Thank you for taking the initiative on the issue of cellphone use and driving ("Get tougher on distracted driving," Sept. 17). The fatalities caused by distracted drivers are only part of the story. One such driver forced me out of my freeway lane, causing me to crash sideways into the concrete median at 55 mph and suffer a traumatic brain injury. That was five months ago, and I still have months of treatment ahead of me.

What happened to me could happen to anyone. It is time for the Legislature to enact laws to decrease the risks of distracted driving by banning all cellphone use while driving. Ultimately, it would be in everyone's best interest.

Liane Sparrow, Minneapolis

How alarmed should we be, and is that really the right question?

Credit the Star Tribune Minnesota Poll with alarming statistics about how "alarmed" voters would be if their candidate does not prevail in November ("Most are 'alarmed' other side will win," Sept. 20). The question "How alarmed ...?" is a trap for poll respondents. It does not present a neutral starting point for their responses about the outcome of an election. Rather, the word "alarmed," like a firehouse bell call to action, creates a charged atmosphere, and forces participants to register alarm where none may exist.

There are plenty of alarming facts revolving around the contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But this poll can only be considered an incendiary device. The emotional term "alarm" is the starting point for a poll that creates dramatic and polarizing quasi-news for readers, but it fails to objectify the questions posed and thus invalidates the results.

STEVE WATSON, Minneapolis

• • •

I don't understand why anyone would be alarmed at the possibility of Hillary Clinton being elected president. Five minutes after the inauguration, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would call a news conference to state that the Republican Party's only priority is to ensure that Clinton is not re-elected. The House GOP would block any legislation that could possibly be seen as benefiting Clinton. The only bills that would pass are those that eliminate the Affordable Care Act, which would then be blocked in the Senate. Thus, there would be four more years of nothing accomplished.


• • •

Yesterday I read two items that did not mix well. One was an e-mail detailing how Trump and Clinton spew insults, call each other names, and act like whiny children. It also talked about how 62 percent of people polled want Gary Johnson included in the debates, and described the large amount of support he has among the military, young people, and certain areas of the country.

The other item was from the Star Tribune poll that focused only on Trump and Clinton. With questions like, "Which of the two leading candidates … ," the poll only served to sanction the flawed two-party system and reduce the public's faith in the claims of non-bias by mainstream media.

As the only other candidate with ballot access in all 50 states, Johnson should certainly be included in all of the polling (as well as the debates). So one outlet is pointing out the public's dissatisfaction with the current choices, and the other outlet perpetuates the current status.

bill dodge, Glencoe, Minn.

Actually, Editorial Board, I am qualified to run for office

On Aug. 1, you ran a misleading article by the Editorial Board with the online headline "Natalie Hudson is clear choice for Minnesota Supreme Court," and a summary stating that "her opponents lack her outstanding experience and temperament." Minnesota voters should know that the conclusion that I was "not qualified for the office" is wrong.

Pursuant to the Minnesota Constitution, all of the judicial candidates were qualified. Our Minnesota Constitution, Article VI, section 5, specifically addresses the qualifications, stating that a "Judge of the Supreme Court" shall be "learned in the law."

Not only am I constitutionally qualified, but I have 29 years of experience as an attorney in the trenches serving thousands of people with legal challenges before hundreds of judges. I have experience in public service as a referee in family court and as a conciliation court judge.

As for the statement that "the State GOP declined to endorse MacDonald this year," the truth is that I was recommended for endorsement by the Judicial Selection Committee, and the state GOP changed its judicial endorsement process, declining to endorse any judicial candidate at the convention. The Judicial Selection Committee was comprised of two representatives from each of Minnesota's 10 Judicial Districts. These 20 nonlawyer representatives unanimously recommended me for endorsement. However, GOP Chair Keith Downey appointed an additional two young lawyers to the committee, and only they voted against my endorsement.

Thank you for publishing a link to our website so that readers can be better informed and draw their own conclusions about the judicial candidates.


It took a good guy with a gun to stop the mayhem at the mall

If it had been "Joe Citizen" with a weapon, instead of an off-duty police officer, who shot and killed the "slasher" in St Cloud, would anti-gun Gov. Dayton, anti-gun President Obama, anti-gun liberals and the anti-gun news media have called him a "hero"?

I believe not. I think these very people would have found a reason to state that ordinary citizens should not be allowed to carry concealed weapons in malls and such areas.

Had this off-duty police officer not decided to shop that evening, would a citizen have been there with a weapon to stop the attacks? Probably not, and there might have been deaths.

Some businesses post signs that no weapons are allowed. When they do, most honest people obey, while the bad guy doesn't, leaving the honest folks open to what started to happen in St. Cloud.

Thank God the officer carried his weapon that day. More people with permits need to carry.

TED STORCK, Morris, Minn.

• • •

With all the talk about banning firearms and putting other restrictions on them, luckily there was a man with a firearm to stop a man with a knife at the mall in St. Cloud. Now I suppose there will be a big uproar to ban all knives.

JOE MAKEPEACE, Appleton, Minn.

The necessary regulations are in place to keep trails safe

The regulations defining electric-assist bicycles (allowed on bike trails) and motorcycles (not allowed) are quite specific and rational. I suppose the reader who complained about e-bikes (Readers Write, Sept. 19) also thinks that Segways, electric mobility scooters and power wheelchairs should be banned from trails because they get in his way and slow him down.

Apparently his objection to them is that there will be more people outdoors having fun pedaling instead of staying in their cars or on the couch, and he is angered/afraid of being passed. I can assure him that the little old lady who passes him at 20 mph on her e-bike is doing it all on her own, since the electric-assist is nil at that point.

JOHN OTTO, Shakopee