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Thank you, Star Tribune, for the special section covering the memorial service and honoring the two Burnsville police officers and the firefighter/paramedic who died in the line of duty on Feb. 18 ("'Rest easy, brothers,'" Feb. 29). I hope your coverage provides some comfort to the loved ones of Paul Elmstrand, Matthew Ruge and Adam Finseth, the first-responder community at large, and the great many of us in the public who are mourning the loss of public servants we never met.

It was not quite "a day of bitter cold," however. It was a day not to notice the temperature as three hearses rolled by, followed by more than 1,400 vehicles loaded with people who have answered the call to be there for the rest of us. It was a day to wave our appreciation and receive acknowledgment in the form of returned waves, thank-yous from rolled-down windows and the occasional siren blast.

It was a pretty warm day, actually.

Jim Kaufmann, Burnsville


The encomiums for the three emergency responders in the special section of Thursday's paper ("'Rest easy, brothers'") were moving and deserved. I only wish that every victim of violence facilitated by our lax attitude toward firearms received the same level of media attention and sympathy. If so, these three and countless others might not have died in vain.

Timothy R. Church, St. Paul


I could not help but weep reading the expanded section of the Star Tribune covering the deaths of our "three fallen heroes." Could their lives serve as a beginning to help heal our responder community? Can we learn to appreciate the loyal and dogged sense of duty among so many of those who persevere, despite a crisis in their collective identity? We are so in need of that healing. May the spirits of those we lost lead the way.

Emanuel Gaziano, Minneapolis


The memorial in Burnsville yesterday made me teary-eyed and put a lump in my throat, as I'm sure it did for the many thousands who were there. But if the same number of our first responders in uniform were to organize a showing, in uniform, of the same size to protest the sale and use of all assault weapons in our country, I would hope our cowardly, business-as-usual, gun-lobby-enchanted lawmakers would get the message. How many innocent, wonderful people, from little first-graders to elderly grandparents, need to be mowed down before things change one iota in this gun-crazy country?

Anne Baynton, Cambridge


Now it's Moriarty's turn

Regarding "3 young people arrested in string of robberies": Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara described the protocol to reallocate limited police resources to violent crime sprees and the arrest of three juveniles. Good plan, thank you; you've done your job well. Now we need the county attorney to do hers.

I would call for a clarification of the chief's comment that "if you happen to be a victim of one of these crimes, remember that property can be replaced." If the admonition to not resist or fight back is meant to prevent escalating the violence and the likelihood of victims getting injured or killed, then he's spot on; it is only replaceable property.

But Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty should not take the "only property" comment to mean that armed robberies by juveniles are minor crimes when it comes to convicting and sentencing these types of offenders. The lost property is trivial compared to the huge mental distress suffered by victims. In many cases, years of flashbacks, replaying the event over and over, loss of feeling safe and secure, and PTSD are what victims deal with long after the juvenile offenders have served their sentences. Remember the large number of victim impact statements that document exactly this. Remember this when issuing no or minimal sentences for juvenile offenders like these. You are our elected official. Don't let your public defender past history dominate over the current need for harsher sentencing to keep them off our streets.

Voters would do well to follow the performance of all elected officials, including our county attorney.

James Bukstein, Minneapolis


Voters aren't lawmakers — by design

It is not a good idea to change the city charter to allow voters to directly change laws ("Mpls. City Council to field comment on changing charter," Feb. 29). The problem is that the laws may not be well designed or compatible with other laws. Direct democracy has caused trouble in California. Proposition 13 put strict limits on tax increases. Proposition 98 requires a minimum of the state budget to be spent on education and guarantees annual increases in the state education budget. While limiting tax increases and guaranteeing education spending both sound like good things, the combination removes control from the Legislature and can result in budget deficits.

There is a reason we have representative government and not direct democracy. Making good laws requires deliberation, considering the pros and cons. It is not uncommon for laws to cause unexpected side effects. That will be more common if voters can directly change laws.

James Brandt, New Brighton


Paying extra all over the place

That's great that the Minnesota Legislature is working to address the problem of buying tickets while understanding all the associated fees. See the front-page article on Feb. 29, "T. Swift fiasco inspires ticket price proposal."

One of the major problems with getting tickets, especially for high-demand shows, is that ticket scalping is legal in Minnesota. Scalping used to be illegal. Being able to charge above face-value drives buying by "bots." It even encourages the average citizen to buy more tickets than they need, hoping to make a buck by reselling.

If the public is paying taxes to fund stadiums and other venues, plus is paying extra for tickets, then they are paying twice. Why are venues and ticket resellers able to make a profit off of the average citizen taxpayer who helped pay for the venues in the first place? There ought to be a law!

Peter Berglund, St. Paul


Reading about Rep. Kelly Moller trying to get Taylor Swift tickets sounds like trying to get camping reservations at our Minnesota state parks. Maybe she could work on that also. Like leaving 50% of sites open until maybe two weeks before. And a stiffer penalty for canceling a reservation.

Terrance Wood, Elk River, Minn.


Well, I wouldn't put it that way ...

A story, "More kids checking out chess," from Feb. 22, reports that scholastic chess is now cool, whereas it used to be for "nerds."

I don't know. When I was part of the Washburn teams winning championships back in the early 1960s, we were super cool. Admittedly, it wasn't widely known, as we kept our "coolness" on a strictly need-to-know basis.

John K. Trepp, Minneapolis