I have never felt personally threatened after reading a newspaper article, but I did on Thursday morning after reading that police officers I may call on for help have had “fear-based” training by Dave Grossman and might see me as an “enemy combatant” (“Fear-based training for police is challenged,” July 12).
Like a lot of people, I was raised to think of a police officer as someone I could turn to when a situation was getting out of control. Now I am seriously afraid. How will I know whether the officer I call on to restore the peace has taken classes approved by the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board that teach him or her to “shoot first and worry about questions later.” Which officers will turn a tense situation into a tragedy because they have been trained in Grossman’s classes to be judge, jury and executioner?
Most people don’t think to judge each officer as an individual. We see the uniform and just see police. At a time when respect for all police officers is tarnished by the few who believe they are at war with their communities, all police departments must repudiate this training and the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board should remove all of Grossman’s classes from its approved list of ways for the police to earn continuing education credits. When citizens believe that the police are out to win battles as “Bulletproof Warriors” — one of Grossman’s classes — they will have created the very conditions they were originally supposed to prevent.
Valija Springstead, St. Paul
We’d had relative peace due to U.S. leadership. Why quit?
One hundred years ago, U.S. forces were fighting and dying in the trenches on the Western Front in World War I. About 25 years later, they were fighting and dying in the European and Pacific theaters of World War II. A good part of the reason for those wars was the military buildup of the very same countries that President Donald Trump is now asking to increase their military spending (“Trump challenges NATO status quo,” July 12). The last 70 or so years have been an era of relative peace because of American military superiority and political leadership. Does Trump really want to abandon that position of leadership and leave the fate of whether there is a World War III to others?
Richard Howey, St. Paul
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What a long and regrettable fall from “Ich bin ein Berliner” and “Tear down this wall!” to the boorish petulance on display in Europe this week.
Chris Malecek, Mendota Heights
College is starting to look like a hopeless proposition
The July 12 article “As students hit borrowing limits, parents take on loan debt” really highlighted an interesting issue facing our younger generation today. College was once seen as a way to improve yourself, find a good career and enjoy financial stability. However, with the increasing cost of college and rising interest rates, is student debt now more of a modern-day debtors’ prison? When a student’s federal loans are exhausted, they often turn to their parents to take out PLUS loans, which have a higher interest rate than direct loans. Some parents are now faced with the decision of paying for college or saving for retirement. At this rate, students today will pay off their loans just in time to take on the student loans for their children.
And what happens when people have trouble paying back their loans? Loan companies can punish people who default on their loans by dropping credit scores, garnishing wages, seizing tax refunds and filing lawsuits. And if that doesn’t make things difficult enough in 19 states (Minnesota included), state-issued professional licenses can be suspended if you are in default. So now not only are you in default, but you are unable to work to pay off your loans. While I recognize that education can’t always be free, do we have to spend the rest of our lives paying for it?
Katie Norgard, Minneapolis
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The interest on student loans has not been related to the economy or interest rates. The banks get their money at 1.75 to 2 percent, and bank CDs in turn pay savers little or near nothing, while student loans can be priced at 4 to 6 percent. The higher-education system in the U.S. is badly broken, and one glaring symptom is the level of student loans coupled with the outrageous interest rates charged to students.
Jim Waldo, Duluth
MINNEAPOLIS 2040 PLAN
We citizens feel disrespected
On Wednesday evening at a feedback session for the Minneapolis 2040 Comprehensive Plan held in a 10th Ward VFW and conducted by City Council President Lisa Bender and the city’s long-range planning director, Heather Worthington, residents — concerned about loss of their property values, home equity and actual homes due to proposed upzoning — were told by Ms. Worthington that they would have to find other ways to grow their wealth in lieu of homeownership because everyone deserves the right to have a home and the history of African-Americans and Native Americans had to be respected. When pressed to suggest ways that homeowners could grow their wealth, she said she didn’t know, since she wasn’t an economist.
Residents (who see their lifelong investments as threatened by the construction of, in some cases, 10-story apartments and other multifamily buildings without respect to setbacks for property lines and without requiring garages along transportation corridors and neighboring streets) were noticeably upset, and were then admonished that 10th Ward residents are living under these conditions and are doing just fine, so other Minneapolis residents can do the same.
There was absolutely no recognition that the people of the 10th Ward, for the most part, bought their homes when those neighboring multiplexes were already in place, made decisions knowing that fact and were charged accordingly. The residents who live in mainly single-family neighborhoods have paid for that preferred situation, both when they bought their home and over subsequent decades, and were assured that their investments were protected by proper zoning from apartment infiltration.
Upzoning would not provide affordable housing in single-family neighborhoods, due to the high cost of acquiring land, bulldozing century-old structures and building new ones in today’s market. The cost would actually make that particular piece of property even less affordable to the people the 2040 plan purports to help.
Residents pointed out to the politicians that upzoning has not worked in other cities, and their response was that the plan formulators already know that but want to implement it here in Minneapolis anyway.
Jeanne Long, Minneapolis
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Eleventh Ward Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremy Schroeder hopes to dispel rumors that the 2040 plan will give the city license to demolish homes to make way for rental units (“2040 comment period is closing,” July 12). He’s correct; the city plans to give developers or anyone else the right to demolish homes and build fourplexes wherever they wish. No resident should be assured when the politician says, in effect: “I’m not going to kill your neighborhood, but I am going to let the hit men know they’ll be paid well if they do.”
Bill Mease, Minneapolis