September 19, 2021

happy-House

The home veterans

Readers Write: Guns at the State Fair, social studies standards, Disney princesses

8 min read

Let’s do a little math. A CDC report shows that as of Aug. 2, there have been 7,525 reports of breakthrough COVID infections that resulted in hospitalization or death among 164 million fully vaccinated people. If you calculate that ratio and multiply it by 2 million visitors to the State Fair, you get 92 attendees who will end up hospitalized or dead from catching COVID-19 at the State Fair, and that assumes everyone is vaccinated. The number will be much higher when you factor in the unvaccinated people attending.

I would rather take my chances with legal gun permit-holders (“Group sues to let in guns at State Fair,” Aug. 11).

Jim VanSomeren, Greenfield

•••

If you don’t feel comfortable at the State Fair without your gun, stay home. If you’re allowed to bring your gun, I won’t feel comfortable, and I’ll stay home.

Vincent Kinney, Golden Valley

•••

The Minnesota Agricultural Society is breaking state law by denying legal carry at the fair. As a public corporation in the state of Minnesota, it is not allowed to circumvent state gun laws, which is what it is choosing to do. By not complying with the law, it brought this litigation on itself.

Legally armed citizens have been allowed entry and participation at the Minnesota State Fair before, according to the lawsuit. A record number of all eligible adults in Minnesota have a valid permit to carry and are among the population at large every single day. They are significantly less likely to commit crimes of any type compared with the general public.

For years now, there has been an orchestrated and well-financed campaign to demonize law-abiding gun owners and those who legally carry guns as part and parcel to criminal activities. It’s simply a false narrative. Violence committed with guns is a crime. Often illegal possession of guns is the very first charge dropped in a plea bargain. Criminals are the problem, not law-abiding citizens with firearms.

This lawsuit has nothing to do with “needing a gun” — it is all about the rule of law. I believe we can all agree that when laws are broken there must be consequences. The Minnesota Agricultural Society has chosen to break the law, and the judicial system will do its work. In the meantime, enjoy the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

Kevin Vick, Lakeville

•••

Where will it end?

“Group sues to let in guns at State Fair” was frightening to read. I have to ask the plaintiffs in this case: What crimes do you believe could happen at the State Fair for which you would need a gun?

Someone taking your parking spot? Stealing your cheese curds? Snatching your purse? None of these are capital punishment crimes, yet using a gun to solve any of them would be an execution.

If the only people who have guns at the fair are law enforcement, then we are all safe. If fairgoers start bringing in their own weapons with the intent to use them to justify some perception they have that a crime “could” happen, then no one is safe. The risks to all far outweigh the “rights” of a few in this situation.

The Rev. Tim Christopher and Sarah Cade Hauptman, plaintiffs in the case, may feel safer with their handguns, but there is no comfort in that for the rest of us.

Leave your guns at home, enjoy the fair and leave the protection to law enforcement, in whom the plaintiffs claim to have great faith.

Diane Giovanazzi, St. Paul

•••

The State Fair is not one of the places where guns are prohibited under Minnesota statute. Banning permit holders from any area not described in the law is unlawful. Gun-free zones don’t stop criminals willing to commit acts of violence.

Banning guns simply removes the right of the people to defend themselves in such an event. There are robberies and home invasion all across the United States stopped by armed citizens. Sensible gun laws allow permitted individuals to carry. Gun laws are laws, not policy enacted by unelected officials.

All the laws in the world can’t eliminate violence; a permitted gun can at least give me a fighting chance.

Shawn Greene, Winthrop, Minn.

•••

Most of those championing this and other efforts to carry guns at the fair and elsewhere are not kooks or nutjobs. They are overwhelmingly good, law-abiding citizens. I know and like some of them. But let’s be clear, the guns they carry are almost all lightweight, compact, polymer grip devices (think Glock M-17 9mm) purchased, and specifically designed, for one thing: to kill humans. Virtually all their training and practice uses the technique of steady, continuous, repeating semi-automatic gunfire aimed at the heart of the chest and teaches to “stay on target” while handling the recoil. Killing another person at close range is a lightning-fast, visceral and grisly business. These gun owners all know how to kill. But the vast majority have no critical training as to when to kill. That killing knowledge requires hundreds of hours of intense training to react correctly — and morally — in split seconds.

Former Minneapolis Officer Mohamed Noor had such training and still killed a docile, unarmed middle-aged woman in her pajamas. These gun owners may feel a little more safe against strangers at the fair, but unfortunately, every study confirms, by wide margins, the person most likely to be killed or injured by their semi-automatic is themselves, their loved ones or someone they know.

Glen Bruhschwein, Dayton

•••

I have no problem with a paranoid gun owner being allowed to bring a gun into the State Fair. You never know when someone might mug you coming out of the Butterfly House! Or pickpocket you in the crowded sweet corn line!

As long as the State Fair bans bullets, we should be fine.

Richard Fenton, Minneapolis

SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS

Congratulations and thank you to the authors of “Don’t separate religion from state social studies standards” (Opinion Exchange, Aug. 12). My only quibble is that Christianity is the only one of the religions specifically mentioned that is given a negative stereotype as an oppressor: “Christianity as a defense of slavery in America.” It’s pretty clear, by any unbiased historical accounting, that it was Christian religious leaders and the churches that took the lead in the abolition of slavery in America, as well as the eventual subsequent civil rights movement. My faith is certainly why I personally marched in Selma.

But then again … inclusion of the study of religious faiths in social studies curricula is what will help clarify such corrections to the record.

Leonard Freeman, Long Lake

The writer is a retired Episcopal priest.

ROLE MODELS

As the father of two grown daughters who grew up loving the Disney princesses, my attention was grabbed by Steve Chapman’s commentary (“It turns out that a princess in a girl’s life makes her stronger,” Opinion Exchange, Aug. 10). Those two are now professionals who passed my best salary by age 30, remained independent while in relationships and are no shrinking violets in any situation.

It’s not young girls we need to worry about living in fantasy worlds … it’s grown young men caught up in video and online gaming and fantasy sports worlds who concern me the most. At a time of drastic workforce shortages, we see too many men not reaching their potential.

Karl Samp, Brainerd, Minn.

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