I’m beginning to wonder, because petty crime seems to be rampant.
It doesn’t seem to matter where we live: We see homes being broken into, or banks and stores being robbed. We think those are big crooks. But now it’s in our back yards. The TV reported thefts of plants, pots of flowers and landscaping lights. This is happening all over. A woman in the city of Mora, Minn., had a beautiful garden arrangement in her front yard, and someone stole three flower pots. In McGregor, someone stole geranium plants from a cemetery flower box. Memorial landscaping lights are stolen from cemeteries. We hear about the looting of stores, thefts of bikes, and of people leaving something at their spot on the beach to go for a swim and finding it gone when they return.
The thought seems to be: “If it’s there, it’s mine.” Are we not teaching “do not steal” anymore?
Carole Holten, McGregor, Minn.
Israel and Somalia: Simply no comparison
Ahmed Tharwat (“Traveling warriors, treated inconsistently,” Aug. 13) reaches an all-time low in false moral equivalence and deception with his outrageously offensive opinion piece about “Jewish jihadists.” To suggest that Jewish Americans who enlist to defend Israel from Islamic terrorists pose a similar security concern to our country as do Muslim Americans who go to Somalia to fight alongside Islamic terrorists is rubbish. The former are lending their aid to a staunch ally of the West, while the latter are lending theirs to a sworn enemy. Can Tharwat really not distinguish between the two?
Brad Johnson, St. Paul
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It is quite unlikely that those who have chosen to help Israel will return to American soil and carry out suicide missions as well as other terrorist acts. Can Tharwat assure us that Somalis or other American jihadists helping out ISIL can be trusted on their return to American soil?
Arthur Horowitz, Hopkins
Recall that costs also produce benefits
Of course one-third or more of what we pay for consists of embedded taxes. That amount and more of what we receive in goods and services does come from government. On Aug. 13, a one-sided letter writer listed as many taxes as he could think of to make it seem we’re being ripped off.
He didn’t bother to list any of the necessarily expensive benefits government provides. Let’s start with roads, highways, bridges, defense, police, fire protection, education, libraries, Social Security, veterans benefits, public health, unemployment insurance, retirement funds, help for the disadvantaged, legal and judicial processes, and the administration of all the above. (Keep in mind that much of what we pay for as consumers of goods and services from business goes to administrative expenses, including time provided by lawyers, accountants and overly compensated CEOs.)
Speaking of waste, I’m surprised the letter writer didn’t complain about it. How about the waste taxpayers generate themselves? We just completed an extremely valuable and vastly underappreciated governmental process — the primary election. In the precinct where I worked as an election judge, 190 voters participated, a little more than 10 percent of registered voters — and that doesn’t consider eligible voters who don’t even bother to register. Judges worked a total of about 120 hours at our location. The minimal pay we will receive totals about $1,100. That’s about $6 per vote, and it doesn’t count rent for the site, pay for off-site election officials, and the cost of equipment or supplies, including the wasted ballots themselves.
Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
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.