The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 15, 2013

Firearm-related deaths need explanation

The Mankato Free Press

---- — In response to William Shores’ letter in the Dec. 7 edition, I agree that the firearms ad could have been on another page. I also agree with him that the United States has a problem of people killing people, but he did not indicate in his total number of firearm-related deaths, the number of lives lost due to suicide, accidents or justifiable homicides.

Unfortunately, many readers of Shore’s letter will misinterpret his figures without an explanation of circumstances surrounding firearm deaths.

The FBI report for 2010, as found at their website (, lists the following “Expanded Homicide Data” for that year which appears to be the latest available. Note, the total number is for all murders by all means and does not include suicides by firearms which was reported by the CDC at their website ( to be just over 50 percent all firearms-related deaths.

The above documented facts are not intended to cultivate an agenda but are to add insight to the numbers quoted by Shores. Hopefully, this information will help us all realize we have a very complicated social issue of people killing people, which continues to exist in the shadow of blaming inanimate firearms.

Ron Geppert


Taxpayers risk pollution costs

The major problem with copper mines is the environmental impact on the ground and surface water over many years. The Berkeley Pit in Butte, Mont., is one example of how extensive a management plan must be, to avoid poisoning the water in the region.

The Berkeley Pit is 1,700 feet deep and nearly 3 miles around and filling more every year.

It is essentially a sulfuric acid lake and is top on the EPA Superfund list. Our agencies must demand a management plan that protects our water and the larger environment right from the opening of the mine. And we, as taxpayers, must also accept the fact that we will have to fund part of the treatment and cleanup of mining pollution. Are the jobs and economic development worth that to us?

Diane Norland

North Mankato

Serendipity lightened mood

Ken Gertjejansen will be affectionately missed by Mankato’s music community, especially those “associated with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra” (Ken’s own words for his 60 years of loyalty and faithful support of the MSO).

His typically whimsical obituary brought me one last wry smile, but discovering that careful clipping would place the news item about the MSO’s $10,000 National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Grant squarely on the back of and neatly above Ken’s request that memorials be directed to the MSO made me laugh out loud.

Either The Free Press has an uncommonly attentive page editor or Ken is quietly orchestrating MSO fundraising even after his death.

The serendipity definitely lightened a heavy-hearted moment.

Elaine M. Lilly


Fair should serve city

Just a few comments on the Blue Earth County Fair situation.

There’s nothing wrong with patrol checks on impaired drivers. If the fair is held in Mankato are the bar owners going to have the law look the other way? Taxis do go out into the country.

To move the fair to Mankato, you would need to buy land and build a lot of buildings. Maybe with some forward thinking, some people could get together and make better use of the land that is already there in Garden City.

Maybe more cooperation between the city business people and the agricultural business people. Design a program that would serve the county.

Roger Grannis