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Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


Thank you to the Star Tribune Editorial Board for shining a light on our unconscionable indifference to the slaughter of our innocent children. I refer to your journalistic courage in shattering the bonds of gentility that shield us from the barbaric reality of mass school shootings. The essence of your courage, which rarely appears in printed or electronic media, may be found in the following excerpt, from the May 26 editorial ("Burden of proof is on gun law resistance"):

"Imagine that you were one of the parents waiting into the night Tuesday outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, knowing what had happened inside hours before — to put it bluntly, a barrage of handgun and semiautomatic — weapon fire shredding small bodies."

Your unique focus on "weapon fire shredding small bodies" pierces the usual cloak of obfuscation shielding us from the obscene reality of how these innocent babes were left in a bloody heap of gore. A specter so ghastly that coroners take genetic samples from parents to establish the identities of their children. A specter so evil that our so-called human decency demands we shield ourselves and the brokenhearted parents from the truth.

However, the ghastly consequences of this supposed humane consideration only invites more carnage, because only the shockingly ugly truth of how these sacrificial lambs were stolen from their loved ones will expose the depraved indifference to the alleged religious values of those who frequently clamor against any regulation of guns.

These are weapons of war. They are not toys created for sport and our amusement. There is no justification for the wanton slaughter we enable through our reckless disregard of a more enlightened study of our Constitution and our idolatrous worship of a nonexistent absolute right to own firearms, absent any common-sense regulation. To date we have left that serious task to a bunch of morons. It's time we stopped hiding from these heinous outcomes. They are every bit as ghastly as denounced by the Star Tribune.

Dean Ekola, Roseville


How is it possible that I can only buy two boxes of decongestant from behind the counter, but a teenager can buy two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition as soon as he turns 18? It defies common sense.

Elaine Ruder, Minneapolis


What inconvenience would you be willing to suffer to save a life? What would it take for you to have to step out of your daily routine to protect another human being from an inexplicable violent death?

When we talk about the deaths in a mass shooting, understandably we look at it from a concrete, factual position. We look at the number of deaths and don't ever wonder if we would feel better if the death count was lower. When I first heard about the Uvalde shooting, I saw that there were two dead and many injured and felt horrible. When I got in my car two hours later and heard the count was 14 and mostly children, I felt a deeper pit in my stomach. A deeper sorrow in my heart. An increased anxiety about our society. But the point shouldn't be about needing a concrete number to know how bad we should feel. What frustrates me is the absolutist positions we as a society take to decide we can't stop all of it, so let's not try to stop any of it. Let's not reduce the death count, let's not lower the number of mass shootings, because that won't make us feel better. So let's do nothing.

So again I ask, what inconvenience would you suffer to save the life of another human? Would you sign one piece of paper? Ten? A hundred? Would you wait an additional week for your package to be delivered? Would you reload more frequently on the shooting range? Would you buy a gun that can't be modified? Would any of these be worth it to you? And would you do it without the concrete knowledge that you saved that life but could at least move forward knowing you might have? Would that be enough?

And to be clear, I am not talking about sacrifice — I am talking about inconvenience. I am not talking about losing the right to own a gun, but simply the need for extra steps in your day. We need to start now taking steps to mitigate our death rates. We need to stop thinking in absolutes and start thinking about getting better. Is it gun laws? Is it mental health access? Is it schools with a proper balance of social workers, teacher training and security? The answer is yes. Yes to all of it. Stymie the next shooter, even just a little, and maybe save one life. Maybe a lot more.

Paul Standal, St. Paul


As a country, we are reeling from yet another mass shooting, unable to make sense of the tragic loss of life in Uvalde this week when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire in a school and killed 19 children and two adults.

As a pediatrician, I don't think of this gun violence as a political issue, but rather as part of a public health crisis. Gun violence is the leading cause of death in children. This week's gun deaths were a result of appallingly easy access to assault weapons. Since the 1994 Assault Weapons ban expired, mass shootings have increased. A majority of Americans want assault weapons banned. Isn't it time to put aside political polarization and come together to protect our children?

As a pediatrician working in the hospital, I see tragedy regularly. When children are struck by a frightening disease or a traumatic injury, I reassure families, "This was not your fault. There was nothing you could have done." There is some small comfort found in the randomness of the bad luck. I have no words for the Uvalde parents. There are no words for these parents because, of course, these deaths were preventable. We should blame the gunman and the policies that allowed him to legally purchase assault weapons. Until our policies change, as a nation, we should blame ourselves. There's no comfort in that.

Nadia Maccabee-Ryaboy, Eden Prairie


Has Biden really thought about this?

Is it not peculiar that our president would announce a major change in foreign policy at a news conference and with a one-word answer? ("Biden forcefully backs Taiwan," front page, May 24, and "Biden's clarity on Taiwan is risky," editorial, May 27.)

Can we assume he has deeply analyzed the implications of antagonizing China at the same time our nation is in open hostilities with Russia? And if this is truly a change in foreign policy, will our president outline the directives he's given our military to prepare for this two-front situation? And finally, should he not have alerted his staff that he was planning to announce this policy change in a news conference so they did not immediately walk it back (even prior to asking him about it)?

Or is it just possible that this is just one more example of our diminished president making a major faux pas on the world stage? If so, you could do better in formulating your headlines.

Michael Laposky, Minnetonka