Dear people of Winnipeg:
I have been thinking of you a lot lately. There you are, in a prosperous city on the vast Canadian prairie, just north of Minnesota. I know so little about you, yet I admire you so much! Down south in Minnesota we have been enduring what we call “The Winter from Hell.” It all began with unusually warm temperatures that produced rain, not snow. That made us worry. After that we were blessed with freezing rain and ice storms. The hospitals were full of people with broken bones. We started complaining. Then winter’s wrath came on full force: We had huge snowstorms, and temperatures that plunged way below zero, with windchills all the way down past 50 below. This treacherous weather has continued week after week, with motorists and train passengers stranded for days, fishermen stuck in icehouses on Lake Mille Lacs, and a driver who, in an encounter with an elderly bus driver maneuvering to get on the highway, shot and wounded the man (that happened when our winter hell had only just begun). The incident of the bus driver inspired a lot of soul-searching. It reminded us that in order to survive, we must be more patient. Those of us who are not fortunate enough to take lovely tropical vacations feel pretty sorry for ourselves right now. But when I think of all of you, dear neighbors to the north, I am humbled. The weather reports show that almost every day you guys have temperatures way below zero — and yet I don’t hear a peep out of you! Not a grumble or a complaint. You set a fine example of steady endurance in the face of endless, bitter cold. I’d love to visit you sometime and get to know you. But I think I’ll wait until summer!
Katie Villaseñor, Minneapolis
Students, schools are not ‘props.’ They have a serious stake in this.
The comments made by state Rep. Cal Bahr stating that gun-control advocates should be “kicked to the curb and stomped on and run over a few times” are obviously abhorrent (“Hundreds rally for gun rights at Capitol,” Feb. 24) — but equally abhorrent are the comments made by one of the state’s chief gun lobbyists defending Bahr. “Had [House Democrats] chosen not to use students and schools as a prop for their anti-gun agenda, this entire issue could have been avoided,” said Bryan Strawser, chair of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, in a statement Saturday.
Who does Strawser think is fueling the renewed push for sensible gun legislation? I challenge him, or anyone else, to specify with proof which student walkouts that have occurred in the past year in Minnesota over school safety and gun violence were not initiated by real students and/or teachers.
Whether you support or oppose them, students and teachers are leading this movement of their own accord nationwide, in the same way that gun owners are leading the opposition. Strawser and the gun-rights crowd should stick to the facts and recognize that the opposing side is made up of real constituents and motives, not “props.”
Ryan Bach, Plymouth
• • •
There is another part of Bahr’s statements that puzzles me (“Legislator says gun-control comments were misconstrued,” Feb. 26). We’ve heard it before by those who oppose background checks for gun purchases and other common-sense safety measures. Bahr claims that the right to bear arms is “God-given.”
At church services I’ve attended, I do not recall mention of God providing guns. Rather, I’ve heard biblical passages that discourage violence, like Isaiah 2:4 and Micah 4:3: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” Additional favorites of mine: Romans 12:18 (“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”) and Hebrews 13:8 (“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”) Jesus, of course, notably encouraged “turning the other cheek.”
However, another Bible reader might counter these passages with stories of the vengeance of a wrathful God. They might quote Joel 3:10, where we find a familiar phrase stated in reverse: “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.”
That’s the trouble with trying to prove the Bible is on your side of an argument. Someone else will always find another passage to counter yours.
Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights
TRUMP AND KIM JONG UN
Love is all around, now that the dirty work has been done
Upon his arrival in Vietnam, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was met with “so much love!”
At the same time, a report in the Star Tribune disclosed that last year Kim Jong Un had exiled, imprisoned or executed 50 to 70 members of North Korea’s political elite (“From pariah to guest of honor,” Feb. 26).
Where’s the love?
Patrick G. Churchill, White Bear Lake
AMY KLOBUCHAR’S WORKPLACE MANNER
I once had a very tough boss, too, and it helped me find my best
Although I don’t know U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, I have followed her career and, now, her vilification as the boss from hell. I was glad to see some of her staffers come forth with a much more balanced view of their relationship with her. One of the toughest bosses I ever had turned out to be my greatest mentor and, ultimately, one of my closest friends. She demanded excellence of those she knew could “bring it” and had no patience for those who didn’t live up to their potential or who simply didn’t have the requisite skills. I would never have known what my personal best was had it not been for her pushing me to my limit. My dear friend — and former boss from hell — passed away in November but lives on in how I continue to challenge myself to learn and grow, always striving to be a little better today than I was yesterday.
Jean Hanvik, Burnsville
DRIVER AND VEHICLE SERVICES
Citizens, you do have agency …
Regarding the Feb. 23 letter complaining about notification, or lack thereof, of license tab renewal (“Who could possibly navigate this convoluted scenario?”), it is unfortunate the writer feels that way. It sounds like you have had the situation for years where you knew the need for annual tabs. While a reminder letter would certainly have helped, ultimate blame is on the car owner. The writer, who must have known the need for annual renewal, takes the approach of “not my fault,” but perhaps we are at a stage where we can’t rely 100 percent on reminders and it is up to us. I hope young people out there don’t expect notification of homework or chores to explain why something didn’t happen. Darn government — can’t get it right for holding/not holding our hands as we proceed with life!
Carl Peterson, Hopkins
ROYALS AND REALITY
… as do Moroccan students
Fluffy British royal news has its place, but I question the information value of “Royals inspire girls in Morocco to go to school” (Feb. 25, page A2).
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex played no role in inspiring rural Moroccan girls to attend school. The students and their families took that step themselves, by enrolling at the secondary boarding school the royals visited in the Atlas Mountains.
Not only was the agency of the girls not recognized, they were not even in the accompanying photograph, which instead showed the daughters of the British ambassador to Morocco welcoming the royals.
It’s great that celebrities draw attention to the importance of girls’ education, but the people of the country doing the work to advance it should be credited for their efforts, despite the many economic and social obstacles they face.
Nahid Khan, Brooklyn Center