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Readers Write (April 28): Surveillance, alcohol tax, youth, Washburn High, Michele Bachmann, gun laws

  • April 27, 2013 - 5:10 PM

PUBLIC SURVEILLANCE

More government intrusion not welcome

Cameras in and around private business don’t concern most citizens, but cameras everywhere in public space are a concern (“Cameras everywhere, and maybe not such a bad thing,” April 21).

Let us not forget that the Boston bombing suspects were seen mostly on private security cameras and images given to the FBI by the public via portable video cameras and cellphones. The public got involved for its own safety.

The research offered in the commentary doesn’t justify widespread government use of surveillance. In fact, many of us wonder why the government can monitor every move of the citizenry while those same citizens cannot receive a video feed of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings.

CHRIS NERLIEN, St. Paul

• • •

What if the outrage and demand for justice after a terrorist attack were expressed every time a company’s negligence and dishonesty caused similar mayhem and loss of life?

CHRIS TREVIS, Lake Elmo

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ALCOHOL TAX

Driving statistics affirm need for tax boost

The front-page story on the proposed alcohol tax presented an astounding statistic: “In a state where one in every seven drivers has a DWI on his or her records, the Minnesota Health Department has estimated that alcohol costs the state economy about $5 billion annually in lost productivity, health care and criminal justice costs. That’s about $975 for every Minnesotan” (“Plan to hike alcohol tax sirs spirited standoff,” April 21).

What’s going on here? Were any of these DWI drivers involved in a death or a person being disabled? How and to what extent were they punished? How many are still licensed? How many of these drivers got off easy? Does the state have a record of these drivers? You say, “Tax alcohol?” I say “You’re darn right.”

JACK MERTES SR., Minneapolis

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MICHELE BACHMANN

Two views of recent media coverage

I would be impressed if other politicians were pursued by the Star Tribune in the manner of your in-depth crusade against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. (“Bachmann ex-aide gives affidavit,” April 23). Unfortunately, your sights are focused only on her. I remember the “old” days when Helen Reddy sang, “I am woman; hear me roar.” Apparently, that’s only for some women.

KEITH WILKENING, Bloomington

• • •

Isn’t it ironic that Bachmann’s campaign attorney refers to recent media coverage of the representative as “wrong, reckless and outrageous”? Seems to me she’s getting a taste of her own medicine.

BOB FURNISS, Woodbury

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WASHBURN HIGH

Student protest didn’t achieve its goals

I don’t have children at Washburn High School, but as an interested parent I question the praise given to two students because they were able to quickly utilize Facebook to empower their cause (“Students flex power on Facebook,” April 19). Did the movement succeed? No. The athletic director they were trying to save was reassigned. Was the stated cause a worthy one? The story didn’t address the issue. Who will pay the price for the protest, which resulted in the ouster of Washburn’s principal? Only time will tell.

PHILIP LOWRY, Minneapolis

• • •

Former Washburn principal Carol Markham-Cousins has done amazing things at the school, and she should be congratulated. Her commentary reflects what taking the high road truly means (“I leave Washburn with great hope for the school,” April 23). Both students and parents don’t realize what they will be missing.

PAUL WAYTZ, Minneapolis

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YOUTH SUPPORT

Lawmakers must help state’s young citizens

The Star Tribune was right to endorse the overdue and critically necessary investment proposed to early childhood learning (“Make a commitment to youngest learners,” April 20).

Minnesota would be wise to recognize the incredible gains that are made from expanding quality early child education, especially to families struggling economically. But the state shouldn’t forget adolescence, another critical developmental stage.

Too many youths drop out of school, have little or no employment opportunity, and experience disparities due to race, or face poverty and homelessness. That’s why support is needed for the Homeless Youth Act. Young children and adolescents both deserve help in getting on a trajectory to more stable adult lives.

AARON HOOKS WAYMAN, Wayzata

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GUN LAWS

Minnesota lawmakers must act for safety

As an elementary school teacher, I was heartened to read that President Obama has ordered the resumption of federal research on gun violence (“Gun control fight spills over to federal research,” April 23). I applaud experts who want to determine the effects of gun violence, but I cannot wait for research. As my classroom practices yet another lockdown drill and I consider the teachers at Sandy Hook who used their bodies to shield their students, I urge our Minnesota legislators to eliminate the private and online sales loopholes, and mandate universal background checks for all gun sales.

MARY SLOBIG, Minneapolis

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