Thursday's front-page article on border arrests ("Border arrests hit 13-year high amid migrant surge," June 6) juxtaposed with "Climate pact can prevent mass deaths, experts say" on Page A2 confront us once again with the urgency of applying principled understanding and compassion to address basic human and environmental needs.
We as citizens of a global community are called upon to redirect the Trump administration and desensitized, ideological congressional Republicans toward realistically solving so many manageable issues. One such issue is the avoidable tragedies of border migrants.
The Ajo corridor in Arizona's Sonoran Desert, with temperatures reaching 120 degrees, is a death trap for traversing migrants fleeing life-threatening situations in their native countries. While the international community must peacefully assist in alleviating those situations, criminalizing humanitarian aid for our fellow human beings is outrageous. Such is the case, however, for local Ajo residents and volunteers with No More Deaths, an advocacy group seeking to end desert deaths of those crossing the border, and Scott Warren, who was arrested and stands trial for leaving jugs of water for migrants.
The failed "Prevention Through Deterrence" policy of 1994 has resulted in more than 7,000 known deaths plus countless disappearances over the past 20 years. Operation Streamline, begun in 2005, mandates that all undocumented immigrants be prosecuted. Both must be dismantled to decriminalize migration. Detention centers with cramped and unhealthy conditions causing, among other things, death to children are a crime against humanity.
The main culprits for maintaining and further aggravating these untenable conditions are within the Trump administration and Congress. At the very least, this is another, convincing reason to remove the dysfunctional president and his appointees from office.
Richard Laybourn, Bloomington
Solution: Semi-automatic pistols and AR-15s allowed in ranges only
I have the perfect solution for those who want access to semi-automatic pistols and AR-15-type rifles, large magazines and noise suppressors (also called silencers): Let's allow licensed, insured shooting ranges to have them. That way, those who want the thrill of shooting an AR-15 can do so in a supervised way. Noise suppressors will reduce ear damage when the shooter is practicing shooting or sighting in his firearm. The shooter can shoot to his heart's content with magazines that hold 20 rounds.
The advantage is that eventually fewer AR-15s would be in general circulation, no large magazines would be available for mass shootings, and any gun shot off among civilians would have a loud report so its location and distance could be more easily identified for those who need to flee or otherwise protect themselves.
Jerry Ugland, Northfield, Minn.
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The government has to make stricter laws about guns. One reason is that some children take guns to school. As a student, this makes me feel unsafe in school knowing that this many guns are being taken to school and not knowing what will happen to me and my teammates.
There have to be stricter laws because kids are also using guns to commit suicide. There are more than 950 American kids a year who kill themselves with a gun. If that continues to happen, we will lose another 950 by next year.
Gisselle Linares Hernandez, Minneapolis
The writer is a 7th grader at Hiawatha College Prep-Kingfield.
More restrictions on landlords won't solve affordable-housing issue
Landlords are already taking a huge risk for their business every time they have a new renter. Screening allows the landlord to know that person, best they can, before allowing them to use their property ("Proposal may limit tenant screening," May 31). It takes four to six weeks to get someone evicted, plus a huge amount of money. This is why landlords need to act if the rent is late, even if it's only a day. Not paying rent or any other bill is the same as stealing.
Don't get me wrong, there are horrendous landlords, and they should be dealt with harshly. But let's not punish all the good ones, too. Adding more restrictions to landlords on things that help them protect their investment and livelihood is not the way to ensure low-income people have more available housing. In fact, more restrictions and requirements will remove affordable rentals from the housing stock. There are enough restrictions imposed on current or would-be landlords already. How about removing barriers to creating more affordable rental housing?
Michael Waibel, Hastings
Allianz Field is something special
It's been more than a week since commentary writer Ahmed Tharwat waxed poetically on the experience offered by the Minnesota United Football Club's new palace of Minnesotan soccer at Allianz Field ("Allianz Field is not such a bad place to observe Iftar," June 2). No one's followed up to say this in these opinion pages, so I'd like to say it now: Something special's happening at that stadium.
I'm developing an emotional relationship with this Minnesota-based professional sports franchise the likes of which I've never felt before, and it's because the experience of Allianz Field is extremely powerful. We rocked the building against Philadelphia Union last Sunday, verbally punishing the opposing players for flopping, approving of our Loons when they scored a goal or connected on a long pass, and playfully interacting with the MNUFC subs as they warmed up in front of the supporters' section at the south end of the field. There are three native Minnesotans on the team, and they can't get within earshot of me — at least half of the seats at the stadium are within earshot of the players on the field — without me letting them know how proud I am that they represent us on my beloved Loons.
On May 22, after that game ended, I went to Woodbury's Brent Kallman and made sure he knew how proud I and thousands of other Minnesotan sports fans in the stadium were of his captainship (he replied that he was proud as well). I love the Vikings, and I love our native football son Adam Thielen, but I can't go to U.S. Bank Stadium and have a real, personally meaningful human interaction with him to tell him that. Only at Allianz.
David Muench Huebert, Minneapolis
Do we trust YouTube on 'hate'?
Removing hate videos from YouTube sounds, at first, like a good idea ("YouTube to remove hate videos," June 6), but I'm concerned that it could be misused in a way that suppresses valid speech and enforces a preferred ideology. In our divided society, where there are many opposing viewpoints, it seems quite possible that opinions that are unacceptable to whichever group is deciding what hate speech is will be suppressed.
To give one example, the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled some Christian groups as hate groups because they are in favor of traditional marriage and against gay marriage. Regardless of your position, you should be concerned that views on either side could be labeled as hate speech.
Free speech is a valuable right. Society gains when we have access to a variety of ideas — good, bad and indifferent. Through discussion and debate we will gradually improve our knowledge and opinions. Having censors at YouTube determining what ideas are acceptable may not be an improvement.
James Brandt, New Brighton
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