You can leave comments on LeftMN, sort of (
by Steve Timmer
Sep 2, 2013, 3:00 PM

On comments – Labor Day edition

It is probably pretty discouraging to leave comments here at LeftMN. But we do read them, including the two hundred-odd spam comments we get every month, so it is kind of a “wheat and chaff” thing. But persevere, kids, because — as today — we sometimes even get around to publishing a couple, and they are always appreciated. (You can leave comments to links to posts on our Facebook page, too; that has had some lively discussion of late, and it is a place where a little more back and forthing can occur.)

Frequent topics around here recently, and least when I’m writing, have included sulfide mining and guns, particularly whether the Capitol should be Habitat for Guns. We’ll take guns first.

Commenter Shelley writes, in response to The solution in search of a problem:

I work with a guy who makes no secret of his love for guns. He keeps telling people he’d be happy to save their lives with his guns all the time (a common assertion from most gun-lovers I know). I keep wondering, what’s he afraid of? I suppose it’s possible that my life could be in need of being saved that way, but at age 64, it hasn’t happened yet. And it hasn’t happened to very many people I know. Where are all these threats I need to be saved from?

As I’ve heard more of his life story, I hear he was beat up a lot as a kid. He seems to have a lot of anger about that and about his crappy family life. Ah…so…

Hero and revenge fantasies play a big part in gun worship. One of the people wearing a gun in flagrante at the Capitol hearing that is the subject of the post said he wanted to be his own hero.

I’ve never personally known anyone whose life needed saving with a gun.

On the subject of sulfide mining, Joe comments on The forces of grievance and resentment weigh in:

Thanks for this piece. I still think it would be cheaper to pay off all the Baltichs than sulfide mine. Save the Earth. The other connection that does not get much press is the recycling/reusing of these rare minerals that does not happen to the degree it could. Conservation anyone? How much mining of bauxite occurs anymore with the level of recycling of aluminum?

The deposits that the mining companies in northern Minnesota are eyeing are low grade to begin with, and the “rare earth” portion of the deposits is vanishingly small. The principal metal is copper, of which there seems to be an international glut right now, anyway.

But the point about recycling is a good one. Recycling is partly the reason that PolyMet’s major shareholder Glencore has an aluminum plant it doesn’t know what to do with and can’t really sell, because it ought to be a Superfund site.

And although I am not in favor of paying everybody off in Ely, I do think there are better ways to promote sustainable economic development there than opening a sulfide mine. That’d be like starting the US Army because it is a good way to straighten out wayward teenagers (which it often is, but it is an enormously inefficient enterprise for that purpose).

Thanks, and keep those cards and letters coming in.

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