On an early date, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, my husband turned to me and whispered, “You know, four storm troopers with machine guns could take out most of this audience.”

I gave him a look between a gasp and a glare. “You don’t think of things like that?” he asked. “No,” I said. “It’s not normal?” he asked. “Nope,” I said. “It’s that Second Generation Holocaust Survivor thing.”

We’d been reading about children of Holocaust survivors and their inherited sense of panic. This fit to a tee.

Recently, we went to the Orpheum in Minneapolis for the opening night of “If/Then.” When we arrived, 20 minutes before curtain, the crowd huddled before the exterior doors, unmoving. It was past what should have been curtain time before we learned why: Inside, across the ornate entryway, were several metal detectors, the ones like giant, open-sided coffins standing on end. Polite and calm TSA workers (theater safety associates) told well-dressed theatergoers to empty their pockets of metal and to place phones and purses in small, plastic baskets. As we waited, I turned back to the crowd and said, “Please put your liquids in small plastic bags,” then realized by the horror on their faces that people didn’t know I was joking.

Finally, we walked through, but not before being wanded. It wasn’t until we were inside that I thought of my husband’s much earlier comments.

In the shadow of the attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, in the shadow of near biweekly mass shootings in this country, we have entered a new era. Now we are all Holocaust survivors’ children. I shudder at the thought.

Sakki Selznick, St. Paul

ROAD USE

Tentative push for lower speed limits isn’t just a bicycling issue

The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota explored the idea of lowering the minimum speed limit in Minnesota’s communities. In our initial research, we found little consensus around how to do this. We’re disappointed that the reasons for exploring the idea — including livability of communities and the goal of no traffic fatalities for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists — have been lost in the media coverage, though it is not lost on our supporters across the state. Even the fact that this idea was never presented as a legislative proposal seems to be forgotten.

I would also like to correct a quote I feel was taken out of context in the StarTribune.com post about the aforementioned issue. I mentioned to the reporter that polling has shown that bicyclists are regarded as lawbreakers by a significant portion of the general public. I followed up this reference by saying that because of current perception, cyclists are not who should be leading the speed-limit change campaign. There should be a group consisting of a wide range of stakeholders — like the Complete Streets Coalition or Toward Zero Deaths — to tackle this issue, which is not only a law change but also an information-gathering and education campaign.

Dorian Grilley, Mahtomedi

The writer is executive director of BikeMN.

• • •

Regarding the March 9 story about whether Minneapolis has enough bike lanes, one might also consider asking: Does the city have enough vehicle lanes? As seen by our crumbling transportation infrastructure, current vehicle user fees and gas tax levels are not enough to sustain our network of car-oriented roads and bridges across the city and state. In an era in which government spending is so thoroughly questioned by politicians across the spectrum, why have road development costs been completely ignored as a place to question the scope of government presence? In this 21st-century economy — where people are moving back to cities, density is increasing and climate change is a universally recognized reality — it seems reasonable to consider government resources being directed toward smart, long-term investments in multimodal transportation that support the health of people and our environment while also saving governments money in the long run.

Jason Tanzman, Minneapolis

The writer is executive director of Cycles for Change, a Twin Cities bicycle education and advocacy nonprofit.

NORTHSTAR RAIL

Let’s extend it to St. Cloud, a more-obvious terminus

Let’s hope our Legislature pays attention to the GRIP/ISAIAH faith-based social justice group’s plea to extend the Northstar commuter-rail line to St. Cloud (“Transit activists lobby legislators for Northstar rail,” March 11). The idea of ending the existing line at Big Lake made as much sense as if NASA had sent the Apollo astronauts halfway to the moon.

St. Cloud has six times the population of Big Lake and many more organizations that would benefit from a speedy, all-weather rail connection to the Twin Cities. Air travelers would enjoy easier access to Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport, and St. Cloud residents in general could more easily attend Twins, Vikings or Gophers games, Orchestra Hall, the Guthrie Theater and many museums. Add the easy connection to St. Paul and state government centers via the light-rail Green Line, and it becomes obvious where increased Northstar ridership and revenues will come from.

It’s time for the Legislature to find a way to complete Northstar to St. Cloud so it can meet (and likely exceed) its full potential. The central region of Minnesota deserves nothing less.

Bill Steinbicker, Minnetonka

 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Rename a small stretch of street? Big deal! (But then …)

I clicked the click-bait when I read “Vikings object to stadium-area street named after rival” on StarTribune.com. Could the football team really be asking for more and something so petty? Reading the article, you’d think the team was trying to strong-arm the city into renaming the entirety of Chicago Avenue all the way to the Crosstown. Reviewing the application, however, one quickly realizes that the Vikings are asking only for a one-block section north of the light-rail tracks to be renamed, and it doesn’t seem like such an egregious request. The team and its billion-dollar stadium make for an easy villain, but this is the type of sensationalism I’d expect from a tabloid. You can do better, Star Tribune.

Zach Schwartz, Minneapolis

• • •

If officials can find justification for not renaming Lake Calhoun, which is named after one of the worst proslavery advocates our country had, then there might be good reasons not to rename Chicago Avenue also.

Harry Mueller, Eagan