What I think we need to take away from the Sandusky case is this: Whether it is an educational, religious or political institution, when the protection of power is pitted against the protection of disadvantaged and vulnerable people, power will do whatever it has to do to protect itself. That is the nature of power.
Perpetrators rely on their power and their prestige as a cloak. They rely on the idea that no one would think that they could do such a thing as abuse a child, and that no one would believe a child who told -- especially one already viewed as at-risk. One of Jerry Sandusky's victims said that he did tell a guidance counselor. The reply was that Sandusky "would never do that."
This is not over. Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in jail, but those of us who have been following this case now have a choice to make: Do we turn our heads and pretend that it never happened? Or do we learn from it?
Do we think about the ways that we ourselves might have missed such a situation? Do we think about times when we might have turned our heads because to do anything else would be just too painful?
RACHEL BIALOSTOSKY, MINNEAPOLIS
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I've recently returned from a three-generation Boundary Waters canoe trip after a long hiatus. The need for a permit and the requirement to camp only at designated sites was new and a bit disappointing, but that's understandable considering the area's popularity. At least there were no blinking cell towers to be seen, nor any manmade structures at all. Ah, wilderness.
Canoe camping is a relief from our convenient but often hectic lives. For us, relief included a break from two illuminated communication towers that detract from our St. Croix River view, which otherwise consists of undeveloped Wisconsin bluffland.
At home, moonrises are flawed by flashing lights; the eagle's nest we watch is all but impaled by a tower behind it, and even peaceful sleep is sometimes interrupted by strobe lights reflecting off our bedroom wall. The two towers are a couple of miles away, but their impact is real, constant and inescapable.
Constructive opposition to two proposals for 190-foot, poorly sited towers close to the St. Croix riverway is informative. A tower in Afton was relocated, shortened and built to look like a pine tree, completely eliminating the impact on the scene.
The other, in Denmark Township, was shortened and also will be built like a pine tree. These examples, and others with unhappier outcomes, have shown me how insensitive and persistent applicants can be, especially AT&T, and how relentless competition for very marginal business, not public service, drives their unreasonable plans. T
hey have also shown that antenna installations that blend with the scenic environment are possible and practicable.
RON CARLSON, LAKE ST. CROIX BEACH
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The ongoing conflict between American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative, and the beet workers union would suggest that Minnesota's legendary farmer-labor coalition is rupturing ("Hard choice for workers in lengthy lockout," June 24).
The development of farm cooperatives was an important means of self-help in farmers' attempt to balance a condition of asymmetrical market power. But needing more help, they looked to government.
Like me, many Americans have had feelings of nostalgia toward family farms. Political empathy was easily found during the Great Depression, when the federal government began a variety of "agricultural support" programs designed to assist farmers. The new farm bill proves that government support continues, even though popular nostalgic support for farmers may be on the decline.
Problems of asymmetric market power relationships are not unique to agriculture. The union movement began when workers sought to use collective bargaining to offset the market power of employers. Now union power is facing a rapid decline. Public empathy for unions seems to have vanished.
Isn't it ironic that a farm cooperative -- part of a family of institutions designed to redress problems of farmers' asymmetric market power -- now seems moved to destroy a union of workers that is seeking to achieve a similar goal?
PAUL THOMPSON, MANKATO
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What planet is Tony Sutton living on, anyway ("The stars are aligned for the GOP this fall," June 22)? Does he really think he has any street cred after being fired as the chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota?
His statement that "there is no doubt that Sen. Amy Klobuchar is beatable" -- that's a laugh. She does not have to be tied to President Obama to have any credibility with the people of Minnesota who know who and what she stands for -- the consumer and the average person. She is one of the most respected people in the Senate, and is known for her ability to work across the aisle.
If Sutton thinks the Republican Party is offering candidates in touch with voters' needs, he is dead wrong. He has long been known for making outrageous statements, and there are plenty of them in his article.
LILLIAN IVERSON, BROOKLYN PARK
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I enjoyed Bill Ward's mosquito story ("Survey results bug those who love to complain," June 21) and want to add another comment from Maude Baumann, a new settler in Clearwater County in about 1900:
One neighbor said that two large mosquitoes got through the window one night and perched on the foot of the bed, and one said to the other, "Well, shall we eat him in here, or carry him outside to eat him?"
PEG MEIER, MINNEAPOLIS
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.