John C. "Chuck" Chalberg, in his Jan. 24 commentary "The 'end of history' was exaggerated," makes some valid observations about the precarious nature of democracies, and how our nation needs to move forward cautiously. However, while Chalberg is very quick to point out what he perceives as threats coming from the left, he completely ignores threats from the far right that have become very evident now.

For example, his comments about the threats posed by the extreme leftist group Antifa are certainly valid. But the FBI found no link between this group and the deadly storming of our nation's Capitol. Furthermore, the extremist right-wing groups that actually were heavily involved, such as QAnon, the KKK and the Proud Boys, were not mentioned once in Chalberg's essay.

He also claims that "Big Tech's" censorship to try to prevent more violent insurrections will somehow lead us toward totalitarian rule, as practiced by the Chinese. But, what he overlooks is the fact that this censoring was put in place by private industry, not the government, as is the case in China.

If "democracy may not prevail" as Chalberg suggests, perhaps we need to be wary of the extremes on both the left and the right if we want to avoid thin ice. And although it's never been, and never will be an easy task, finding more common ground should definitely be put on top of our nation's to-do list too.

J.R. Clark, Minneapolis
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Chalberg opines that the "mainstream media … now functions essentially as an arm of the Democratic Party." If this were true, why would the Star Tribune give Chalberg a prominent place in the opinion section? He clearly is not part of the Democratic Party.

Mary Gleason, Minneapolis
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Chuck Chalberg again. I braced myself, but no brazen assertion came until the final third of the piece. Then the ludicrous claim. A person from another planet would conclude that a bullying Democratic Party and its powerful fascist allies want to silence Trump merely for policies of a rival political party. Harmless Trumpism is threatened by the "shock troops" of Antifa. Someone needs deprogramming.

Chalberg is not speaking for Republicans in office. Few congressional Republicans or Republican governors would want another Trump presidency.

Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, Avon, Minn.

ARIK MATSON

A life altered by gun violence. And there are so many others.

The tragedy of how Arik Matson's life has changed after being shot while on duty as a police officer ("A gun shot's long echo," front page, Jan. 24) was truly moving. His career, his family, his health challenges forever. I surely wish every nightly news program and every newspaper in the country would do one story on the lives forever altered by every school, nightclub and church shooting. These stories could, of course, run for more weeks than one would care to hear or read.

We spend millions of tax dollars in the country every year on police, EMS, hospital emergency rooms, ambulance services and uncounted others to respond to these tragic shootings. Once the immediate news cycle is over, these victims are out of sight and out of mind. How many shooting victims suffer lifelong physical therapy, lifelong family hardships, lifelong career loses? Hundreds were seriously injured by the maniac in Las Vegas. Who are they? How are they? These were tourist and music fans from all over this country, and not a word on their altered lives forever.

I appreciate the Star Tribune's effort to keep the local Matson family at the forefront, but let us not have amnesia over the gun violence that has changed thousands of families' lives. We must demand sensible gun reform in this country. Meanwhile, the irony of the NRA filing bankruptcy, while its leaders collected hundreds of thousands in salaries and move to Texas in hopes of avoiding more prosecution, is not lost on anyone who reads.

Suzanne Davies, Lutsen, Minn.
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The story on the recovery, trials and tribulations of police officer Arik Matson was at times heartwarming and heartbreaking, but also anger-inducing. Why? This line from the story:

"A charity, Hometown Hero Outdoors, had gifted Arik a 'dream hunt.' Arik chose a January 2022 trip to Alaska to hunt king eiders, the rarest North American duck."

I'm no PETA or Greenpeace radical. I own guns and have hunted and fished, but to read that line was very disappointing. You would think a guy who just beat tremendous odds to survive a horrific wound would have learned to appreciate the sanctity of life. The irony, of course, is that despite his own story of survival he chose to pursue a rare animal as his choice of hunts.

I don't know, maybe I'm just reading too much into it. I guess I just expected better.

John Morgan, Burnsville

WORSHIP

A new spirit, maybe, but we suffer from diminishment of church choirs

I was saddened to read such a disappointing characterization of church choirs and their impacts in worship ("Worship adopts new spirit," Jan. 24). Church choir members provide an invaluable resource of ministering through music to congregations everywhere. When choirs are eliminated from worship life, gone is the ability for these members to minister in a way that means so much to them.

It is true that worship centers of all denominations have had to reinvent the experiences they share with their communities, never more so than during this pandemic. But for the writer to voice so carelessly that "choirs are stepping down" does a great disservice to the millions and millions of singers who have been silenced by health safety protocols for nearly a year. Worse than anything was the idea shared that with fewer choirs, worship can now feel "vibrant."

ChorusAmerica's Chorus Impact Study (2019) reports that 54 million Americans sing in a choir, with many doing so for artistic, personal, and health/wellness reasons. Singers give back to communities in significant ways — they're more likely to volunteer, donate, vote, and even run for public office themselves. Sixty-three percent responded that singing has taught them to be more accepting of people different from them.

I do not prescribe to tell any place of worship how to best serve the needs of their congregants. But I do posit that choirs enhance the vibrancy not only of worship, but also that of the communities in which they live.

Matthew Culloton, Minneapolis

The writer is choirmaster at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church, St. Paul, and artistic director of the Singers.

WORD USAGE

There's fauna and there's flora

I loved reading about the teen in Scandia, Minn., who planted flowers, scrubs and trees to save pollinators ("The butterfly whisperer," Jan. 24). However, in referring to the notebook kept by the teenager with an alphabetical listing of the plants , the article called the list fauna. It was in fact an example of flora that was planted. Perhaps the binder referred to both flora and fauna, listing the flora planted and which fauna it attracts; however, the article did not say that. Words matter, they should be used correctly.

Robin Burton Melville, Minneapolis