In light of another mass school shooting, there is yet more reflection, commentary and heated debate. Allow me to share my thoughts as a teacher in our public schools.
We don’t reflect only in the immediate aftermath of the latest shooting. This is now a part of our daily routine in what is supposed to be a safe, loving place for kids to thrive and a place of employment to many. Along with reading, math and science, we now teach kids how to react if a bad guy gets in the building and starts taking people down.
Think about that for a moment. Is this what we want for our children? In America? Supposedly the most advanced country in the world? Is this what we call progress? Wayne LaPierre and his pals at the NRA would have you believe that the best and only solution is not to make it harder for the bad people to get guns, but to add more guns. He would even like to see teachers armed. Just reflect on that for a moment. I have done extensive training on how to help a child learn how to read and do algebra. We also play nurse, psychologist, social worker, mom and countless other roles in our day at school. I refuse to take on the role of armed soldier.
How about we focus our efforts on prevention? Educators call this being proactive. Protectors of the NRA are reactive, and, quite honestly, their suggestions are ridiculous and insulting to the morals of this country. I am not interested in taking away anyone’s guns, but I am interested in prevention. Reasonable gun control, along with properly funded mental health care and support services for young people, is a good place to begin in reducing gun-related violence among young people, by young people.
Just ask a teacher. We know kids. We love kids. Many of our young people are lost and lonely and hurting. Don’t ask, “What’s wrong with kids today?” Instead, ask what’s wrong with the adults in our country who don’t have the courage to take on the NRA and gun manufacturers and properly fund social services and health care that could go far in protecting our young people from gun violence that has become all too common in our daily routine. I’m furious and I’m disgusted by the lack of action by our elected officials. The teachers are speaking up. We’re strong. We vote. And we won’t back down.
Sarah Brookner, Minneapolis
Action on gun policy, distracted driving: Fail, fail
Shame on you, Democrats and Republicans! A reading of the May 22 articles about the recent legislation under consideration by Gov. Mark Dayton revealed no mention of guns. Not one. I’m so glad that Minneapolis and St. Paul can now increase their hotel room taxes. Wonder if we could raise taxes on gun purchases?
The House Committee on Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance was not able to come up with one bill about gun violence. Perhaps it could have invited some parents from Santa Fe, Texas, whose children were killed in school.
Jennifer Becker, Cambridge, Minn.
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Nevada — a state that allows gambling, prostitution and marijuana use — bans handheld devices for talking or texting while driving. Guess Nevada legislators figure that safety on the highway supersedes personal freedoms. Shame on our Minnesota Legislature for letting us down once again.
Mark Lofthus, Edina
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If nothing else, this year’s legislative session is a good lesson on the perils of procrastination.
Sean Foley, Richfield
To address it, we must recognize what it is: A structural inequity
In his May 22 commentary, “Thoughts about white privilege after Harry Windsor,” Stephen B. Young mistakenly characterizes white privilege as a “presumed permanent inequity.” By doing so, he is able to dismiss it as an ascriptive characteristic such as ethnicity or skin tone. In fact, white privilege is a structural inequity in American society for which there is a great deal of objective evidence.
Structural inequities are difficult to change, but they need not be permanent. For example, some European societies accepted the inequities of primogeniture for centuries, something that changed only when Enlightenment notions of equality opened inheritance to all surviving rather than the oldest surviving son only.
White privilege can be addressed and changed, but only if we recognize it for what it is. Mr. Young makes that more difficult.
Frank Schweigert, St. Paul
TRUMP AND AMAZON
President’s call for postal hikes recalls abuse of power by Nixon
When we learned that President Richard Nixon tried to get the IRS to harass his enemies, we were outraged. He was charged with abuse of power, which was grounds for impeachment.
Now President Donald Trump tries to get the U.S. Postal Service to harass Amazon, a company owned by Jeff Bezos, whom he considers an enemy; Bezos also owns the Washington Post.
How will we react to this obvious abuse of power? Trump’s administration is so corrupt that we may just say ho-hum. We may be like the frog that slowly cooked to death because it did not notice that its water had slowly come to a boil, after starting out cold.
Ingrid Stocking, Minneapolis
POWER AND STATUS
Servers, simply doing their job, deserve to be treated with respect
My nephew is finishing up his master’s degree in international relations this year. He’s a dedicated honor student who has had to work two jobs to cover his expenses.
A few weeks ago, he was waiting on tables at a party of what he described as middle-aged women. As the afternoon wore on and the guests became more tipsy, they began to touch him. He told me that he couldn’t walk between the tables without the women grabbing his butt and making comments. At one point, several took hold of him and pulled him to the front of the room to dance. His boss just stood there laughing.
This was about power and status: access to an individual who was powerless to complain without risking his employment. I’m sure these women would never have behaved this way to a son of their friend or to their boss. They probably would have been incensed had this happened to a young woman in a room full of men.
This scene is replayed countless times every day to both men and women who serve others for minimum wage plus tips. These servers are simply minding their own business trying to make ends meet. They deserve respect, not abuse.
April Spas, Minneapolis