Amid oil boom, women are facing real risks
As a Williston, N.D., hometown girl, I can tell you firsthand that Maya Rao’s June 3 commentary (“Oil boom putting pressure on women”), both in tone and placement — on the front page of the Variety section, like it’s entertainment — trivialized the unsafe, even deadly, city Williston has become for its women and girls.
Last year, I went home for my grandmother’s funeral. I told my dad I’d come early to spend time with relatives in the area, all near the oil-boom epicenter. Dad: “No, bad idea.” Me: “Why?” Dad: “If your car broke down and you needed help? You just can’t trust people here now, especially if you’re a woman. It’s not safe.”
Women and girls are being harassed, assaulted and even raped by men seeking oil jobs in western North Dakota. Parents are advising their daughters to “look ugly.” Family and friends in Williston tell me that most of the crimes go unreported because of shame that they’ll be blamed for what happened and out of fear of retaliation. This is not what I want for the girls and women in my hometown, or anywhere.
The reality? Rao has the luxury of heading back to her relatively safe neighborhood and home in Minneapolis, while girls and women in Williston are just doing their best to stay safe from harm.
Erin Ceynar, Minneapolis
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Left believes it has a lock on verisimilitude
As an independent voter who leans right, I am amused by the left’s accusations that Republicans overreach when investigating IRS harassment and the murder of a U.S. diplomat. Certainly, some Republicans overreach; but that’s what politicians do. In the current scandals, some Democrats are lying, and some Republicans are overreaching. Let’s see … which do I worry more about? By writing a letter to the editor, do I risk being audited by the IRS?
Speaking of overreach, Jon Tevlin’s column in the June 2 regional news section, twice mentioned the way Michele Bachmann dressed, and it repeated a Sarah Palin canard. Incidentally, I don’t like the federal government telling me what kind of light bulb I must use, and I’m not buying that Republicans lie any more than do Democrats, as PolitiFact would have me believe. Bachmann has voiced her share of weird ideas, similar to Maxine Waters, Alan Grayson and Al Sharpton.
Dan Decker, Golden Valley
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U.S. SUPREME COURT
Case by case, removing power from the people
Our Supreme Court is making my head spin. We have learned under their auspices that corporations are people, that money is speech, and now that it’s constitutional to maintain a people registry (by harvesting their DNA) while the majority justices’ ideological lay brethren argue that a gun registry is unconstitutional. It’s going to be interesting to see how long before “people” are totally extracted from the Constitution.
Tom Obert, Alexandria, Minn.
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.