Last week, Roger Ailes, the guy who built the Fox News Channel into a conservative media giant, passed at 77 years old.

Yet, despite his success, enormous influence and wealth, he died just like so many other older Americans, from falling, hitting his head and suffering a brain injury.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-fourth of Americans older than 65 fall each year. Plus, every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. And, tragically, every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

Maybe the way Roger Ailes died vs. what he did at Fox News can help shed more light on a problem that continues to take the lives of so many of our parents, grandparents and other loved ones.

Maybe some positive awareness can be generated from his death on how seniors can avoid falling in the first place.

Breaking news: You don’t have to be a Republican, Democrat or independent to agree on that. (I think)

Neil F. Anderson, Richfield

EXCHANGE OF IDEAS

Listen, even if you don’t agree, and don’t use a broad brush

This is being written in regard to the Notre Dame students pictured in the May 22 paper (“Notre Dame graduates walk out on V.P. Pence’s address”). Walking out when a guest is about to speak is one of the rudest behaviors ever committed. This action was clearly not about principle, but more about publicity. The students knew who would be speaking. If they were truly concerned about their principles, they should not have attended their commencement. Becoming an adult is about having respect for others, not just the people you like.

Linda Grigal, Virginia, Minn.

• • •

A May 22 letter writer rails against the Senate voting record of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine (who will be speaking at a fundraiser for Womenwinning), because it does not go far enough to defend women’s rights.

Collins is widely recognized to be a moderate Republican who vociferously opposed the election of Donald Trump partly because of his misogynistic statements and lifestyle.

Earlier this month, Collins, John McCain and Lindsey Graham joined Senate Democrats in voting down an attempt to repeal an Obama-era regulation limiting the venting and flaring of natural gas at wells in the U.S., an activity that had promoted excessive release of methane gas (86 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas).

The 51-to-49 Senate vote to deny the repeal may be a watershed point. If the trio of moderate Republican senators hangs together, it could be the strongest possible antidote to the Trump agenda until the next election cycle, especially regarding his mindless environmental agenda.

John F. Hick, St. Paul

• • •

Hate is hate, and no one is immune from spewing it or being victimized by it. A May 22 letter writer (“Protesters on college campuses have a point, if we’d just listen”) seems to think that he can narrow down the categories to help his own agenda. I get that there’s an “official” definition of hate speech. However, like it or not, hate speech comes in many forms, and not just those mentioned by the writer.

None of it is acceptable, however. I’ve read and heard it from adults, postgrads, children and, most recently, from students in a high school yearbook (“Yearbook’s anti-Trump page goes viral,” May 20). Where is the outrage here? Is this what we want our schools to promote? After all, teachers/supervisors overlooked (or did they?) these comments in probably one of the most highly edited productions that ever comes out of a high school.

One student wrote of Trump: “I would like to behead him.” Some very important admirable qualities seem to be missing from this student, who, in my opinion, will have a hard time ever reaching that goal of being a productive employee, a positive force in the community or, most important, a kind, caring and thoughtful adult who respects others’ opinions, though they might differ from his. It just might be too late for him. I hope I’m wrong.

Barb Holmquist, Buffalo, Minn.

• • •

Heaven protect us from the people who want to protect us from the words of others.

The May 22 letter about protests against offensive speech on college campuses having a point suggests that while outlawing forms of speech may be a slippery slope, banning anything the writer considers hate speech might be done in an acceptable way.

Back in the days when there was academic freedom, even though I was enrolled at a somewhat conservative college, I was able to attend a campus visit by famous socialist Norman Thomas. I was an innocent freshman, but the university felt that if I was smart enough to be admitted to their institution, I was probably smart enough to think for myself. We all listened to this living historical figure who had opposed internment of Japanese-Americans and at the same time had Trotskyite affiliations. When I left the presentation, I did not immediately grab a torch and sword and run to man the battlements.

Just a few years later, TV’s Dick Cavett hosted student revolutionary Jerry Rubin. Almost literally heaven and earth were moved to stop the broadcast. When people actually heard Rubin, a funny thing happened. They stopped regarding him as either a god or demon and thought about the logic and lack of logic of the things he said.

When we ban speakers, we often make them more attractive by the very nature of their forbiddenness.

We really do not need thought police to take over control of our lives with the specious argument that they are protecting us.

Frank Malley, Minnetonka

TEACHING

Those who get a degree in the field are, in fact, professionals

A “retired board member of a successful charter school” writes (May 21) that we “need the best and the brightest teaching our children.” But she states that a teaching degree is not a “professional” degree, so she didn’t become a teacher.

Delicious example of irony here: Why would the “best and the brightest” get education degrees if they are not going to be viewed as, and treated as, professionals by people like the retired board member?

Dennis Nelson, Andover

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

‘We’re all complicit’ letter reminds us of our responsibility

Kudos to the writer of the May 19 letter “We’re all complicit in this,” and to the Star Tribune for selecting it as the headline letter. It addresses the central responsibility for the mess in our government. A successful democracy depends on every citizen voting based on making the effort to search out the facts and not taking the easy route of voting according to the pitch of a snake-oil salesman.

Dennis Andersen, Minnetonka