After all of the discussion and controversy over the Jamar Clark case (“No civil rights charges filed in shooting of Jamar Clark,” June 2), it would seem that the most important questions are still not being discussed: 1) When police respond to a domestic violence complaint in any part of the city, have they not been conditioned to be especially apprehensive, knowing they may face violence? 2) When they respond to such a call from an area where even children are not safe from gunshots on the street or even in their own homes, might the police be even more cautious? 3) Where is the community indignation over the commonplace shooting of innocent children by drug gangs? 4) When every use of a gun by police results in community outrage, is it not predictable that this would embolden drug gangs to operate more openly, with increasing numbers of innocent deaths? Where is the protest group “Our Children’s Lives Matter”?
I submit that the answer to all of these questions lies in the fact that it is easier to stir up conflict than to create cooperation. But that is not the path to a solution.
Robert W. Thurston, Plymouth
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The Guardian newspaper claims that it has compiled the most “comprehensive database of U.S. police killing ever published.” I think it can be assumed that this is as correct as any figures compiled by humans could possibly be. It’s quite shocking, and I wish that this information could move the American public to do something about it and, by that, I mean, find ways to prevent these deaths.
If you think these figures are disgraceful, then ask yourself, “What can I do?”
In the first 24 days of 2015, U.S. police killed more people (59) than did the police of England and Wales in those two countries from 1990 to 2014 (55). There has been just one fatal shooting by Icelandic police in the country’s 71-year history. So, what’s wrong with us?
Polly Mann, Minneapolis
Who are you going to trust — Stephen Hawking or D. Trump?
In the June 1 “On the Trail” roundup, Stephen Hawking’s comments about Donald Trump were reported. As you may know, Trump is a climate-change denier (not skeptic, but denier). In the same interview during which Hawking made his Trump comments, he also said “[b]ut Trump isn’t the greatest threat to America or the world. The greatest threat is human-caused climate change.” While the deniers will scoff even at renowned physicist Hawking, thinking they know better, the rest of us should be smart enough to know that Hawking understands the issue far better than any of us, and that we should be supporting politicians who and policies that will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, for the sake of our kids and grandkids.
Alan Anderson, Northfield
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To an otherwise useful commentary debunking Trump’s ignorance of both “petroleum geology and market forces” (“Trump’s blustering and backward talk on fossil fuels,” June 1), Rolf Westgard adds this extraordinarily blithe statement: “Whether additional CO2 in the atmosphere is the greatest threat to human existence or simply more food for plants to photosynthesis is open to dispute.” Not by climate scientists it isn’t. His hyperbole may be dismissed, but not the magnitude of the threat vs. the benefits, based on science understood for more than a century and the measured danger for more than half a century (including — we now know — Exxon’s own scientists), not to mention every scientific review. Markets can be the solution, but only if voters support policymakers who will end the hidden subsidy allowing the fossil-fuel industry to use the atmospheric commons as a carbon waste dump. That unfair carbon market is already threatening coastal communities, melting global glaciers that provide water for billions, destabilizing the Gulf Stream with vast weather implications and changing the acid balance of the oceans, with no observed upside. It matters that the public understands the stark magnitude of the climate threat and does not dismiss it as Tweedledum/Tweedledee.
James P. Lenfestey, Minneapolis
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Yea to the Star Tribune for major coverage of climate change on its opinion page (June 2). I urge the paper to mark today as its first day of daily front-page coverage of climate change. Help us learn about how the climate is changing; help us to not be afraid to act; help us to take on a positive, can-do attitude, including things we can do right here in Minnesota (yes, thank heavens, we don’t have to wait for Congress to act); help us to imagine a cleaner world. We must stop our fossil-fuel addiction. Please, please cover climate change front and center: information, poems, stories from kids, choices, health, revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. World War II was covered front and center. Please lead on this most important issue of our time.
And yes to Roger Parkinson’s June 2 commentary calling for a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. Citizens Climate Lobby is an organization of everyday citizens (join the local group in Minneapolis) who lobby Congress for a fee on carbon — a rising fee that they think must go higher than Mr. Parkinson’s, but let’s not quibble. Let’s get started. We pay for garbage disposal; we don’t throw it in the street. And yet, for a century we have dumped our carbon emissions into the air, harming the climate, our water, our health. Let’s learn the words “revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend” and imagine a cleaner world.
Barbara Draper, Minneapolis
SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES
Don’t be taken in by opponents; Minnesotans want this
I am writing in response to the June 2 letter that guesses that the only ones pushing for Sunday liquor sales are big-box retailers working to force smaller stores out of business. Nonsense! I submitted a resolution at my DFL Party caucus this spring for Sunday liquor sales, and it passed unanimously. According to others I talked with, caucuses across the Twin Cities strongly supported Sunday liquor sales. Unfortunately, instead of listening to their constituents, too many Twin Cities state senators and representatives listened to the liquor lobby instead of those they represent. We voters need to remember this in the voting booth. I know I will.
Pat Mulloy, Minneapolis
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The June 2 letter posited that allowing Sunday sales is an inconvenience to stores. If true, then it follows that liquor sales on Tuesdays through Saturdays are similarly inconvenient. If liquor sales were restricted to one day — say, Monday — then that should be the least inconvenience to those harried stores, and the revenue would be the same, right?
I disagree that Sunday liquor sales are necessary, but I hold that disallowing Sunday liquor sales is unnecessary and a relic restriction that should be retired.
Hugh Phillips, Andover
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It is now 2016, not 1916. The current law is based on antiquated philosophy. The proposal for Sunday sales does not require liquor stores to be open. It would, however, provide options to us all. It has the potential for increased jobs and tax revenue.
Most of us have visited states that allow this option, and in some states that option is available in grocery stores (making for convenience and a “greener” one-stop shop). The current “blue law” was enacted as a concession to residual attitudes immediately after the repeal of Prohibition.
Time to update our freedom of choice.
Duff Miller, Lilydale
My weekly escape
Our news is too often filled with sadness, controversy and political turmoil. It is why I look so forward to Friday’s Outdoors section, featuring “Cabin Country.” Each personal story brings a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.
Janel Eischens, Belle Plaine