As the 101st anniversary of the armistice that ended “the war to end all wars” arrives, I’m compelled to think of a time when we almost did fight a real war to end all wars: the Cuban missile crisis. As a Russian voice intercept officer and linguist, I helped track the bombers circling at their last checkpoints before their final bombing runs on the United States. I and my fellow linguists listened to the voices of the crews waiting for their (very) final orders. We were continually aware that if the go-ahead was given, the result would likely be the annihilation of humanity. The true end of war. With the typical gallows humor of troops everywhere, we wondered whether cockroaches, as the most likely survivors, would ever be able to create a better civilization.

Back then, wiser heads prevailed. They decided war was not the answer. As then, so now. War is not an acceptable answer. It destroys rather than builds. It destroys lives, families, habitat, even sanity and trust. I pray that we can commit to building — building a better, more self-sustaining world, committing ourselves to helping rather than attacking one another and finding ways to avoid war.

It starts with one person: You’re sitting in his or her skin. Look for a way to be kind to that person next to you. Look for a way to find common ground with someone or some group with whom you disagree. Go for trying to do what’s hard, rather than what’s easy. Destruction, anger and fighting is always easier at the beginning. But in the end ... well, it could be our end.

Peter Lawson, Shoreview


Voters need numbers, Star Tribune

I was very disappointed to see that the Star Tribune chose not to publish city-by-city election results from the Nov. 5 election. Instead, the paper “directed” readers to its website to see the results. This is the first year in my memory as a subscriber that the paper did not print numeric results for all of the various elections. There were many important city races, like school board elections and school referendums, where it would have been helpful to see the actual numbers printed in the paper.

Voters deserve better — the St. Paul Pioneer Press printed actual results for the east metro area the day after the election. If the sadly understaffed St. Paul paper can do it, so can the Star Tribune.

I hope that the Star Tribune will return to its historic practice of printing the actual results for all three of the important elections to be held in 2020 — the March presidential primary, the August primary and the November general election.

Gary Cohen, Golden Valley


Stop using lead bullets and tackle

I find no joy in reading about multimillion-dollar fines for lead and other pollution, unexpected loss of jobs and decreases in IQ, which harm in the learning and development capabilities of innocent children (“Water Gremlin under more scrutiny,” Nov. 7). So when will we become the responsible adults we think we are? When will we kick the 800-pound gorilla in the rear and stop the damage? When will we quit listening to the political rhetoric and learn that serving our wildlife and children a poison to breathe and drink is not about our Second Amendment?

We are being cowards. So read about Water Gremlin. And think about who should be fined. It should be those who have their heads in the sand and deny science and somehow have been brainwashed by the National Rifle Association that banning lead ammunition is somehow a loss of our God-given rights as Americans. If you support lead in our shooting sports and fishing sports, you are a fool. History will not be on your side when they shovel dirt on your grave. Let’s solve the problem.

This from a gun club member for 20 years, a Minnesota firearm safety instructor for 20 years, a sportsman license holder for 15 years and a Minnesota resident hunter/fisherman for over 60 years.

David A. Larson, Plymouth


Whatever the risks of smoking pot, needless incarceration is worse

I’ve been hoping that someone more articulate than I would challenge Wednesday’s commentary counterpoint by Mark Mishek (“Vaping conversation needs to get real on marijuana”), which purports to be a scientific article but, well, just isn’t.

He says, “For a significant minority of the population, [marijuana] causes far-reaching problems. Every year ... the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation treats well over 1,000 people for cannabis use disorder, which is often accompanied by other substance use and mental health diagnoses” (italics mine). He goes on to say, “Almost 90% of those ages 12 to 26 in our national program for young people identified marijuana use in the constellation of problems that led them to seek help” (italics mine).

It would appear that these marijuana “problems” always come in concert with other substance abuse issues — a fact commonly ignored by those with an ax to grind, who like to say that marijuana is a “gateway drug” but fail to mention that virtually nobody ever smoked pot without having first tried — and usually liked — alcohol. And tobacco.

From my experience (college in the late ’60s, 40 years living in laid-back California), people who just smoke pot and don’t abuse alcohol or other drugs seldom if ever have problems with it. Let’s not muddy the issue. Incarcerating people for using marijuana is expensive, useless and far more damaging to the “offender’s” life than smoking anything could ever be.

Steve Hoffmann, Anoka


Privacy or justice? I want the latter

Thursday’s Star Tribune contained an article relating how law enforcement obtained a warrant to search the ancestry database (“Warrant let detective search genetic database”). New York University law Prof. Erin Murphy decried the court-approved warrant over the objections of the database providers. She said, “It’s a signal that no genetic information can be safe. ... I have no question in my mind that if the public isn’t outraged by this, [law enforcement] will go after the mother lode: the 15-million person Ancestry database.”

I assume there will be court restrictions on the use of these databases for solving minor crimes such as theft and burglary. However, these warrants should be used in the resolution of cold-case murders and serial rapists. My choices are: I keep my information on ancestral heritage (privacy), or families and victims are given some degree of resolution of brutal crimes and perpetrators are bought to justice.

I, for one, easily choose the latter and am in no way “outraged” by this.

John Jackson, Bloomington


Dispute over art proves its value

I remember being awe-struck the first time I entered Guild Hall at Plymouth Congregational Church and saw a huge tapestry hanging there (“ ‘Hurtful’ tapestry unravels church unity,” front page, Nov. 7). It was summer, so it was a different tapestry than the Thanksgiving-scene one currently under debate. Nevertheless, it inspired both awe and wonder. And that is exactly where the intersection of art and the church should be — to inspire wonder.

For me, viewing the intricate and beautiful designs on the “Churchmen in the New World” tapestry is a wondrous experience. For others, they may wonder why it is there or who or what it represents. All of those reactions are appropriate. That is the hallmark of a successful work of art. Let it stay.

Henrik Nordstrom, Minneapolis



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