I ran into a fellow at the VA hospital I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years (“Higher health risk with PTSD,” Aug. 20). Sean is from Cork, Ireland, and ended up fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. I had thought Sean had bought the farm, too. But there he was. He had a walker because, he said, his legs were failing. He said he almost died a few times in the hospital the past few years but was still hanging in there. I feel like we are members of some sort of Last Man Club or something. Sean and I, along with a lot of other guys, were involved in the first PTSD programs at the Minneapolis VA. I don’t think there are many left. Sean says he has helped bury a lot of fellow Vietnam vets over the past decade. Now he is trying to take care of himself.
Some of us just lost our souls over there and were never able to find them again. I’ve been telling my doctor that I know exactly the moment it left me. It’s hard to find a cure for something so difficult to understand.
Timothy Michael Connelly, Richfield
As in Minneapolis, racism’s effects linger
Bravo, Mike Meyers, for a wonderful explanation of how the oppression of minorities happened and undeniably undermines all of our lives (“What it was like to grow up in Ferguson,” Aug. 20). I remember the same response when an African-American boy from North High in Minneapolis telephoned me in 1957. My dad answered the phone and asked me if he was black. Dad never said much, but on that day I was told never to befriend this boy again. That’s the way it was. My old neighborhood near the Jordan area of working class whites is crime-ridden today. We did this, one incremental step at a time.
Dianne Corder, Eden Prairie
We should be grateful this training occurs
I fully support the military training exercises (“Low-flying helicopters unnerving to civilians,” Readers Write, Aug. 20), because the young men and women of today’s military deserve the best possible exposure to potential conflict arenas. They won’t be in the metro area for long, but they may be back as training evolves and Army personnel turn over.
Late one night after 9/11, I observed the only planes in the sky engaged in training exercises over Minneapolis. I recognized the fighter jet flight pattern from my Vietnam experience.
Believe me, they need and deserve this training.
Bruce A. Lundeen, Minneapolis
• • •
Boy, I wish the military aircraft buzzing the Twin Cities would come to my area — but we don’t have tall buildings where I’m from. The brave men and women practicing their profession at night ought to be commended and thanked for their willingness to fly into some hostile situation at the drop of a hat carrying out the mission of the United States. Some of these same people will bleed for sure and some even die for their country. Yet there have been some people who are terrified of them flying around, and who criticize our troops and their mission here. Well, I say button your lip. Let the pilots and all involved practice when they need to and go about their business. God bless the pilots and the people who accompany them and those who maintain the aircraft. May they be the best we have, with the best equipment and training.
Those who decry the mission definitely don’t understand. The noise you are hearing is the sound of freedom, you lucky bums.
Loren Julin, Shevlin, Minn.
Education effort yet again misses the point
Again? It is disappointing and frustrating the Star Tribune has printed another glowing and uncritical article about Generation Next and how those high-powered heavy hitters in business and politics with no education expertise plan to reduce the achievement gap in education (editorial, Aug. 20).
I submit that poor minority kids are learning well. They learn well the lessons of growing up in impoverished ghettos besieged by systems divided by race and class they experience with law enforcement, employment, basic community safety, and wealth. They learn easily about hopelessness and harassment and diminished possibility and opportunities. They learn well the lessons of distrust and fear of neighbors living in high-crime areas fueled by the war on drugs that are possibly illegal and that create gangsterism. They learn a life of diminished opportunity and support.
Generation Next is likely peopled by well-meaning souls, but their glib and easy answers to fix the education gap while they completely ignore the societal inequities that create it is a recipe for wheel-spinning and destruction.
Paul Rozycki, Minneapolis
SCHOOL BUS SAFETY
Here’s why children aren’t belted in
An Aug. 18 letter writer calls out school buses for not having seat belts while “a grandparent without proper car seats can be arrested and fined.” He declares that not equipping school buses with seat belts comes from prioritizing funds to making them more “ ‘environmentally’ efficient” rather than safe.
In reality, and in research readily available online, the reason cars are required to have different safety equipment than a bus weighing more than 10,000 pounds (the cutoff in federal law) is that these vehicles and the passengers in them respond differently in a crash or sudden stop. A school bus is more likely to require quick evacuation of small children, making seat belts more of a hazard than a protection. That is why school buses, for the length of decades and the breadth of the nation, have generally not had seat belts, not because of the environment.
Alexander S. Hindin, St. Louis Park
We need them right where they are
Heaven forbid we should ever lose our fabulous park police officers and agents, as an Aug. 18 letter writer proposes (“Here are some cops ready to be put to work”). Park police are committed to ensuring safe parks, recreation centers and programs. Thanks to their proactive efforts, our parks are among the safest in the nation. Although 15 percent of Minneapolis consists of parks, only 2 percent of Minneapolis crimes occur within them. Park police build relationships with youths and communities, and redirect behavior through education instead of arrests and citations whenever possible. The Minneapolis park police and the city’s general police force share many services, such as a special investigative division, jail, records, crime lab, range and training. Having our own park police is one of the main reasons the Minneapolis parks system was ranked top in America by the Trust for Public Land in 2013 and 2014. I shudder to think where we would be without these officers.
Diane Moe, Minneapolis
The writer is a recreation supervisor for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.