Newspaper should have used better judgment
I object to the degree of detail reported on the brutal gang rape of a 15-year-old girl in St. Paul ("Attacker details gang rape," Dec. 14).
This isn't a matter of free speech or freedom of the press. Yes, of course, a newspaper has the constitutional right to set its own standards of journalism, and individuals have a right to read or pass over whatever they wish.
But were some of the disturbing details included necessary to alert readers to the horror of the incident or the danger in our community? I think not.
Does the StarTribune wish to adopt the National Enquirer's practices of sensationalism, titillation and prurient appeal?
The name of the young girl was not reported, but she obviously is known to many. If I were a parent of the girl, I would be furious with the newspaper.
As a reader, I am deeply disappointed and dismayed at the newspaper's lack of standards.
TIM HEANEY, Falcon Heights
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Killing of officer brings out worst in police
I have read detective novels and seen television shows in which police toss an apartment, leaving it a disaster (" 'I did not kill Tom Decker,' " Dec. 16). I always ascribed those actions to renegade cops who were in the imaginations of the writers.
But knowing that Ryan Larson's apartment was given that treatment after a St. Cloud police officer was fatally shot, I realize these incidents are not pure fiction. It dismays me that police can commit such unnecessary acts, which are tantamount to vandalism.
In this country, a man is innocent until proven guilty. As such, there's no excuse for treating a citizen in this way.
HARALD ERIKSEN, BROOKLYN PARK
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Glad state legislators are involved in dispute
I want to thank the 14 state legislators for their interest in the actions of Minnesota Orchestra officials, and for signing the recent letter calling for a public hearing (Hot Dish blog, Dec. 20).
A great symphony orchestra is a remarkable cultural achievement for any state, and surely all Minnesotans benefit from our orchestra's stellar international reputation.
The board exists to preserve and nurture the orchestra, which is the performing musicians. It's not a business or a building, as the current leaders seem to believe.
This orchestra deserves all the care and preservation that our state government can provide, so I applaud the legislators' initiative in scrutinizing the management of the orchestra's financial assets.
ALAN JOHNSTON , ST. PAUL
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Here's a suggestion for needed fundraising
There is a growing consensus that we need earlier and better diagnosis and treatment of mental illness ("Mental health: Still seeking parity," Dec. 20). I suggest that we fund it with a designated tax on the sale of bullets.
LAWRENCE GRAVITZ, ST. LOUIS PARK
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As editorial described, a sow's life is miserable
In America, we have countless pregnant sows living in tiny crates, so small they can barely move, much less turn around ("Farm practices face a critical test in U.S.," Dec. 22) This is horribly abusive. The poor sows go crazy and can hardly walk to slaughter from this intensive confinement. Nine states have banned gestation crates, and they're on the right track. It's time to give mother pigs adequate space and freedom in which to live.
JULIE DERBY, MINNEAPOLIS
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Action needed to make America better, safer
Armed guards in schools -- seriously ("NRA rejects any new gun laws," Dec. 24)? This solution denies the central challenge before us: to rebuild a violence-infused, individualist culture.
It is public work worthy of a democratic people. It will require inspired builders of many kinds -- young people, medical personnel, teachers, faith leaders, legislators, parents and more.
If we take up this challenge, as I think we will, Americans can learn to think together in more nuanced ways; we will learn to value differences as we work on common goals; and we will strengthen civic capacity. In the process, our efforts will reveal a rich commonwealth, now mostly hidden from view.
NAN KARI, MINNEAPOLIS
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After the senseless shooting of the firemen in New York, one awaits the NRA's announcement, building on the logic behind its response to the Newtown, Conn., shootings: All fire calls should be sent with an armed escort. This is going to be a serious growth industry for the federal government.
DIMITRI DREKONJA, MINNEAPOLIS
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I proudly stand with President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I'm in favor of taking away "one's freedom" to own semiautomatic assault rifles, 100-round magazines and armor-piercing bullets. For the love of God and for the sake of our children, let's take action before the next Sandy Hook massacre occurs.
MICHAEL J. NELSON, PRIOR LAKE
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It's so simple. The solution to smog is ... more smog. The solution to heart disease ... more heart disease. The solution to strokes ... more strokes. The solution to gun violence ... more guns. Thank goodness gun manufacturers and the NRA made these simple solutions clear.
BILL WEHRMACHER, PRIOR LAKE
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I'm a middle-school teacher. If my job is now so dangerous that I need protection from armed guards, then I should receive hazard pay for my daily risk. Other workers who receive armed protection get this benefit, so why shouldn't teachers? How about the students? How about mall shoppers?
STEVE FREESE, BLOOMINGTON
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The NRA's call for more guns in response to the school tragedy in Newtown is telling. If there was any doubt that the main purpose of this organization was to serve as a shill for the gun industry, it has been removed.
LEE ANDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS