Readers' views for Oct. 10

Police officers should shield kids from violence In today's day and age, when children see violence on television, it is the parents' fault. But who should be looked to when four Duluth police officers shoot a noosed animal in front of innocent 1...

Police officers should shield kids from violence

In today's day and age, when children see violence on television, it is the parents' fault. But who should be looked to when four Duluth police officers shoot a noosed animal in front of innocent 12-year-old children?

On the evening of Sept. 23, my younger sister was outside playing when four police officers arrived across the street from our house. Being a normal, curious child, she told me she moved closer and watched them as they noosed and dragged a small creature from under a neighbor's porch and then proceeded to shoot it twice without warning. Upon seeing the death of an innocent creature, my sister ran into our house an emotional mess.

My request is that Duluth police provide the same discretion parents are expected to provide and that they keep things PG. There were so many different ways this situation could have been handled, especially with four officers on the scene. At least one of the officers could have walked over and warned my sister of what was to come.

After all the time and energy parents put into censoring violence in youths' lives, what are they to do when it's the police who casually expose innocent youth to shocking acts?


Allie Birdseye


True leadership is about following one's convictions

While viewing, listening to or reading about Democratic seekers of the United States presidency, one cannot escape the reality that they all are promising to give Americans what they want.

This is apparent about the war in Iraq, along with health care and earmarks in which members of Congress seeking re-election join presidential candidates.

As I have pointed out in previous letters to the editor, Americans also are electing a commander in chief of the world's most mighty nation. It's a position that demands leadership.

Perusing almost daily polls of what people want, or seem to want, does not indicate leadership.

A true leader leads, not follows, and does what's right.


This, to me, describes George W. Bush, even with his imperfections, and what will mark him in history among the great presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. They all went through low periods of public opinion, but in later years found high public esteem.

I firmly believe there is innate common sense among the U.S. citizenry that will resist the siren calls of Democrats and vote to return Republican control to the White House and Congress. They can address the likes of Iran's Ahmadinejad, Venezuela's Chavez and other dictators, along with Islamic terrorists.

This is true despite the endless Bush-bashing by the U.S. news media, led by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and McClatchy, and the continuing efforts of George Soros and

We all would be better off for the election results I see in 2008.

Art Barschdorf


Peacemakers call County Board members to account

Men as Peacemakers was founded in 1996 to respond to the noticeable absence of men in peacemaking and violence prevention efforts in the Duluth community. As our group has grown, the areas of our work have grown as well.


In 2005, the Minnesota Department of Health hired Men as Peacemakers to assist in developing a statewide effort to involve men in the prevention of sexual violence. Like any prevention effort, to be effective, we must change the norms that support negative behaviors.

The recent actions of certain St. Louis County commissioners, exempting themselves from responsibility for sexual harassment, were examples of a norm that must change. As board members of Men as Peacemakers, we felt compelled to speak out and let the community know our position on this issue. As leaders, we believe that sexual harassment is wrong and unacceptable under any circumstance, especially by a community leader. Sexual harassment is about the misuse of power and is defined by the victim, not by the offender. In this case, it is about the incredible power elected officials have over those who work for them.

The County Board's recent decision to develop a policy that will hold members accountable for acts of sexual harassment was an example of how community initiative and County Board response can promote positive change. Changing policy is only one example. Further examples include acknowledgement of the harm that was inflicted and displays of attitudes and behavior that will prevent further harm.

Each time an organization sets and enforces a policy, it changes the way those actions are seen in the community and affects the behavior of others. Elected officials must lead by example. By apologizing and holding themselves accountable for their actions, they can do just that.

Ken Schoen, Patricia Behning, Marcus Brunning, Jim Cherveny, Blair Gagne, Fletcher Hinds, Matt Johnson, Ken Muckala, Deb Sauter, Don Streufert, Robert Wahman and Chuck Walt


The writers are board members of the Duluth-based grass-roots nonprofit Men As Peacemakers.

Pay living wage or pay the price


All societies must provide food, clothing, shelter, security, education, health and happiness. If society chooses to meet these requirements through wages, then it is a societal responsibility that the wages paid meet the requirements. Failure to do so will require the participants to supplement their wages to meet the requirements.

Government subsidies, charity, panhandling and crime are examples of such supplementing. If these examples are not the best choices for providing the above requirements, and society would prefer that these requirements are earned by wages, then society must provide a minimum wage to provide for all the requirements: a mandatory minimum living wage.

Ron Vormwald


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