Ahmed Tharwat (“Somali-American officer caught in the crosshairs,” July 27) is insistent that we not lump all Somalis into one homogeneous category and that Mohamed Noor, the Minneapolis police officer who shot Justine Damond, be judged as an individual, a very sound principle that we can agree on.

It makes me wonder why Tharwat is so quick to do this himself and is fairly blind to the fact that he does it nonstop throughout his commentary. He writes at the top that a headline from “Fox News U.S., a right-wing-nut media outlet … encapsulates the general reaction of all media, police leaders and the community at large.” So we conclude that everyone who watches Fox News is a right-wing nut, but more damning that we ALL fall in line with its conclusion. The rest of the piece follows suit, implicating large groups based on a few scattered examples. I also find it difficult to deal with an issue honestly and root out the problems if we’re all considered guilty and on the defense from the start, which is exactly the point he’s making about the Somali community.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Noor-Damond case is that many of us have had our preconceived ideas about race and police thrown completely upside down and have been forced to think about those ideas in different ways. I have observed this being done for the most part by individuals on all sides of this issue in honest fashion. Tharwat would certainly have more credibility if he were willing to do the same.

Tim Turner, Coon Rapids

• • •

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Raymond Dehn’s statement at the mayoral forum the other night wherein he called for disarming Minneapolis police officers is yet another reminder of how far my Democratic Party has veered from the common-sense center (“Mayoral candidates clash over cop reform,” July 26). Being a Democrat always meant to me that you were pro-middle-class-America — you supported labor rights, individual rights, the social-safety net and the rule of law. It meant that there was nothing incongruous with supporting the police and civil rights, or wanting to expand social programs and controlling immigration, or supporting free trade and keeping jobs in the U.S. And most of all, you used and acted upon your common sense. But today, all we see are people who want to increase our property taxes, grant illegal immigrants all the rights of citizenship, and diminish the authority of the police and government.

Look at some of our Democratic leaders’ positions on issues within my lifetime. Mike Dukakis (1988 presidential candidate) supported America-first trade policies and was against the “free trade” agreements of the day; Walter Mondale, during his 1984 presidential campaign, was criticized by Republicans for advocating that all cars sold in the U.S. contain a certain percentage of American-made parts; President Bill Clinton in 1996 strenuously advocated for an additional 100,000 police officers; Al Gore, as a presidential candidate in 2000, supported a tough street-crime-fighting platform that included an additional 50,000 police officers; U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (who has always been considered a very liberal Democrat) in 1993 argued for tighter controls on our borders because the influx of illegal immigrants was costing taxpayers billions in public services; and President Jimmy Carter (probably the most liberal president in the past 50 years) pushed through new regulations controlling undocumented aliens in the U.S. because they caused a depression in working-class wages and a decrease in unionization. These used to be good Democratic ideas, but in present-day Minneapolis they would be labeled anti-trade, anti-immigrant and fascist.

And we Democrats wonder why we’re losing so many elections. Wake up. Our party has lost its way and it’s time we right our own ship.

Joe Tamburino, Minneapolis

AFTER HIGH SCHOOL

Don’t find yourself caught with just one path through life

Regarding coverage of the respective values of various types of postsecondary education: My father, a career Army officer who had experienced the Great Depression, said it was wise to have a craft and a profession. That way you can fall back on one if there are no opportunities for the other.

After high school in 1960, I took his advice and went to business college to gain secretarial skills. The joke then was that a woman got a bachelor, not a degree. In my late 30s, I became a more highly motivated student, knowing that any career progress would require at least a B.A. Hard work, good luck and the support of my professors opened the doors to my earlier dashed dream of being a psychologist: At 50, I graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Ph.D. in family social science. With that and my license, I established a very satisfying private practice that lasted until I retired at 72.

Meanwhile, my older son had finished four frustrating years of high school. He was far brighter than his grades (other than art and athletics) indicated. He did service jobs (grocery stocking, school-bus driving) to support bicycle racing, at which he excelled. After a stay in France with a cycling team, he returned to the U.S. with greater confidence and determination, and achieved his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls — while racing and working at the same time — and made the honor roll. He continues to be successful at everything he puts his heart and mind to, and is a valued employee at Hed Cycling, the highly rated bike wheel manufacturer in Roseville.

Working at a job that offers no potential for promotion or growth can be soul-killing, leading to anger, depression and/or addiction, and poverty. Keep the doors to higher education open and affordable. Ideally, no one ends up with a dead-end job she or he hates, or no job at all. Minnesota and its businesses benefit from motivated and educated workers.

Sherry Machen, Plymouth

POLLUTION

In Cottage Grove, more evidence that business is not accountable

On July 26, I read in the Star Tribune that Cottage Grove is ending the watering ban enacted two months ago due to contaminated city wells. Traces of toxic chemicals that were generated by the 3M industrial plant more than 15 years ago were found. The state is footing the bill with a $3 million temporary fix; Cottage Grove citizens are putting up with inconvenience at best and health risks at worst. I then turned to the Business section and learned that 3M profits jumped nearly 23 percent in the last quarter.

Clearly, 3M has moved on from Cottage Grove; I read nothing about 3M compensating anyone for the damage its pollution is causing today. What is wrong with this picture, and what does it tell us about Minnesota law holding corporations responsible for their waste from current or past practices?

Katya Gordon, Two Harbors, Minn.

FOREIGN POLICY

Sanctions, a prelude to war?

Cheered on by the Star Tribune Editorial Board (“Punish Russia and curb Trump’s power,” July 25), Congress recently approved sanctions against Iran and North Korea, apparently to retaliate against Russian meddling in American elections. What? Sanctions against Russia are an appropriate response to Russia’s attempt to interfere with our election, but why has there been no scrutiny of Iran’s and North Korea’s inclusion in the sanctions bill? Might new sanctions against Iran imperil our nuclear deal with that country? Will new sanctions against North Korea have any effect against a country already sealed off from most of the world? Will any of these sanctions do anything but immiserate ordinary citizens of the target countries? These are the questions the editorial writers and our elected officials need to answer before supporting new sanctions. The blind, bipartisan support for sanctions today will one day lead to war hawks in Washington arguing that “the sanctions aren’t working” as a justification for war.

Chris Evans, Maple Grove