I have read and understand the arguments of both sides in the Mall of America/city of Bloomington dispute with the “Black Lives Matter” protesters. I read with interest the Jan. 9 editorial (“Consistency is key …”)

Although the city may have the legal right to charge protesters, I’d caution it to carefully consider the consequences of this action.

The “Black Lives Matter” protesters numbered 2,000 to 3,000 individuals. This represents a small fraction of people who sympathize with the message of the protest. If charges are filed against the protesters, all Minnesotans who believe that black lives matter could choose to instigate an organized boycott of the Mall of America. This is a real possibility. And it would have a significant impact on the mall’s bottom line.

Mary Vanderford, Minneapolis

• • •

Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson’s efforts to charge protesters for police overtime would be about as appropriate as Birmingham, Ala., charging the May 1963 protesters for the water used to hose them for speaking up for civil rights.

Al Durand, Robbinsdale

• • •

Had the protesters (whose cause I heartily agree with — equal justice for equal crime) left pathways to the businesses, they would perhaps be guilty of a simple misdemeanor. As it is, they should be fined some amount for inconsiderate grief caused to innocents not related to their purposes.

Tim Hunt, Fergus Falls, Minn.

ATTACKS IN PARIS

Speech is subject to taste, tact — discretion

I am not Charlie (“Yes, we are all Charlie,” Opinion Exchange, Jan. 9). I do not support the depictions of the prophet Mohammed in a pornographic manner.

I challenge this newspaper to print the “n” word. I have the freedom to say it, and the Star Tribune has the right to publish it. But why do I not say it, and why does the paper not publish it? Because it is offensive to many people — a loaded term fraught with oppression and violence. Out of respect to those whom it insults, we do not say it nor write it. We acknowledge its power to antagonize and produce distrust, enmity and, yes, a backlash of violence.

The freedom to speak your mind and express your views comes with responsibility. We live in a pluralistic society and a diverse, interconnected world. We must respect individual beliefs and sensitivities and not hide behind the cloak of freedom of speech to condone damning words and images that insult others with whom we share this planet. So, no, I am not Charlie. And no, I am not the Kouachi brothers, either (“Suspects’ portraits emerge, Jan. 9). Both are extremists in their own way, acting on their narrow beliefs without respect for human dignity or human life.

Tim Leinbach, Minneapolis

• • •

When I first heard of the incident at Charlie Hebdo, I was disheartened. I knew it would be my duty as a practicing Ahmadi Muslim and as a member of the Muslim Writers Guild of America to tell the world that this is not the Islam that I believe in and to condemn this atrocity.

Reports included that the attackers shouted that they had avenged the prophet Mohammed. However, this is not what the Holy Prophet would have wanted, even during his lifetime 1,500 years ago. A woman used to routinely throw trash at Mohammed as he passed by every day. One day, the prophet noticed that the woman wasn’t there to throw any trash. He then found that she was sick in bed and that nobody was there to care for her. He helped her until she recovered.

Bottom line here is that if the prophet never retaliated to abuse, why should any of his followers?

Adeel Ahmad, Brooklyn Park

• • •

I stand behind the Jan. 8 letter writer who feels that the American press should print religious cartoons daily as a reaction to the attack in Paris. A Jan. 9 letter proposes that the Jan. 8 writer get on social media to vent his emotions. Anyone who spends time on Facebook knows there’s plenty of religious hatred there and that there has been since 9/11. When I make a statement on Facebook, it goes to friends. When the newspapers stand and walk the talk, it goes out to millions.

What the Jan. 8 writer and I want to see are the same cartoons that are published every day by the free press in Europe. When we start to do this, it will flush out the radicals, and that is how to win the war on them. All we are asking is for the free press is to affirm the principles it espouses daily. We as a freedom-loving country have sent our soldiers to fight and die for our principles. Is it too much to ask of the free press?

James Goudy, Austin

 

SOUTHWEST LRT

Opponents thwarting the plans? No. Yes.

Contrary to what Gov. Mark Dayton is quoted as saying, it is not the intent of the citizen’s groups, nor of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, to “clog things up” with the intent of having the Southwest light-rail project go away (Jan. 8). Most, if not all, are completely supportive of regional transit. The goal of these efforts is to ensure that if the line is built, it is in full compliance with state and federal laws designed to protect the environment and historically sensitive areas. Regrettably, the Metropolitan Council has preferred hasty action over the proper observation of the requirements of several of these laws.

A final design for line — if the alignment includes the Kenilworth corridor — may or may not look like the originally approved plan, which included no freight, or the current proposal, which includes freight and which has not yet received environmental review or a formal comparison with less-intrusive alternatives. Both are requirements that should have been met before seeking municipal consent to proceed.

Steven R. Goldsmith, Minneapolis

• • •

The goal of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and some Kenwood residents is to kill the Southwest light-rail project. They would insist on frivolous expenses in order to jack up the cost, then delay the federal funding process with equally frivolous lawsuits until the money is withdrawn. They would call in political favors and claim the Cedar Lake railroad corridor is an essential part of the city park system. But they cannot change essential facts.

The property has been an active railroad continuously since 1871, well before the Park Board was founded and long before there were permanent residents in Kenwood. It remains an active railroad corridor today, and there are no feasible alternates to it. Hennepin County bought the corridor in 1984 expressly to protect it for future rail service, including light-rail transit.

Southwest LRT is a good project. It will strengthen downtown Minneapolis as our urban core and be an attractive alternative to clogged freeways. It will open up employment all along its length to serve both city and suburban residents. The Met Council has studied its alternatives and impacts for years, and has hosted the public at hundreds of open meetings. It is disingenuous to claim that more studies are needed.

William J. Graham, Burnsville