Yes, the “dozen witless wonders” cited in an April 26 editorial did a very stupid thing, endangered other drivers and cared nothing for the community in which they live (“Fools and fast cars are a dangerous mix,” regarding the news story “Supercar drivers cited at 100 mph”). But what about the tens of thousands of witless wonders who text, put on makeup, take selfies, talk on the phone or read the Star Tribune while driving? Aren’t they equally as stupid and uncaring about their community as the Lamborghini louts?
As we throw trash out of car windows, treat distracted driving as a right or slip into a handicapped parking space (because who wants to walk all the way down the row), we demonstrate a sad truth — we no longer feel that we belong to a community that deserves our respect and care. We are individuals! We deserve everything we can take. Other people can worry about themselves.
We cannot cure the individualist witless wonders with fines, only with the same kind of change of heart that this state generated about smoking.
Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis
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I am hoping that the county attorney and local policing organizations will further investigate the illegal and terrorist activity that took place on Interstate 394 by a gang known for its life-threatening behavior involving the use of exotic and dangerous vehicles. I would also hope that we confiscate the expensive equipment it collaboratively used to avoid law enforcement and terrorize the community. The revenue generated from the auction of only one of its cars would support a community-based youth intervention program for a year.
It’s interesting that when dangerous group behavior is committed by middle-aged, affluent, suburban males, the fear generated is nil — and their behavior is described as an innocent lark. However, when less dangerous behavior is attributed to youth who are poor, nonwhite and from urban neighborhoods, the fear generated is disproportionately high — and often accompanied by demands for draconian law enforcement.
David Wilmes, Roseville
I’m skeptical of painkiller claims; media should be, too
While I read Mick Sterling’s bittersweet and lovely tribute to Prince with a heavy heart (“His music, our moments,” April 26), I’m sad to see the attorney for Prince’s siblings emerge for what can only be publicity reasons to state that said family members told him years ago that Prince had an illicit drug problem, and for the Star Tribune to imply that this was the cause of Prince’s death in a salacious above-the-fold headline (“Inquiry into Prince’s death focusing on drugs,” also April 26). Until a medical report is issued from a legitimate source, such speculation is not “news.” It is TMZ-like gossip journalism, and I expect better from the Star Tribune.
It’s curious to note that these same siblings have not appeared in any news footage or articles in the last week, where we have seen Tyka Nelson, Sheila E. and other close associates of Prince. As reported by the Star Tribune, these same siblings allegedly sued Prince numerous times (with the help of the newspaper’s source who alleged the drug issues, attorney Michael Padden, who may better spend his time in an ethics refresher). Their dubious relationship with Prince makes me skeptical of their claims. Again, I expect better of my newspaper, which, with the exception of Tuesday’s smear, has done a remarkable job in honoring our hometown boy.
Jean Bystol, Rosemount
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Last weekend was all about celebration, yet now the media barrages us with speculation. How quickly the story turned from love, respect and music to lawyers, drugs and money. That this shift is so predictable makes it no less sad, no less shameful. In life, Prince gave his very best to us. At this moment, he deserves better from us.
David Aquilina, Minneapolis
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Some deaths are unavoidable, many are preventable. Despite our human tendency to romanticize early death, especially among the talented and famous, succumbing to the consequences of addiction is not predestined. The price of success need not include tragedy.
Privacy is prized by many of us in pain, often at the expense of life itself. Emotional distress kept hidden often exacts its toll through suicide. Physical pain ameliorated by narcotics can spiral into accidental overdose.
Reaching out to ask questions and offer hope is vitally important, even if the sufferer treats it as an intrusion. Sometimes, it may save a personal, or a public, life.
Lori Wagner Hollenkamp, Mendota Heights
IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICES
Sounds really prudent — until you learn that they don’t work
I must respond to the April 22 commentary “It’s a no-brainer: Minnesota needs interlock devices,” by Colleen Sheehey-Church of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. I am certain if Ms. Sheehey-Church and the two authors of bills in the Minnesota Legislature endured a year with an ignition interlock device on a vehicle of their own, they would change their minds on the topic.
A vehicle in my household had one for one year. It is bad technology. It doesn’t work, unless of course the objective is to prevent the vehicle from starting — most of the time. We had many, many instances when the ignition interlock system didn’t allow the car to start even though the driver had no alcohol. It would malfunction before the blow.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We did all the things you’re thinking. We called the 1-800 number. We had the handheld unit replaced twice. Once the installation technician said: “Yeah, they kinda work that way.”
The commentary stated that one must “exhale into the device.” No. There is a blow-hum pattern one must master. I couldn’t do it. I had to buy another car because we could no longer use the same one.
I am sure these proponents of the ignition interlock systems are relying on the salesman to tell them these things work. They don’t.
Paula Evensen, St. Louis Park
Article on Medtronic study was incomplete about bone protein
Representing spine surgery leaders in our state, both the Minnesota Neurosurgical Society and Minnesota Orthopedic Society are concerned with the representation of recombinant human bone morphegenic protein-2 (rhBMP-2, sold as Medtronic Infuse) in the April 10 article “Question of risk: Medtronic’s lost study.” While we have no information on Medtronic’s internal research processes, the article presents an unbalanced evaluation of current scientific literature surrounding rhBMP-2 and places Minnesota patients at risk.
Specifically, information regarding the complication profile of rhBMP-2 was incomplete, including the absence of three large-scale studies (involving more than 100,000 patients) showing no difference in complication rates comparing patients treated with and without rhBMP-2, except in the cervical spine (Neurosurgical Focus, October 2015; Spine Journal, December 2014; Spine, September 2011). These recent studies also do not indicate an increased cancer risk.
This biased presentation may inappropriately deter patients from incorporating rhBMPs into their surgical plans and derailing preoperative surgical discussions. We think the population of Minnesota is best served by providing the most up-to-date information. We hope that the editorial leadership of the Star Tribune feels the same way.
Dr. Michelle Clarke and Dr. Michael Taunton, Rochester
The writers are presidents, respectively, of the Minnesota Neurosurgical Society and the Minnesota Orthopedic Society.