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There is no grandiosity in U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger's comments about the gravity and significance of his party's absolute refusal to participate in the Trump riot investigation ("Get to the bottom of Jan. 6 invasion," editorial, July 28). Elsewhere in today's paper we hear again of Kinzinger's fellow Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia calling that mob "a normal tourist visit" ("'This is how I'm going to die,'" front page, July 28).

Of all the footage I've seen from the Jan. 6 insurrection, none is more disturbing than the clips showing young white men howling "Nancy!" as they raced through the halls of Congress, trying to get ahold of the speaker of the U.S. House. They sound, and act, like characters in a bloody horror film, deranged criminals intent on barbaric rape and murder. Yesterday's testimony of the heroic Capitol Police and other officers and of the mob's intended prey, members of Congress, makes it clear murder was in the air that day.

And not just that day. Their instigator, the ex-president, had been calling what was coming "wild" day for weeks. This was no Shays' or Whiskey Rebellion, distant skirmishes in the long-ago wilderness. These events were summoned by a sitting president and took place inside the Capitol building itself, aimed at one of the few events actually prescribed in our founding document: the peaceful transfer of power by election.

No apologies necessary, editors, for Rep. Kinzinger's desire for our major parties and for all Americans to get to the bottom of these events. We owe that to each other, to our police and to Congress. And yes, as Kinzinger said, to "the generations before us who went to war to defend self-governance."

James McKenzie, St. Paul


On the day that hearings began to investigate the deadly insurrection at the Capitol, the Republican House leadership and most of its caucus has chosen to push delusion and lies in fealty to Donald Trump rather than stand with America. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy actually tried to blame Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the attack as the hearings opened. This absurd position is akin to claiming that Franklin D. Roosevelt bombed Pearl Harbor and Winston Churchill bombed London during World War II, while asserting that Lincoln's assassination was his own fault because he shouldn't have gone to the theater that night. How anyone would trust the modern GOP to take out the trash, let alone have a responsible position of authority in our great country, is beyond me.

Kelly Dahl, Linden Grove Township


History is rife with examples of organizational blunders, incompetence, self-dealing, corruption, etc., whether by government, corporations, the military and virtually any organization of appreciable size. If the malfeasance is not obvious to a casual observer, leaks from those seeking retribution or those seeking glory via attribution eventually make them so. Flaws of all kinds are built into human affairs, both individually and collectively.

Flawlessness exists only in God and in conspiracies like the "rigged" 2020 elections — so vast, so complex, so airtight, so efficient, so diabolical that no proof can be found that they even exist. Which seems to be the proof to many that they must exist. For those, the "theory" in "conspiracy theory" is honored only in its dismissal. For them it is an unassailable fact. And, frankly, "theory" is an insult to the word, used instead as an unearned, false and dressed-up term for wishful thinking and paranoia.

Anything offering the appearance of perfection in our mistake-prone and/or self-dealing human condition should carry a clear warning: Beware. Perfection, in fact, is a conspiracy's Achilles' heel, the very quality that makes it unbelievable. This is why conspiracies without solid, verifiable proof require fantasy-prone "believers" to keep them breathing.

Fantasy football, fantasy baseball, etc., are harmlessly entertaining games. But fantasy politics? That can become a very dangerous game. Just ask the Capitol Police and Ashli Babbitt's survivors.

Chuck Boyer, White Bear Lake


Simone Biles' bravery inspires

When Simone Biles had to take a medical leave from competing, she also took a stand for all of us who face mental health and anxiety challenges ("Biles puts 'mind and body' ahead of gold," July 28). My condition seemingly came on like a light switch and forced me to put my career on hold almost two years ago. There is no miracle cure for me but I keep working, seeing docs, trying new medicines and attending group. I pray this is something that Biles can work her way past quickly. She is so young and so gifted. I also pray we, and the media, can give her the space she needs to just breathe and let go of the weight we have put on her to be the best in the world. But, I do know one thing, Simone: You give voice to the rest of us that when the world is too much, it is OK to say "enough." Enough. For that, I say thank you.

Tim Pearson, Minneapolis


The greatest of all time? Without a doubt.

The greatest athlete in the world? A case could be made.

The bravest Olympian? Yes.

Nic Baker, Roseville


Don't they realize how this looks?

Minneapolis officials are challenging a judge's ruling ordering them to hire more police officers ("Police staffing review requested," July 27). The original lawsuit to compel the city to meet its obligation under the city charter was brought by North Side residents who suffered most from the lack of policing. Doesn't the city leadership understand the destructiveness that their position entails? Without enforcement of laws, our civil society collapses. We are seeing evidence of this subversion of police support in the increase in violence (murders and shootings) and the disdain for almost all laws, including traffic laws. We have had a year to support the idea of police reform, but effective police presence is critical for the well-being of our community.

Emanuel Gaziano, Minneapolis


Only so much we can do

In response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's suggestion that vaccinated people wear masks: Are they also going to suggest that drivers wearing seat belts also wear helmets since some motorcyclists are not wearing them?

Kevin Wendland, Chaska


The frustration is justified. On July 28, a retired teacher posed the rhetorical question, "Why should the vaccinated have to 'pay' by wearing masks when it's the unvaccinated who are causing the health risks?" ("Unfair punishment and confusion," Readers Write, July 28.)

We should not. Not any more than the majority of people should not have to pay for the expense of enforcing the law against public offenders. Even so, it does matter that our paying those expenses can help prevent more offenses. In a similar way, vaccinated people who have so far avoided the price of illness can help prevent the spread of more public infections by wearing masks. I don't like that necessity either. Still, the ultimate enemy in this war is not the unvaccinated. It's the virus itself. We — all of us, vaccinated and the as-yet unvaccinated — must join forces in a patriotic way and win the battle for our country.

Jim Bartos, Maple Grove

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