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Indeed, mistakes were made in the police response to the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers. An earlier attempt to confront the gunman could have saved additional lives and certainly would have brought quicker relief to the terror experienced by the wounded and other survivors ("Are police obligated to intervene or not?" Opinion Exchange, June 23).

But note the key word: police response. After the tragedy, that's generally when law enforcement can play a role. Those who argue that more armed guards and civilians could protect the population aren't being realistic about the likelihood of (1) detecting the intentions of a malicious person who hides them until he strikes and (2) stopping that person without causing harm to innocents. We simply can't turn every school, every office building, every shopping mall, every movie theater, every church and every other public gathering space into a fortress.

Let's not lose sight of this horrific truth: Many children were already dead or dying in that Uvalde school by the time armed officers had the first safe chance to intervene. (A police officer who had a brief view of the gunman earlier held back because he feared shooting children nearby.) If the police had immediately rushed in and subdued the gunman, and "only" 10 children and one teacher were killed, would that be any less tragic? Would our discussion be focused instead on finding the crystal ball that would let us see these things before they happen?

The bill passed by Congress to support red-flag laws and background checks is a step in the right direction, but only a tiny one. And certainly, we should improve mental health care. But that system isn't an effective net to protect society because, sadly, we will always have disturbed and even depraved individuals. When will we ever focus on the weapons that enable those persons to rapidly transform their bad intentions into massive carnage?

Jeff Naylor, Minneapolis


Where was judicial prudence?

One tragedy of the Supreme Court abortion decision lies in the absence of wisdom that should have accompanied persons appointed to the court. To plunge the country into chaos because a few justices choose to now ascribe narrow meaning to terminology, and thereby overturn a moderate and reasonable precedent, which will now assuredly generate years of political chaos and tremendous hardships for women and those close to them, was witless. Normally, we look to our courts to bring an end to disputes, and though abortion rights will never be without controversy, at least we had a reasonable compromise in the law. Now we have no resolution, and the court has created chaos where there was no need for it to be.

Thomas W. Wexler, Edina


They're not a risk. They're at risk.

A recent letter from a member of the anti-trans organization Women's Liberation Front (WoLF) argues that incarcerated trans women like Christina Lusk should not be housed according to their gender identity because they represent a safety risk to other female inmates ("This cannot be the solution," Readers Write, June 20). In support of this claim, the writer quotes a lawsuit filed by WoLF to overturn a California law that gives trans prisoners the right to gender-appropriate housing. Yet neither the letter nor the linked complaint cites any reliable data showing that trans women do, in fact, pose a threat to fellow inmates. Why? Because, as one of WoLF's own attorneys admits, it doesn't exist.

The evidence that does is overwhelming: Transgender people are over four times more likely to be victims of violent crime, including rape and sexual assault, than cisgender people. They are more likely to be homeless, forced to rely on survival economies, and interact with the criminal justice system. And, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, incarcerated trans people are a shocking 10 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than other prisoners. Trans inmates also face significant obstacles getting medically necessary care, in addition to experiencing other forms of harassment, misgendering and abuse.

Gender Justice, along with Robins Kaplan LLC, is representing Lusk in her suit against the Minnesota Department of Corrections because the above data is crystal clear: Housing trans inmates according to their gender identity is not a safety risk, but a step in the right direction to protect the most vulnerable in our prison system.

This letter is signed by Ellen Kennedy, executive director at World Without Genocide, and Tara Kalar, adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.


Still a better bet than gas

A June 20 letter to the editor downplays the positive aspects of electric vehicles, saying that they still use electricity generated by fossil fuels and there aren't enough charging stations.

Yes, the electricity has to come from somewhere, but power companies are relying on wind and solar power: Xcel Energy produces much of its energy from solar, wind and carbon-free nuclear power. Individuals can also subscribe to community solar gardens, which increase the proportion of energy coming from solar power.

Even if it were all fossil fuels, my electric vehicle gets the equivalent of 140 mpg — at least four times that of the average vehicle.

And as for charging stations: The infrastructure plan and other initiatives are designed to build 500,000 charging stations. That oughta do it.

Are electric vehicles the only answer? Of course not. But they are definitely a significant part of the answer.

Nic Baker, Roseville


This dilemma is really a Catch-22. When this planet becomes unbearable to live on, we're going to need gas to temporarily relocate to another planet.

With carbon dioxide levels the highest in human history, the only way we can exit expeditiously is in carpools. Current gas prices favor this mode of transit.

Though the journey will be somewhat cramped, the planet Earth needs some down time in order to breathe again.

Maurice Rhodes, Minneapolis


What we almost lost

In the classic musical "Damn Yankees," Joe Boyd, an aging lover of what was then the Washington Senators, makes a deal with the Devil: Joe will transform into Joe Hardy, the greatest baseball player of all time, and will join the Senators to defeat the hated New York Yankees. Joe knows that if he agrees to the deal that he'll lose his soul — but it's a small price to pay if he can beat the Yankees. Joe only has one hesitation: He doesn't know how to hit a big-league baseball.

You just swing the bat, the Devil says, and I'll take care of the rest.

That strange deal with the Devil seems to have taken place again, only this time with real people in a very real and vary dangerous situation. These are the exact words that former President Donald Trump said to his attorney general: "Just say that the election was corrupt, leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen."

It's only by luck and love that Joe Boyd escaped the Devil's clutches, and it's only by an even larger helping of luck and honesty that America escaped an even more frightening deal with an even more frightening Devil.

Thomas Pope, Stillwater


In 2016, while on the campaign trail, Trump repeated a question mainly directed at minority voters: "What do you have to lose" by voting for him? Turns outs, a democracy, almost.

Doug Williams, Robbinsdale