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Letters to the editor: Violence cuts to the core; To the City Council

Violence cuts to the core


According to my American Heritage dictionary the word "contempt" is defined as "1. Disparaging or haughty disdain; scorn. 2. The state of being despised; disgrace."

Perhaps knowing (or not) this definition, Mr. James Anderson (letter, March 1, 2018) wrote: "I have long held an attitude of contempt against public schools."

Pity the American who claims to love his country, and yet holds in contempt other Americans.

My wife is a public school teacher here in River Falls. She has a Masters from UWRF. She easily works 10 hours a day with incredible grit and passion. She loves her students. She cherishes their parents and families. She invests her classroom with her dreams and her skills. She invites volunteers and community professionals to contribute their interests and expertise to our schools.

In addition, she daily praises the entire staff in the school in which she works. She knows that it takes a dedicated team to educate and cultivate all that is best in our students and country. You, Mr. James Anderson, would do well to emulate public school teachers!

Aside from the fact that Republicans in Congress, at the behest of the NRA, have forbidden the CDC from studying the obvious health epidemic of gun violence in this country, shouldn't gun violence actually be an issue that unites every American? Why aren't we all aware and alarmed at the number of teen suicides by means of the guns in the houses in which they live? With perhaps as many as 400 million guns in America, is it not foolish to think more would make anyone safer? The issue of violence cuts to the core of who we are as both persons and nation. Why aren't we all using this moment to participate in actual thought and dialogue?

Robert Daniel Smith

River Falls

To the City Council


Did you listen to your constituents? Did you weigh all the evidence? Did you respect the views of others with whom you did not necessarily agree? Did you do your best? If you can answer, "Yes" to each of these questions, then you did your job.

RELATED: The Kinni will be free, eventually; City Council votes to remove dams

Will everyone be happy? I doubt it. Is anyone standing in front of City Hall with message boards? No. Then you did your job. You had one group who wanted you to surrender our license and ability to produce energy and to immediately remove the dams. You had other folks who hoped to hear you say we would keep the lakes and continue to produce renewable energy. You found that small patch in the middle. You did your job. The concepts discussed last night at the City Council meeting are new to all of us, and each person will have to start reshaping their new vision of River Falls. It will take time. But you gave us the roadmap. Thank you.

Patricia La Rue

River Falls

The toxic cesspool known as Lake Louise


In all the excitement of imagining a free-flowing Kinnickinnic River, several issues involving the draw-down of its impounded waters have been minimized — especially concerning Lake Louise.

Though the waters of Lake George, the first impoundment behind the Junction Falls Dam, are relatively clean, waters of the Lake 
Louise lower impoundment are not. In fact, survey samples taken by Inter-Fluve as part of the report issued by the Kinni Corridor Project Committee indicated concentrations of several dangerous compounds in the waters of Lake Louise.

According to the report, Inter-Fluve found that "concentrations of mercury, nickel, arsenic, and hexavalent chromium exceed their respective TECs (Threshold Effect Concentrations) or EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) screening levels," and that "concentrations of seven Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds also exceed their respective threshold screening levels, making the waters and sediments of Lake Louise of 'particular concern."

Discharge waters from the wastewater treatment plant feed into this "lake" and stagnate behind the Powell Dam. Not only may the content of the discharge waters be contributing to the contaminant levels recorded by Inter-Fluve, they may also be contributing to high levels of bacterial and organic development as well as the release of methane gases. Lake Louise a toxic cesspool that should not be released in haste.

Any draw-down of the waters impounded in Lake Louise will need to be carefully monitored and filtered for contaminant removal — an inherently slow process necessary to preserve the health of downstream waters. And an EPA site clean-up may be required afterwards in the wetlands left behind.

Tim Montgomery

River Falls

Who killed 17 children?


Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida was paid federal taxpayer dollars for not reporting criminal behavior by minority students within the school district.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and his department were also paid federal taxpayer money to not report, investigate or charge minority individuals under this Obama authorized Department of Justice program. This sick program was called "The Promise Program."

Broward County Sheriff Israel and Douglas High School announced that they had experienced reduced crime.

The crime of lying to the public was never tabulated.

Accused mass shooter Nikolas Cruz had brought live rounds of ammunition to school. He had brought containers of knives for sale into Douglas High School. Disciplinary action by the school district: Cruz could not carry a backpack into school; only a clear plastic bag.

Broward County Sheriff's Department was called to Nikolas Cruz's home 39 times. Among the recorded 911 calls: (1) Cruz had slammed his mother's head against a wall; (2) Cruz had pointed a loaded semi-automatic pistol at his mother's head.

None of these 911 calls resulted in a report or an arrest.

Nikolas Cruz was not arrested at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Cruz was not arrested by the Broward County Sheriff's Department.

Had Douglas High School and Broward County Sheriff's Department not been sucking on the money teat of Obama's racist federal government, Nikolas Cruz's crimes would have shown up on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

It was not the NRA; Nikolas Cruz was able to purchase the AR-15 and kill 17 young students because Barack Hussein Obama was President of the United States from 2009 to 2017.

James Anderson

River Falls

Why should children pay the penalty?


When dads and moms with their young children in tow crossed the U.S. border without proper documentation, who broke the law? Did the children break the law?

If you say, "No, it was the parents who broke the law, not the children," then explain why those undocumented children now living today as adult "Dreamers" on American soil should be literally kidnapped by government thugs and ripped away from their homes, families, neighborhoods, schools, colleges, and jobs to be exiled in lands to which they are totally unfamiliar?

Why should children pay the penalty for the illegal acts of their parents? That's not just stupid, it's every bit as hateful as the villainous biblical King Nebuchadnezzar who force-marched thousands of Israelites from their homeland across the desert to slavery in Babylon.

Let us instead live by the values symbolized by that "mother of exiles" known as The Statue of Liberty. She beckons, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Harlen Menk


Assault rifles and magazines


There are a number of issues which Americans will have to address if we are to meet one of our nation's basic needs, protecting ourselves and others from gun violence. Two of these have to do with the characteristics of firearms which we can continue to enjoy and find consistent with the 2nd Amendment to our constitution.

First, how do we feel about assault-style rifles? For myself, I see no justification for such weapons in the hands of civilians. This is coming from a man who has guns, is a hunter, who likes gun shows, who likes handling and shooting guns. But I can no longer justify to myself the civilian possession of weapons so exquisitely designed and manufactured for the sole purpose of killing enemy soldiers even after being dropped, battered and covered with mud and sand. Both of the most commonly seen assault rifles, the Soviet designed AK-47 and the American AR-15, are brilliant examples of the gun designer's art but have absolutely no place in civilian life.

What constitutes an assault rifle is open to question but surely compromises can be reached that would leave guns designed for sporting, target or self-defense purposes in the hands of hunters, target shooters and other law-abiding citizens. Think about what the widespread possession and use of such weapons says about us? I believe they are corrosive to the glue of our national spirit. Have we really come to the place in our history in which we fear our neighbors, our fellow Americans, so much that 12-gauge shotguns are no longer adequate for self defense? Are they so ferocious, so evil and so hell-bent on killing us? If the answer is no then we should eliminate the availability of such weapons. If the answer is yes? Well, if the answer is yes we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and consider the state of our union.

Second is large capacity magazines. Similarly to my thoughts on assault weapons I see no legitimate purposes for magazines with capacities in excess of six rounds. Rifles designed for hunting, even for hunting game which can stomp us to grease or tear us to bits, have magazines almost always limited to no more than six rounds and often no more than four. Hunters of migratory birds have for decades shivered in their blinds while getting by with no more than three rounds in their shotguns. Even in self-defense situations, most will surely be resolved before six shots are fired. Changing magazines takes time, time which cannot be afforded without deadly consequences in a military context but which provides opportunities for potential victims to escape in mass shootings.

How many Florida students, how many families in the Texas church shooting, would be alive today if the shooters had needed to change magazines more often? The answer cannot be known, but I expect the number would be greater than zero and if only one more were alive today the parents and relatives of one less American would be torn apart by grief and crying out for us to take some action.

Bill McGee

River Falls