Does it not seem odd that a person in some states can rape and strangle a victim and only go to prison, while in other states a neighbor who threatens to punch you on the nose and carries out that threat can be put to death without even a trial?
What kind of society have we become, and what comes next?
PETER WHATLEY, Prior Lake
• • •
Most offenses were not acts of violence
I read the July 10 letter about ex-felons and was wondering how the writer, a veteran policeman and detective, knows so little about the character of felons in the United States. The majority of felons are convicted of alcohol or drug offenses — not murder and rape. In fact, in 2011, in Minnesota, only 16.5 percent of felons committed a violent crime.
I am a felon and addict, convicted of prescription fraud. As a result of my convictions, I have served substantial jail time. That and probation was supposed to be my sentence. But the truth is, I am serving a life sentence. I have a Ph.D. in economics, and I work as a cashier. I have been clean for five years and was recently discharged from probation. I am unable to get a job in my field. I have gone to interview after interview and have been told that I did not get the job solely because of my nonviolent criminal background.
I spent a total of 15 months in Hennepin County jail. Granted, I am a female, but I met very few (less than 5 percent) violent offenders. Pretty much everyone I had contact with, on the other hand, suffered from the disease of addiction.
Recidivism is high, yes. But is this a result of the inability of felons to support themselves legitimately and the scourge of addiction, or as the letter writer seems to think, a criminal nature?
LAURA MACKENZIE, Minneapolis
• • •
Opponents present taxes as a bogeyman
A letter writer who criticized Jay Kiedrowski’s July 9 article on Minnesota’s competitiveness implied economic ideas on cutting taxes but showed little or no evidence. Minnesota’s growth rate is higher than Wisconsin’s, a state that is cutting taxes. It is also higher than South Dakota, a low-tax state.
Just what is the anecdotal story about wealthy Minnesotans fleeing our winters to avoid taxes have to do with our competitiveness anyway? Actually, the national trend is to give tax breaks, loans and reduced regulations to large corporations, banks, investment houses, oil companies, etc. Minnesota has also helped businesses with tax breaks. Some will call this “corporate socialism,” but I will not argue about socialism, as our country is not close to any real form of socialism.
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.