. Countries cannot blackmail other countries with nuclear weapons, especially fellow nuclear-armed countries. Iran would not use nuclear weapons against the U.S. or its allies, because the U.S. would then incinerate Iran. Nuclear weapons serve one purpose: They are the ultimate defensive deterrent, protecting a nation’s sovereignty.

Third, every country with a civilian nuclear infrastructure is nuclear-capable. Even if Iran develops nuclear weapons, the best strategy is to contain Iran with inspections and by having the U.S. extend its nuclear umbrella to its allies in the region.

Ian Lewenstein, Vadnais Heights

 

MINNESOTA POLITICS

Writer’s advice to Republicans is a recipe for continued gridlock

Wow! Could this advice (“How Minnesota’s Republicans can beat the DFL at its game,” June 25) possibly be any less constructive or generous or cognizant of the real problem in today’s politics? Writer Gregg J. Cavanagh suggests that the Republicans should play more to the crowd. Does he mean the Tea Party? And speaking of the Tea Party, he accuses the Democrats of being absolutists about government spending, without acknowledging any of that from the GOP. He accuses the Democrats of shifting the center — a common complaint about the right. But his commentary is not really about fairness, truth or successful governing. It’s about winning, and that’s where his advice is astonishingly ignorant. He accuses the DFL Party (alone) of brinkmanship and proposes that Republicans counter it with their own brinkmanship — in other words, more of the same no-compromise, no-win gridlock. Hey, how’s that been working so far?

David Craig Smith, Minneapolis

 

CONFEDERATE FLAG

Race relations are but one of its detrimental effects

The legitimate, intense and widespread discussion over flying the Confederate battle flag in public places seems to be entirely focused on its significance and implications for race relations.

However, another serious factor also deserves consideration. Although the Confederate army fought hard and with valor 150 years ago, it was defeated, and the states of the Confederacy were reunited — by force if not in spirit — with the United States of America, where they remain. Therefore, it would seem to be entirely inappropriate, if not unconstitutional, for these states (e.g., South Carolina, Texas) to allow or condone, to say nothing of promote, the rebel battle flag in a public space.

As a raw symbol of the act of secession, this flag may be historical, but it cannot represent official state government policy, no matter what the state’s demographics may be.

John C. Green, Duluth

• • •

The Confederate battle flag is a flag of hatred, oppression and treason. In fact, it can be argued that slavery was, and is, a slow form of genocide. That makes the Rebel flag as evil as the Nazi swastika.

Kevin Driscoll, St. Paul

 

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

Court ruling is undoubtedly a fine occasion for more politics

Five bucks says that the Republicans in Congress vote to repeal Obamacare yet again next week. One wonders why the Democrats’ mascot is the donkey — the Republicans own that symbolism.

Douglas Broad, St. Louis Park

• • •

It no longer matters the wording of the law, it only matters the policy. Sad day for our Republic.

Jim Farrell, Bloomington

 

FLAVORED TOBACCO

Proposed limits in Minneapolis are in interests of young people

The June 23 article “Flavored tobacco fight heats up” talks about the tobacco industry’s attempts to stop proposed restrictions on flavored tobacco products. As a member of one of the two youth groups who took our concerns to the Minneapolis City Council, I’d like to remind people this issue is about protecting young people.

We deserve a say in what affects us. We surveyed our peers, and the City Council listened. Sometimes we feel like nobody hears us, but this council has shown respect. It heard us and took action.

On the other hand, the tobacco industry is still trying to silence us — with its deadly products, and by opposing this policy.

The industry targets young people because it needs replacements. They don’t care about us, and industry documents prove this. One tobacco rep said, “Cherry Skoal is for somebody who likes the taste of candy, if you know what I am saying.” It’s clear from this quote and others what they think about us.

We must be on to something good if the industry is working this hard to defeat us. Thanks to the City Council for hearing us and helping us fight back.

Starnisha McClellan, Minneapolis