The Oct. 4 Star Tribune editorial “A chilling look at veterans suicide data” is indeed chilling. Suicide rates among veterans are 50 percent higher than the rate for nonveterans in the same age group. Experts call the rising suicide rate from 2005 to 2016 an “epidemic.” The conclusion of the editorial lists a number of measures — such as more staff, a national three-digit number to access the Veteran Crisis Line, even the use of cannabis — to treat veterans’ trauma and pain.
Disturbingly, however, the obvious cause of the veteran suicide escalation is not even mentioned, let alone addressed. The culprit, plain and simple, is war. Seeing people enduring pain and anguish, especially if they are civilians or children, is exceedingly traumatic. It can and does ruin lives. Since 1965, our veterans have witnessed 2 million to 3 million people suffer and die, some civilian, some armed, in our wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan. None of these countries threatened U.S. soil.
My dear brother-in-law could not go to sleep without drinking a six-pack every night for 20 years after returning from his tour in Vietnam and, now in his 70s, still suffers debilitating bouts of PTSD. There are millions like him, many who suffer much worse trauma than we nonveterans can even imagine. When do we stop documenting the soaring suicide rate and do the only thing that will make a real difference? Stop the wars, stop the killing, unless America is directly under threat.
Dean DeHarpporte, Eden Prairie
If only we debated the facts in a legitimate search for the truth
Debate is a good way to get the facts out in the open and let Americans make up their own minds. Unfortunately, there aren’t many real debates in politics these days, just a lot of accusations.
In Rochester on Thursday, President Donald Trump called Democrats the “party of crime” (“President urges voters to turn Minnesota red,” Oct. 5). Great! Bring your facts and let’s debate. Democrats recently called U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh a predator. Great! Bring your facts and let’s debate.
If you are afraid to defend your point of view in front of a public audience, you still may be able to convince a few people, but the rest of us will see the naked emperor.
FREDERIC J. ANDERSON, Minneapolis
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There’s an Alcoholics Anonymous saying that goes: “It is gratifying to be cured of an affliction, but it is terrifying to be divested of a crutch.” President Trump’s connection with his base is easily understood if one views Trump as the crutch to his codependent base, and his base as the crutch for Trump’s insatiable ego.
I am not anti-Trump as much as I am pro-truth. Given that Trump has lied, told half-truths and given false or misleading statements more than 5,000 times since he took office, it’s easy to not trust or value the blatherings of a hyperbolic, narcissistic, sociopathic liar.
The only reason Trump gets away with this behavior is that his base instinctively knows who they’re dealing with. He’s just another helpless “victim” with a damaged ego, and his base is enabling him, as he enables them. Everyone’s in denial of their emotional issues, so they’re free to blame all their problems on others, like Hillary Clinton, or Al Franken, or me. It’s all inside the rules of their dysfunctional, addictive game.
GARY BURT, Marble, Minn.
As final decision looms, consensus remains elusive
I’m getting tired of hearing Democratic senators say that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is not fit to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court because “he lacks judicial temperament.” Yes, he lost his temper when he was accused of sexual assault, lewd conduct and even gang rape while his mother, wife and daughter sat with him at the confirmation hearing. He should have kept cool and simply said he was the victim of a “high-tech” slander.
Judicial temperament of a nominee to the Supreme Court can easily be ascertained when the candidate has been an appellate judge for 20 years, as Kavanaugh has. During his service on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, he has heard more than 2,000 cases involving more than 4,000 lawyers. How he conducted himself in those proceedings is the best test of judicial temperament. But have the judge’s detractors even considered talking to lawyers who have appeared before Judge Kavanaugh to see how they were treated by him? No, they are far too busy grandstanding on TV to find time for such mundane activity.
RONALD HASKVITZ, St. Louis Park
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Child development scientists tell us that when very young children take delight in the game of peek-a-boo, it is because they lack “object permanence.” That is to say, when they are not actively seeing the other person, that person ceases to exist for them. Then, when that person reappears, it is like a magical reincarnation. The reason why we adults find this so cute is that we are well aware that the second person was really there all of the time. The child’s innocent ignorance, in contrast to our knowledge, is endearing. On the other hand, when grown-ups act the same way with evidence before the Senate Judiciary Committee, it is not endearing. Just because we do not see the evidence does not mean that it does not exist, and adults are expected to know better.
DAVID ROSENE, Brooklyn Park
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The halls of the U.S. Senate will long reverberate with the cries of the Democrats re: Judge Kavanaugh: “crucify him, crucify him.”
LARRY A. SORENSON, Arlington, Minn.
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A synopsis of the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh:
“FBI see rock. FBI no turn rock over.”
PAUL LARSEN, Lakeville
PUBLIC POLICY EXPERTS
Blazar and Kolderie should go on one more big-idea Minnesota tour
What a pleasure to have my morning coffee with two old friends featured in the Sept. 30 Opinion Exchange (“We will not draw only inside the lines,” and “Immigration and Minnesota: Better together,” Lori Sturdevant column). I have known Ted Kolderie and Bill Blazar for a long time, and benefited greatly from the associations — and learned a lot as well. They really are the kind of big thinkers we need to continue the tradition of the Minnesota Miracle.
Here’s an idea: Blazar and Kolderie join forces again and produce a book of essays on public policy issues. Their styles and focuses are complementary. Theory and practicality mesh in the combination. We need big ideas more than ever as we look for common ground in the years ahead.
Star Tribune editorial writer and columnist Lori Sturdevant could edit the text, something she’s a master at. And let’s cover all the bases. Your man columnist and commentary editor D.J. Tice, as evidenced by his Sept. 30 column, could weigh in with an introduction on the mystical and mythical dimensions of our thinking that so mysteriously shape our views. Our bloody history stays around forever, for good or ill. But get Blazar and Kolderie together again for one more big-idea rock tour.
CHARLES NEERLAND, Minneapolis