The front-page article that reported on the “changing gang terrain” in the Twin Cities (“Splintered gangs harder to contain,” Feb. 3) offered a great primer on the dramatic changes in gang activity here in the metro. For a broader, more in-depth analysis of the changing gang terrain, I highly recommend a new book, “Views from the Streets: The Transformation of Gangs and Violence on Chicago’s South Side,” by Roberto Aspholm. While the author’s personal experiences and relationships, extensive studies and interviews, and highly acclaimed research are centered on analyzing and understanding the dramatic changes in the culture of gangs on Chicago’s South Side, there are several striking similarities to the experiences of and conclusions made by local police officials in the Feb. 3 article.

A more striking difference, however, lies is in the solutions proposed. While Ramsey County Undersheriff Mike Martin understandably asserts that “until we get these guns off the streets, we’ll be spinning our wheels,” Aspholm challenges us to develop a much broader and deeper understanding of the crisis and a very different course of action. We must, as one colleague who agrees with Aspholm’s analysis offers, begin to understand and allow our policies to be informed by “the anguished cries of young men trying desperately to create meaning in impossible conditions.” Along with Aspholm, I believe that listening to these cries and attending to the underlying conditions that create such marginalization and violence will provide the only viable foundation toward ending urban violence.

Beth Rademacher, Minneapolis

2020 ELECTION

Don’t give GOP any ammunition

I agree with the letter writer in “These candidates won’t win” (Feb. 7).

I also believe that we need to recognize and support the person that has most electable qualities. We need to speak out loud often, in public, about those qualities. Remember, we must replace President Donald Trump!

We cannot elect someone who gives any chance to the Republican Party to make up issues just to distract the population at large from the main problem. The current Republican officials just demonstrated that what we hear is not true, what we see we did not see and what happened never did. It is just unreal!

We cannot elect someone who can be labeled as a socialist, gun hater or abortion promoter, even if that person may have a moderate understanding of what the social democracy concept is. Whether we want to admit it or not, that just scares a lot of people. There is still a lot of work to be done. It’s time for people to understand that, as a nation, we need to be more inclusive and accepting of others, and we are just not there — yet!

As much as I would like not to see another billionaire candidate, Mike Bloomberg seems to have the right background, experience in leadership and the stamina to beat Trump. Bloomberg could have stayed back, enjoyed his billions and not worried about anything. But he recognized that the current occupant is not only a danger to himself, but to our country and to the world. This requires immediate — emergency — action!

I do not want to advertise here for Bloomberg. But as a nation, we must make a real effort to recognize the issues with the current top Democratic candidates, and go with the person who can beat Trump. Not sure who else can be issue-free and appealing to the population at large. But Trump has to go!

Maria Andrews, Burnsville

• • •

Democrats: To beat Trump, it is not enough to attack him. Many voters feel the party has spent his first term doing nothing but complaining about him. Their candidate needs to show that congressional Democrats have been working hard on meaningful legislation. They must prove that it was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that blocked Congress, not the endless investigating.

Don’t run on “not Trump.” It won’t be enough.

John Mahoney, Excelsior

PRIVACY RULING

I would have sued, too

As someone who lost a partner to Alzheimer’s disease, I cannot disagree more with the decision made by the state Court of Appeals regarding the posting of a photo and demeaning comment of an Alzheimer’s patient (“Demeaning post about patient is ruled legal,” front page, Feb. 7). This was a vulnerable adult whose condition was made public. Anyone in the community who knew the disrespectful employee who made the posting or recognized the facility would know this was a vulnerable person — thus putting the patient at risk. Those of us who have dealt with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s and seen other patients in memory care facilities know it is clear from their demeanor and appearance that they cannot defend themselves and are ill. Sharing a photo showing this was not only inexcusable but did violate the patient’s privacy and her private health condition.

I paid over $7,000 a month for supposed excellent care for my late partner but stayed to help put him to bed each evening because I couldn’t always trust the “excellent” care provided. One evening I came out of his room to find both night attendants watching TV and dancing to the program’s music even though 12 residents all needed to be checked regularly because they could not care for themselves. Had I found that anyone had photographed him in such condition and shared such a photo, I, too, would have sued. Such photos do share private health information.

Janet Grieder, Maple Grove

IMMIGRATION

Get the facts on the ban straight

In a Feb. 6 commentary (“Trump quietly made immigration bans more inhumane”), the executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota stated that “this month’s expanded travel ban, like the one before it, targets families from predominantly Muslim countries. It will separate families from Myanmar, Nigeria, Eritrea and Kyrgyzstan ... .” However, the first three countries named are not majority Muslim countries! Myanmar is 90% Buddhist, and Eritrea and Nigeria have about equal numbers of Christians and Muslims.

Janet Petersen, Edina

TWO-PARTY POLITICS

The fault is in our system

It is becoming clear (to me, anyway) that the two-party system in the U.S. — if not dead — is on life support. The Republicans are corrupt, soulless and feckless. The Democrats are inept and hopelessly divided.

Current party discipline nixes any incentive for compromise on the truly divisive issues like immigration, health care, taxation and the budget. These and other important matters get left in the dust by reason of our sclerotic system. Half the population has no effective voice. Our republic is at risk.

One solution is multiple parties. Suppose, for example, five different parties representing different views of government sent representatives and senators to Congress and that none of the various parties commanded a majority. In order to have power, coalitions would of necessity form in order to create a majority sufficient to move the levers of power. Such a result would not require a constitutional change, only the realization that such a change is necessary.

Suppose again that five individuals of different parties run for president, and that none gain a majority of votes (leaving the question of the Electoral College to another discussion another time) to assume the office. A constitutional change to allow a runoff election between the two highest vote-getters would solve the problem.

Perhaps other solutions exist. These should be discussed, evaluated and chosen. The status quo is untenable.

Floyd Grabiel, Edina

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