I have to admit I was disappointed in reading that a Dakota County jury found the Final Exit Network Inc. guilty of assisting Doreen Dunn in the taking of her own life (front page, May 15). Knowing that the only outcome to my life, and the life of any living entity on this planet, is death, I am dismayed that we would punish anyone who is willing to bring love, caring, compassion and, most important, companionship to such an event. Sans the whole “burn in hell” postulation, I don’t understand what purpose our belief that death is terrible serves for us. I am hoping that my death and the death of my loved ones will be a wonderful experience. Another jury, this one in Boston, believed it was delivering the maximum punishment to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber, and sentenced him to death. Death is a punishment? Life as a prisoner is a reward? I hope not.

I think the Dakota County jury’s decision only sets all of us back on a movement that is gaining ground through knowledge, understanding and courage. More and more states, like Oregon and others, have positioned themselves to address the quality of life/right to die initiative, and I think it’s time Minnesota does the same. We need to change our laws. I’m 55 and I know I won’t live forever, and neither will anyone anywhere. When my time comes, I hope the resources and options are there to ensure that my last days, hours, minutes and seconds can and will be, ideally, a wonderful experience, but more realistically, a less fearful one. I’m glad someone was there for Doreen.

Christopher Morgan, Plymouth

AMAZON IN SHAKOPEE

It’s a relief to know that no tax subsidies will ensue

I believe that buying local is important. Locally owned businesses reinvest in our community, pay local taxes and provide local jobs. Although they seldom ask for much assistance, locally owned businesses deserve tax relief much more than multinationals like Amazon.com.

For this reason, I was very happy to hear that neither the state of Minnesota nor the city of Shakopee will be giving any direct subsidies to Amazon for its new distribution center (“Amazon to build without tax help,” May 20). This development, which will enable Amazon to begin offering next-day delivery throughout the Twin Cities, will make life even more difficult for our locally owned retailers. This is not the type of economic development that deserves help from taxpayers.

I hope that other communities will learn from Minnesotans and realize that Amazon does not need subsidies in order to compete. And, I hope that small businesses in other communities will organize and oppose these types of subsides, as the Metro Independent Business Alliance did here in the Twin Cities.

I’m sure that this is only the first battle in Minnesota against subsidies for Amazon, which will likely be opening additional warehouses in other corners of the Twin Cities. But they should know that local businesses are watching and will not stand idly aside while Amazon tries to raid public money.

John Mannillo, St. Paul

 

BEES

If they could vote, one suspects, they’d vote in their interests

President Obama’s order that federal lands be managed to help bees and other pollinators (“Feds throw bees a lifeline,” May 20) reminds us how important it is to have a president from the Democratic Party.

Can one imagine any of the current Republican candidates taking action to protect species or encourage biological diversity? No — at least not unless ordered to do so by a higher authority: Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers or Benjamin Netanyahu.

Paul Nelson, St. Paul

 

WORKING IN GROCERIES OR FAST FOOD

These jobs are illuminating on people’s waste and sugar habits

In response to the May 15 column by James Lileks on the ethics of plastic bags — “Defending plastic bags (which are indefensible)” — why don’t all states charge consumers for using plastic bags? I am not sure why they would be free in the first place; people tend to take advantage of things that are free. I work at a grocery store, and it annoys me when people ask me to double-bag their milk when one bag would be perfectly fine, or to put their bag of apples (which already has a handle) in another bag. “Oh, and will you put the oranges and bananas in separate bags?”

The average American generates 4.3 pounds of waste daily, and that is because so many of us don’t think about the impact of these little things. I agree that plastic bags should be banned or charged at a price of at least 10 cents each, and that the money raised should go toward environmental cleanup. Perhaps that would force people to realize what they are doing.

Aleesha Slattengren, Esko, Minn.

• • •

As a current employee in a fast-food chain, I am exposed to and appalled by the amount of pop ordered for young children and teens. The removal of soft drinks seems more than reasonable (“No more pop on the kids’ menu at Dairy Queen,” May 15). Soft drinks are a large contributing factor to obesity in a lot of cases. Simply removing them as a main option on a menu seemingly will make parents less susceptible to order something with an extra cost.

Anna Fossen, Cloquet, Minn.

 

THE LEGISLATURE

Missed opportunities on ‘conversion therapy,’ campaigns

I am disgusted that banning conversion therapy has not been made a priority by all legislators. There is absolutely nothing medically sound or therapeutic about this maltreatment. Don’t believe me? The American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and others also oppose gay conversion “therapy.” We have a clear understanding that there is — I reiterate — nothing scientific about this psychological abuse. Legislators need to stop being cowards and act strongly to prevent our youths from being abused by conversion “therapy.”

Hunter E. Cantrell, Savage

• • •

Although one might certainly question Doug Hughes’ decision to land a gyrocopter on the U.S. Capitol lawn to draw attention to the corrosive influence of money in politics (Opinion Exchange, May 19), his point that its pernicious effect on our democracy should be at the top of concerns is sound. At the very least we should know who is influencing our government, but in Minnesota, secret contributions are still permitted. The Republican-led Legislature in Montana recently passed a comprehensive disclosure law. Why is this so hard to accomplish in Minnesota, when the public overwhelmingly supports disclosure?

George Beck, St. Louis Park

 

SUBURBAN SPORTS COMPLEXES

Probably there’s waste, but an exception is swimming pools

Two May 17 letters questioned whether suburban sports complexes are necessary. For many activities, they are not, and I agree that one can get lots of exercise without spending a dime. However, when you are talking about swimming, this is not true. In Minnesota, we may get three months of usable outdoor water. We need pools so that teaching swimming can be done year-round. When I was growing up in northeast Minneapolis, there were pools in many neighborhoods. There is a crying need for one in north Minneapolis now. Teaching swimming skills is lifesaving, not just recreational. And children of all ages can benefit from the fun of being comfortable and safe in water.

AnnLiv Bacon, Edina