I can remember where I was on the day JFK was shot. On the day RFK was shot. On the day MLK was shot. On the day the Challenger exploded. On 9/11/2001. On the day Paul Wellstone died. On the day of the Sandy Hook shootings.
I cannot remember where I was on the days of the other school shootings and all the other mass shootings, because they have become far too common.
David Hauschild, Blaine
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Will the gunfire ever stop?
Not until we can stop the shooters before they shoot.
Not until all communities and families work together to make that happen.
Societal outrage is good when it leads to action.
Anger at the police is widespread, but misplaced.
Societal stigmatization of shootings is the goal, so kids and adults need to hold hands and say that shootings are not revenge or justice for anyone or anything; they are cowardly and not cool.
It’s past time for us to stop the finger-pointing and get to work.
Dr. Lee Beecher, Maple Grove
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Santa Fe, Texas, is suffering our latest school shooting, with more surely in the making. With 10 innocent victims at this writing, we wring our hands in futile horror. Supposedly, we cannot even tinker with our Second Amendment rights, which means we cannot remove even military-grade weapons from our streets. So we limit ourselves to pointless prayers (God helps those who help themselves) and honing our vocabularies for the most scurrilous word available to describe the perpetrator of the latest tragedy. We love our rights, but we’re dog-paddling in a blow-up kiddie pool, not making any progress and not having any fun.
There is, of course, no single answer to this multifaceted challenge. But we should be intelligent and caring enough to pull this conundrum apart and find places where we can effect progress. Given the fact that the underage Texas shooter had access to guns from his father, one answer might be to automatically charge parents or other significant adults whenever a child uses a gun to cause harm to another. We can sort out mitigating factors through our court system, but fear of prison up front might encourage more gun owners to keep them securely locked away.
Shawn O’Rourke Gilbert, Edina
LEGISLATIVE TAX SHOWDOWN
Is the governor’s stand on school the correct action or not?
The governor of our state had a photo op with second-graders on Thursday afternoon (“As promised, Dayton vetoes tax bill over emergency school aid funding,” May 18). It was not a positive event; it was a grandstanding event regarding the budget presented by legislators. This was a very immature act that pretty much defines his leadership. Governor, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Pat Svacina, Plymouth
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Though I voted for Dayton, his rationale to give $138 million to the state’s 553 school districts seems unwise. The governor’s comment, “Teacher layoffs are going to be draconian around the state if this funding does not go through,” raises the question: What does a one-time allotment achieve? A layoff may be avoided this year, but what about next year? Districts with budget shortfalls (59 of the 553) have funding issues that will take time to fix.
I suggest the governor focus his executive power on a longer-term issue: a fair and progressive tax reform bill that will produce economic benefits to our state and all it funds (including schools).
Paul Hager, Northfield
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The Republicans’ objection that they have given the schools increases in recent past sessions is a dodge that masks what has really been going on. Our schools have been suffering underfunding going back at least a decade (much exacerbated in the Tim Pawlenty years). The schools have been given a mandate to enroll special needs students. In the original plan the federal government was supposed to fund 40 percent of that cost. But Congress has failed to provide anywhere near that amount every year since. Actually, the amounts have been less than half that. The increasing demand for extra services has placed a huge hole in school budgets.
It is shameful that teachers are being laid off, especially in outstate areas (where Republican support is strongest), so that corporations and the wealthy can get tax breaks. Of course, that is the usual go-to strategy of the Republicans — seemingly the only cure-all tool in their box. (How’s that been workin’ out for ya out there in rural Minnesota?) These layoffs mean larger class sizes; no music classes; no gym class. Teachers should not have to be supplying basic school supplies out of their meager earnings. It’s as if the Republican donor class doesn’t want our students to get good educations. God forbid they might develop the mental faculties to see through all the GOP look-over-there obfuscations.
I totally support the governor in his effort to inject some sanity into the budget. He obviously really cares about the people of Minnesota and has no donors to answer to. I am disappointed that the Star Tribune has not focused more on the underlying issue of special needs in this debate.
Peter Murphy, Minneapolis
Court ruling provides an opening for a Minnesota tax adjustment
With the U.S. Supreme Court now justifying legalized gambling, it would be honorable, justifiable and politically beneficial for our legislators and governor to scale back on the gambling tax for nonprofits to benefit U.S. Bank Stadium and now veterans homes. By retreating to the previous method of taxation, not only would they relieve the burden on thousands of nonprofits, but local communities would reap the rewards of this decision. Our club, the Aitkin Lions Club, and hundreds like us, have this enormous burden of taxation that is depleting our gambling profits and penalizing our community. This 39 percent tax rate on our gross has amounted to tens of thousands of dollars lost out to our community and our kids.
By taxing the millions of dollars wagered every day in Minnesota, the Legislature and governor would be provided with tens of thousands more than nonprofits currently give. A win for them, for us, for our community and for our kids.
Tom Bruss, Aitkin, Minn.
Electronic cigarettes are still, quite literally, a tobacco product
The May 17 editorial was right on in supporting Minneapolis and other cities banning sales of tobacco to people under 21. The Tobacco 21 movement is an all-important step in discouraging young people from smoking combustible and vapor tobacco products. However, the statement that the “ ‘alternatives’ don’t use tobacco” is not true. The liquids used in electronic cigarettes contain nicotine that is extracted from tobacco leaf and it truly is a tobacco product. The electronic cigarette industry does not want that widely known, but it is a fact of manufacturing the product.
Dr. A. Stuart Hanson, St. Louis Park
The writer is a retired pulmonologist.