Article about dangers cherry-picked its facts


A Sept. 26 Short Take regarding the human papillomavirus vaccine ("Media should take a closer look") did more to incite hysteria than to inform readers of the vaccine's negative effects.

The article's author provided statistics about complaints related to the HPV vaccine without any context and with a clear bias.

For example, she failed to mention that the vaccine has been given an estimated 40 million times. Only one in every 2,000 persons being vaccinated reported adverse effects, and fewer yet reported severe effects.

The article provided no context for the chances of the vaccine and the adverse effects simply occurring at the same time with no causal medical relationship.

A 2009 article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that the vaccine did not result in higher adverse effects rates than did most other vaccines, except in two categories, ones that the article did not mention at all.

Some of the deaths reported after the vaccines were conclusively attributed to other issues (such as prescription-drug abuse).

Any scientific and medical misinformation that is provided to the public is a great disservice.

But biased and deliberately misleading medical information, provided by someone who clearly has all of the facts and chooses to omit some of them, is an especially egregious and sinister means to achieve a dubious goal.

With all of the medical promise of this vaccine, readers and the public deserve an honest evaluation of the vaccine, not a one-sided indictment of it.


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Permit reciprocity is fair, and not a threat


I have trained people seeking a permit to carry a firearm in Minnesota since 2003. I have certified more than 4,000 individuals for a carry permit.

When a lawful activity becomes ubiquitous, some form of interstate regulation is sometimes required to avoid inconveniencing the millions of people engaged in the activity.

Carrying a permitted firearm has become like driving a car -- so many people now do it that it seems unfair to subject them to patchwork laws and regulations that either put them at risk or deprive them of their right to protect themselves.

All these people undergo background checks when they buy firearms, and they also are screened when they receive carry permits. There is no legitimate reason to fight HR822 -- the proposed federal reciprocity legislation.

There was also no legitimate reason to oppose the use of pepper spray, chemical mace or stun guns by civilians, but law enforcement managers opposed them all. The same argument was used then as is used now: Only cops need these tools of self-defense.

That argument has been rejected so many times that it is amazing that Chaska police chief Scott Knight would still use it ("The next gun risk -- courtesy of Congress?" Sept. 24).

The real issue here is information. Law enforcement needs reliable real-time data to asses threats and protect the public. The absence of this information is not an excuse to disadvantage the law-abiding or oppose uniform regulation or reciprocity.

Real cops know this. It is only those in the politically motivated upper echelon who continue to cry wolf.


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It's even harder in this economy


The notion of family dinners is a very pleasant ideal, though as the Sept. 25 Letter of the Day suggests, our society has overscheduled itself. As an underemployed worker, I find myself working nights, and my wife works early mornings.

These opposing schedules allow for us to get our daughter to school and avoid expensive day care, all while getting the bills paid. My wife and I are both college-educated, yet we make a fraction what our skill sets would have gotten us less than a generation ago.

The sad state of our economy is producing a generation of young adults whose values cannot be quantified, because they result from necessity. Too many of our choices are already determined.


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On bears, the mall, polls, the family farm


It seems likely that Hope the bear was killed by someone who was hunting close to research bear territory ("Hope fading for a beloved bruin," Sept. 26). I do not hunt but have never questioned others' right to do so as long as they stay within the law.

Maybe this hunter did nothing illegal, but he knew where he was. My question is: How many bear hunters actually have been trying to kill this bear that millions of people adore?

Anyone who takes joy in walking over this bear's fur on the living-room floor because of her worldwide fame is a very troubled individual.


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Regarding the Mall of America doing well in these less than prosperous times ("Megamall flourishing in a weak economy," Sept. 25): Did anyone notice that the mall is easy for air travelers to get to using light rail? Surely that has something to do with its success.


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Why are the Republican straw poll results composed of votes cast by only 681 party activists in Michigan and 2,657 activists in Florida so newsworthy (Nation+World, Sept. 25 and 26)? I'll bet more votes are cast for the candidates for Minnesota's Soil and Water Conservation District boards.


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To keep matters straight, that is not the Bachmann family farm ("Bachmann family farm benefits from subsidies," Sept. 25). That is the Bachmann family's farm. For it to be a family farm, a family must live there and farm it.

Owning land and renting it out does not a "family farm" make. Seemingly simple differences like that must be kept in the forefront when administering farm programs.