A person’s on-the-job experience brings added value to their vision. Olga Viso, the Cuban-American executive director at the Walker Art Center, has climbed a very steep learning curve this year (“Walker boss resigns after a tense year,” Nov. 15). In addition to the world-class gifts she originally brought to the Walker, she showed grace under pressure, a commitment to listening to and learning from the Dakota community, and she is the reason the gorgeous and unprecedented show “Adiós Utopia” is now installed in our city.
Acquiring “Scaffold” didn’t magically happen because Olga said so. It was a joint process, and the board was of course involved. Olga took the heat and remained steady. She committed herself to healing and learning. I am positive that if Olga were male, she would not be serving the board at the Walker as its scapegoat.
Olga has raised the Walker to a new level of excellence, and she has also forged its first real ongoing alliances among the local Native community. I have been at meetings where she listened — truly listened — to painful truths. The education she was willing to receive cannot be easily acquired. If the board at the Walker had a real sense of how valuable Olga has become to their institution in terms of this knowledge, they would immediately reinstate her.
Louise Erdrich, Minneapolis
The writer is an author and the owner of Birchbark Books.
We did our service; it speaks for itself, and others can speak, too
Two Nov. 15 letters caught my attention. One writer (“Treatment of veterans”) expressed how much he appreciated the attention given to him and other veterans at a local high school. He also referred to a Nov. 11 Variety article in which veterans were given the opportunity to express their own (“heroic,” per the letter writer) stories about life in the military. Everything was fine except for “the last one,” who used the platform to speak about a subject important to women today by saying she “encountered sexual harassment during her service in the Marines.” This could be viewed as heroic service today in many minds. She literally fought for that right. The reader stated that he “found that interesting, if not disappointing.” We have no understanding of what “interesting” means, so are left to wonder at that.
The other letter writer (“Guns”), also very proud of his military accomplishment, stated in his response to the Nov. 7 editorial “Thoughts, prayers aren’t good enough” that “[w]e not only support the Second Amendment. We support the First Amendment freedom of speech … .” Gentlemen, you cannot have it both ways just because you are veterans. This letter writer went on further to also question the loyalty/integrity of the entire Star Tribune Editorial Board and, may I assume, everyone else based on whether or not they served in the military. As a Vietnam-era veteran myself, I left any awards received in the service “quietly” stored away. Most of us did what was expected of us simply to defend our Constitution, including our First Amendment rights. No thanks needed.
Gene Hanf, Wayzata
Why we make judgments, and why Clinton’s behavior matters
A Nov. 15 letter writer contrasted the rush to judgment on sexual-assault allegations of young girls and women with the legal process followed after the robbing of a bank. This adult male obviously has no understanding of abuse and its profound lifelong effect on anyone who has been subject to it. President Bill Clinton should have stepped down in light of his behavior. Instead, he chose to slander the women who came forward. This shaming is a tactic that has been effective far too long. Women who have chosen to take the money in return for silence have many reasons, I’m sure, but they have only perpetuated the silence of others and allowed for continued predatory behavior. There is no middle ground on this shameful behavior, whether it happened 40 years ago, 20 years ago or yesterday. It is unacceptable, and we are moving forward to shed light on this dark, dismal part of our society that has been seen as the norm for far too long. The Women’s March this year was just the beginning. Women and men rise to say enough.
Suzanne Davies, Lutsen, Minn.
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Believe Roy Moore’s accusers and Donald Trump’s, but give Bill Clinton a pass, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post writes in a commentary reprinted on the Nov. 15 Opinion Exchange page. Clinton’s accusers have alleged heinous crimes — among them rape and oral sex with a 19-year-old intern while at work. Marcus says these women and all the others with claims against Clinton were fair game during the 2016 campaign but to give it a rest now because Clinton is not the president.
Moore also is not the president. Neither are Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. or Kevin Spacey. Why are Clinton’s victims irrelevant?
Kathy Swart, Eden Prairie
DEATHS BY FIREARM
The ‘good people with guns’ defense doesn’t compute
In response to a Nov. 15 letter writer’s oft-cited, but unsubstantiated NRA-inspired adage (“the best way to deal with bad people with guns is good people with guns”), the facts, based on research from Harvard School of Public Health and the Gun Violence Archive, overwhelmingly indicate otherwise. As the letter writer states, about 300 million private citizens own guns. That is one-third of all households! Yet, on average there is more than one mass shooting per day in America. States with more guns have more gun deaths, not fewer. Thirty-thousand Americans die from firearm-related deaths per year. There is a statistically significant correlation between deaths and injuries and gun ownership. Only a tiny portion of America’s firearm deaths are due to mass shootings or criminal attacks. Far more deaths and injuries are due to suicides and accidents. So, no, a good person with a gun actually causes more death and injury than the bad guys. By the way, since the letter writer seemed to feel his credentials added credence to his opinion, my credentials include a Ph.D. in applied statistics.
Steven M. Pine, Hopkins
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The Nov. 15 letter writer who took obvious offense to the Nov. 7 editorial regarding Japan’s policy on handguns asks the Editorial Board what it would suggest for a policy on gun control. However, he quickly takes a leap from an issue of handguns to all guns, since he offers sarcastic suggestions including a repeal of the Second Amendment, raids, arrests and prosecution.
I have to think the Editorial Board chose Japan’s (handgun) policy simply as an example of the effectiveness of an alternative policy — in the interest of thinking out of the box. Canada’s handgun policy involves profound control of handguns but does not prohibit them — another alternative.
I’ve been a hunter for 50-plus years, and I’ll never be ready to give up my right to own hunting guns. I also don’t feel that right is in jeopardy or ever has been. However, I’m not inclined to go into defense mode when rational discussions surface regarding a country that’s attempting to deal with gun-related deaths at an alarming rate.
Patrick Bloomfield, Chisholm, Minn.