Open Forum for week of Jan. 3

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to [email protected] Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.


The Almighty NRA

Dear Jesus,

I got a call to action the other week asking me to send this message to the NRA. “In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the NRA must stand down and allow Congress and the President to pass gun control legislation.”

Before I ask, “What would you do?”, I’d like to ask if you know why we have to ask them to allow Congress?

I want to send the message but don’t want them to think that they have so much power we need to bow down to them. What would you do?

Your distant admirer, Cindy Dina.

Cindy Dina


Time for Regulation? 

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School opponents of stronger federal regulation of guns in Minnesota and elsewhere have argued that the best way to protect school children is to (1) arm teachers, (2) hire armed security guards for schools.

The irony is numbing – What does it say about the greatest country in the world that the weapons used in recent massacres (Sandy Hook, Aurora, Milwaukee, Virginia Tech, Red Lake) are not seriously regulated, yet (their argument goes) our 133,000 schools need guns on school grounds to protect children from individuals wielding these weapons?

I recall that the shooting of President Reagan and his press secretary James Brady in 1981 generated a blistering debate about gun control. The debate centered on the right to bear arms laid out in the Second Amendment versus the need to place restrictions on this right, similar in principle to those placed on the First Amendment (in today’s world, one’s right to free speech does not include talking about blowing up planes in the airport security line).

This debate was heavily influenced by the fact that a president had been shot, and eventually the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which instituted background checks on gun purchases, was signed into law. This legislation passed with the support of 77.3 percent of Democrats in the House of Representatives and 36.5 percent of the Republicans.

Will the tragedy at Sandy Hook produce similar bipartisan support for stronger federal controls as occurred when President Reagan was shot?

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake


Renters’ Lump of Coal

To renters: The mayor needs money and he’s decided you’ve been getting a “free” ride for too long…not paying property taxes!

His black and white cow, named Cash, which has been milking the old township for years since “One Great Forest Lake” was created, is now almost dry. Therefore he and his (two) voting partners have created a new source of income, called a franchise fee, to be added to your utility bills.

All residents will now be paying $4 per month on your electric bill and an additional $3 per month if you have a gas meter. These fees are subject to sales tax, also. At present, there is no collection charge by the utility providers.

Example: Trailer park residents with both gas and electric will pay $90 per year.

This “fee” can and will increase as the mayor and his voters wish (our stormwater fee went from $6 to $32!). So watch your purse strings.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Elvin Norby
Forest Lake

  • Eleanor

    Factual note for Elvin’s letter: The franchise fee was actually passed by a 4-1 vote of last year’s council. The new council takes their seats on January 14th.

  • Phil Fishman

    Now we’re calling on Jesus to help pass gun control? A brief review of history will show that more people have been killed in the name of religion than guns ever could. I get your point and agree that reason bans on assault weapons are right and necessary. However, try not to politicize the issue or even worse, start making it into a “what would Jesus do” type discussion. Keep in mind that most of the terrorist horrors that have taken place are by those who were supposedly called upon to do it by God, Allah or whomever their chosen subject to worship might be.

    Why is the NRA so powerful? Perhaps because many law abiding citizens believe in the right to bear ams and defend themselves against not only the tyranny of government, but also against those who would never abide by the laws even if stronger gun control laws were passed. We continue to further regulate those who are law abiding citizens and ignore the real issue – those who don’t follow the laws anyway. Go ahead and passed more and stronger laws – it won’t help and the problem will still exist, but at least it will make many feel better and like they’ve tried to do something despite the fact that they aren’t actually any safer.

  • Eric Langness

    Blaming the NRA for the actions of a clearly insane man is absurd.

    Maybe a few people need to refresh their knowledge of our 2nd amendment which reads “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    Don’t take away my rights. Actions to limit law abiding citizens right to protect themselves will not prevent criminals from retaining and using weapons illegally.

  • Phil Fishman

    I get the knee jerk reaction to a tragedy. However, let’s take a look at the facts. Chicago has some of the most stringent gun control laws in place, yet has the highest per capita number of gun related crimes committed in a major municipality in the United States. Make all the laws you want and take rights away from those who actually follow the law, but this will do nothing to deter those who are bent upon following the path of destruction and horror. Using yet another tragedy to further your baseless political argument does nothing to make our country safer.

    As for arming teachers or security guards, give me one instance of when someone in that position caused the kind of harm that they would be in place to prevent. Maybe it’s not the perfect solution, but it’s better than the status quo. Point being, place the blame where blame needs to be placed – on the demented and mentally/emotionally challenged people that are committing these horrific acts.

  • Hanz Lehrke

    I grow very tired with blaming the weapon for what the human did. Like it or not, guns DO NOT kill people, people do. Do cars kill people or the drunk or cell phone using person kill people. Look at the stats. There are many things that kill more people than those using guns. This is just a feel good reaction to a tragic event., like the security in the airports. I’ve never been attacked by a finger nail clipper……. Fact is, like it or not, this is about our society and the lack of respect for human life and personal property. Quit penalizing law abiding US citizens and take away yet another right in the name of the good, and treat the issue. Get morals back in our country. Parents need to start being parents and quit worrying about being their kid’s friend. That is one of the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Check up on your kid. If you actually think they are telling you the truth all the time and not getting into bad things, you need to wake up. I’m not saying all kids are bad, but a number of them are making bad choices and their parents have no idea about it. Smoking, drinking, drugs, sex. It’s happening. Kids don’t need more friends, they need people to teach morals, the difference between right and wrong, and then hold them accountable. I guess it is just easier to try to take away rights from US citizens than to be a parent. Blame everything in an attempt to throw off people from the real reason. Schools need to quit worrying about passing state tests and kids’ feelings and start to hold kids accountable. If a kid messes up there should be real consequences to include dragging the parent in for a meeting. A real meeting not the inter personal communication crap. Tell them what happened and the consequences. Just because a minor says something it shouldn’t be taken as truth. Look into it and find out what they are really doing. Quit being afraid of the students and hold them to right and wrong.

  • Phil Fishman

    Hanz… well said. Couldn’t agree more. Your logic and reason could be applied to education, parenting, law making, the “fiscal crisis”, foreign policy and nearly all other significant problems facing this nation. It does start from the top and we need to pay attention and demand that our leaders, on every level, are held accountable and responsible. This culture of placing blame, kicking the can down the road and making sure everyone feels like they are “special” needs to end. We are quickly losing focus on the things that made us the greatest country and our kids and grandkids will pay the price – in every respect. Stop with the mindless, feel good “solutions” and get down to the heart of the matter.