As sure as night follows day, the story line about how dangerous it is to be a police officer will be woven into the many editorials and commentaries following the shooting death of a 911 caller clad in only her pajamas. Whether it is stated outright or implied, we will be expected to lend our sympathies to the police because their work is so dangerous. “No wonder they are so on edge. They could be killed at any moment.” This just isn’t so. Google the most dangerous jobs in the United States, as I just did. What you will find is that being a police officer rarely breaks into the top 10. Loggers, fishing workers, miners, roofers, cabdrivers, farmers, ranchers and construction workers all have more dangerous occupations than being a police officer. With that said, we can all acknowledge that policing carries physical and psychological risk. But we need to stop buying into the mentality that policing is a war-zone occupation. The overstatement of the dangers police face only serves to separate the community from the police, and it greatly contributes to police officers’ viewing of the most innocent among us as lethal threats.
Scott Cruse, Minneapolis
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Let me get this straight. Officer hears a loud noise. Woman in pajamas appears. Ambush quickly assumed. Let’s go with that just for giggles. So they quickly shoot the pajama lady and get out of the car to perform CPR. Aren’t they more vulnerable outside the car, kneeling to perform CPR, than staying in the car, not shooting, backing out of the alley and calling for backup protection from scary pajama lady? Hey, Minneapolis Police Department: Your truly substandard officer training has caused meathead, urban imaginations to run wild. Time to clean house. Nobody’s buying it, and I’m suddenly in the mood to shut down a freeway. What’s it gonna take?
Tresa Sauer, Robbinsdale
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Among all the questions surrounding the Damond shooting, I have two more: Why were two police officers who had a whopping two and a half years of experience between them given the most dangerous and precarious shift to patrol? Shouldn’t a veteran officer be placed with a novice?
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
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There are consequences to guns. Firing one. Owning one. The great unknown if someone has one in their pocket. To Justine Damond’s family, friends and even this city in sorrow, it is hard to look at the big picture right now. A house guest of ours from Sweden a few years ago was terrified of what would happen if there were car trouble on a short road trip. Would someone with a gun hurt her? At the time, I was stunned she would think this. I now realize, sadly, along with Justine’s family that this country “is a very risky place.” Every shooting brings new blame. Police not knowing who has a gun, and knowing they have become targets. Citizens not knowing what police will do next, and rightly feeling they are being targeted. This has become America’s identity. It’s the guns. It’s the guns. It’s the guns.
Liz Strom Knutson, Minneapolis
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It’s always a relief to see a police car while commuting back home after work. Whether it’s the transit police or a patrol car, the presence of cops makes it easy and safe to carry on activities. And not to be worried about hoodlums around you.
However, the recent police shootings of dogs and of an Australian woman are severely disturbing. I expect the officers involved to be terminated at least, but let’s not tarnish the entire image of the uniformed department.
Among all the Islamophobia, two police officers helped me and even offered bus fare after knowing that I belonged to the Muslim community. Once, as I was crossing a bridge on the cusp of Eagan and Bloomington, the state trooper Katherine politely informed me that I was walking on a nonpedestrian bridge. She dropped me near my apartment even though I didn’t have my state ID.
A second time in Bloomington, I tried to hitchhike, which apparently is illegal. As a fresh immigrant, I did not know. Hence, a patrol car came my way, and the officer ordered me to stand still for three seconds. I complied, and he was nice enough to drop me off at the light-rail stop and even offered me money.
Not all cops are the same. And I hope our city of Minneapolis remembers that.
Aayan Syed, Minneapolis
Understanding supporters: He fights. He makes economy go.
President Donald Trump is often crude, coarse and lacking in dignity. He’s delivering on promises and can successfully exploit his “bad-boy charm.” His detractors’ heads spin in confusion, and I find some humor in that. But when asked to fully explain my continued support of Trump, I’ve been at a loss. Then an article (“He Fights,” by Evan Sayet, at Townhall.com) inspired me to look in a different direction when analyzing Trump supporters. Here are some of his thoughts and also my own.
The “Alinsky method” was the subject of Hillary Clinton’s senior thesis. And former President Barack Obama taught the “Alinsky method” to community organizers in Chicago. Alinsky believed in ridiculing the opposition and making it personal. The Democrats did that in recent years, and Trump seems to be borrowing that playbook.
Paraphrasing Sayet: We tried dignity with Bush; we tried collegiality with McCain; we tried propriety with Romney. And the results were always the same. Republicans haven’t been effective at fighting back. So I think many conservatives are supportive of Trump’s inclination to fight back in his own way. We chose a fighter, and he gets to choose his tactics. While not all of his tactics are popular, perhaps they are subliminally satisfying.
Steve Bakke, Edina
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In answer to a July 16 letter on the DFL focus: It’s a huge assumption to make that we Republicans consider Trump an albatross around our necks. Has anyone looked at their retirement accounts lately? The Dow Jones industrial average is up 3,000 points since Trump was elected. (Nothing to do with former President Barack Obama). Job numbers up, help for our vets, the pipeline up, to mention just a few. I argue that the media is the albatross around everybody’s neck. If not, you would be reading or hearing about what has been happening in the last seven months. Time to wake up and pay attention.
Margie Pihlstrom, St. Paul
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If Donald Trump is re-elected and survives an eight-year term, it will be the biggest against-all-odds upset win ever seen in American history.
No American president has ever had to endure the level of 24/7 negative media attention or “Deep State” information leaks as Trump.
Little do his political and media critics know that their hysterical, unchecked behavior and unproven or exaggerated claims will come back to haunt them.
When the dust settles many years down the road, Trump will essentially be viewed as a political martyr for rising up against the government, media and power centers of the American political system.
And that will be a bitter pill to swallow for his critics who fell blindly into his trap.
Corby Pelto, Plymouth
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Just wondering if the Donald Trump who, while addressing members of his new voter-fraud commission, said, “If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worrying about. … There’s something. There always is,” is the same Donald Trump who does not want to share his income tax information.
Jim Nally, Maplewood
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Note from Jeff (Yoda) Sessions to President Trump: Continue to work in your administration, I will. Keep an open mind, I don’t know. Work for someone who chastises me, very difficult. Keep my job, maybe.
Michael P. Fiala, Crystal