It goes without saying that the death of Mollie Tibbetts is an unspeakable tragedy (“Immigrant charged in murder of Iowa student,” Aug. 22). Her killer faces life in prison, and justifiably so. His actions are deplorable, and he should have the book thrown at him. That is beyond dispute.
But what is also sad about this case is the demonization taking place of illegal immigrants. There is not one study that shows illegal immigrants are any more likely to commit crimes than the general population. The suspect in Tibbetts’ murder needed a job to stay in the country, of course. He was employed at Yarrabee Farms in Iowa, a company owned by the family of Craig Lang, who was a Republican candidate in the recent primary election for Iowa agriculture secretary. Also, the same day the Tibbetts suspect was charged, a white man who had lived all his life in the U.S. appeared in court in Colorado on charges of killing his wife and two daughters. You don’t hear Republicans talking much about that crime.
The point is, crimes are committed by individuals, not races or ethnic groups. There are bad people all over the planet. As the character Atticus Finch said in “To Kill a Mockingbird”: “This is a truth that applies to the entire human race, and to no particular race.” There are also good people of all races. “To Kill a Mockingbird” was published in 1960. Let’s not go back to 58 years ago. I thought we were beyond this — but maybe I was mistaken.
David Frederick, Coon Rapids
Book helps to show what victims go through after the crime
My heart goes out to the young woman whose rape was not investigated thoroughly, and whose rapist went free (“Criticism of ‘Denied Justice’ series, and of a victim I know well, is shameful,” counterpoint, Aug. 22) Being treated in this way can make a woman feel both unvalued and unsafe, victimizing her again.
President Barack Obama was quoted in a magazine article as valuing fiction for its ability to teach us empathy, and he was so right! I just read “Us Against You” by Fredrik Backman, whose novel teaches the reader much about how such a sexual crime can haunt a young woman, change her life, make her feel terrified and affect attitudes of everyone around her, especially if the rapist happens to be a sports hero or some other high-profile person the community has looked up to. People whom she used to count as friends may turn on her, scorn her, leave profane comments on her voice mail and mock her on social media. That story, well told, will indeed haunt me and make my support of rape victims more militant. Yes, an accused rapist still deserves his day in court, but before that, each complainant deserves to have her complaint taken as seriously and investigated as vigorously as any other crime punishable by 12 to 14 years for the first offense. That’s a very long sentence, for a very serious crime.
Mary McLeod, St. Paul
COHEN AND MANAFORT
Complicity extends to a party that won’t take a proper stand
Have we reached the tipping point (“Cohen pleads guilty, says Trump directed payoffs” and “Manafort guilty on 8 fraud charges,” Aug. 22)? Have we seen enough to know for sure that something is terribly wrong, that people of good conscience say “enough”? Will the men who run President Donald Trump’s party put an end to this parade of scandals and criminality?
Can we admit that we voters made a mistake? Will we ask that honest men and women in elected office put an end to this reality show? Do we need to watch this thing to the end of the season, finally able to switch the channel?
The long list of criminals surrounding the man and who have either been convicted in court or who have admitted their crimes (some committed on his behalf) grows longer each week, and we taxpayers wonder if it will stop. At a minimum, candidates running for office under the banner of Trump’s party should say “enough.” Enough with the lies; enough with the bribes paid to porn stars and prostitutes to keep quiet; enough with the shady dealings to avoid paying a fair share of taxes. Enough.
Members of the party of Abraham Lincoln, show us that you are ethical, truthful and honorable. Shame on you if you again find it possible to ignore and minimize and wait for this to pass. You know this will end in impeachment or prison. For sure you know this will be your legacy — you are either complicit, or you say “enough.” Bring this national nightmare to an end. Please. Show us decency. Please.
Hans Madland, Winona, Minn.
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Now that the real depth of corruption is hitting the fan, isn’t the biggest question just how far this president will be willing to go to hold on to his power? What will his ruling party be willing to swallow? It would seem up to this point that nothing is too low.
Suzanne Davies, Lutsen, Minn.
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I thought Trump should have released his tax returns before the 2016 election, but I think it is even more important that he release them now. Trump has praised Paul Manafort, a man convicted of tax fraud and other financial crimes, as a good man and a brave man. Either Trump does not understand what terms like “good man” and “brave man” mean or does not consider tax fraud a crime.
Jim Weygand, Carver
A not-to-be-dismissed concern is the number of bedrooms
The report released Tuesday by the governor’s Task Force on Housing is a good step in the right direction, providing a framework for possible action with many of the components of a very complicated housing situation identified (“State report tackles affordable housing crisis,” Aug. 22). The report provides impressive statistics about the units of affordable housing needed in Minnesota.
As a regular volunteer in Project Home, a shelter for homeless families in Ramsey County, I’m happy to see that the report identifies homeless schoolkids and low-income families as a big part of the need. However, the report doesn’t mention a key component that is central in planning affordable housing for families: the number of bedrooms needed in each housing unit. The typical family I see in Project Home consists of a single parent caring for two or more children; such families typically need housing units with at least three bedrooms. Indeed, Ramsey County regulations would prohibit use of a two-bedroom unit even for a family of three, if it consisted of a mom with a teenage son and a younger daughter. But three-bedroom affordable housing units in Ramsey County are vanishingly scarce. Because we value families, we can’t forget to include three-bedroom units in all planning for affordable housing at every level in this impressive task force report.
Elaine Tarone, St. Paul