To conservative commentators who blame Democratic administrations for unrest in our cities, I have one question. Which is more frightening: a city where law enforcement chokes a restrained Black man to death, and citizens of all races rise up in horror and protest; or a city where law enforcement chokes a restrained Black man to death, and no one minds? Or worse, no one dares to object?
Barb Fugate, Bloomington
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A Sept. 4 letter writer preaches, "Do we believe that we should not suffer any bad consequences when we have turned deaf ears on years of complaints about systematic racial abuse?" My response to this is, which "we" is she referring to? Most certainly not herself, living in her cozy and safe (for now) abode in an outer-ring suburb. I would be interested in what consequences she has endured. Rather, those suffering the "consequences" are an untold number of mostly Black- and minority-owned businesses and their employees. What did they, and their employees, do to deserve the destruction of their hard-earned businesses, and in many cases, their life savings? The writer would have us believe that it was their turning of deaf ears to ... systemic racism. What nonsense. She goes on to say that the destruction would have been much worse "had either [Gov. Tim] Walz or [Mayor Jacob] Frey used strong-arm tactics immediately." More nonsense. Would the writer advocate allowing an angry mob of people to burn down her house so as to not make matters worse?
Rioting, arson, looting and destruction of private and public property are criminal acts committed by criminals. Criminals (irrespective of their justification for committing the crime) need to be arrested immediately upon committing criminal acts lest their crimes go unchecked. There is no room in a civil society for letting crimes go unchecked and then blaming the victims for the crime.
Mark Plooster, Plymouth
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With perfect irony, the Star Tribune published a story about civility and political debate without ever mentioning one of the biggest factors in this crisis: clearly biased reporting ("Lack of civility stains our politics, protests," front page, Sept. 6).
For evidence, one need look no further than the third paragraph of the selfsame article. In Kenosha, Wis., it informs us, "a pro-Trump vigilante killed two protesters and wounded a third." Notice the pejorative term "vigilante" and the neutral term "protesters." There was absolutely no context given for this incident; namely, that evidence shows that the "vigilante" was likely shot at before he himself started shooting and certainly was physically attacked at one point.
Contrast that with the description of the shooting in Portland, Ore. In that, the Star Tribune informs us, "a far-right militia member was fatally shot by a man who said he was providing security to protesters." Again, notice the negative adjective "far-right" (for the victim!), this time followed by an attempt to provide context for the shooting.
Do the writers of the Star Tribune not see the problem here? Do the editors really believe this is a balanced way to outline these stories?
One of the reasons for the incivility and rancor in this country is that people do not trust the media to report without an agenda. This is true for all of us, wherever we lie on the political spectrum. When we don't trust what we are being told, it ramps up suspicion and cynicism. The next logical steps are desperation and rage.
You can blame lawmakers of all political stripes — certainly there's enough blame to go around. But I wish reporters and editors would really try to see that they are a big part of the problem.
Catherine Walker, Minneapolis
'LOSERS' and 'SUCKERS'
These insults are par for the course
There's a very good reason why the account of President Donald Trump describing Americans killed on the battlefield as "losers" and "suckers" is so believable ("Report: Trump disparaged U.S. war dead as 'losers,' " Sept. 4). It's because it's planted in fertile soil. Trump has made no secret his disdain for anyone in his orbit who's worn a uniform, beginning five years ago with his belittlement of the late Sen. John McCain, submitting that "he's not a war hero" for being shot down as a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War. During his presidential campaign he trashed military brass, bragging, "I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me." Over his presidency, he's taken to calling veterans and others who speak out against him "Never Trumpers," which he said are "human scum." He denigrated highly decorated vets, like his former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and former special counsel Robert Mueller. He pardoned troops accused of war crimes. He excoriated John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general who served as his chief of staff, saying, he "didn't do a good job, had no temperament and ... was unable to handle the pressure of this job."
This weekend, when the Star Tribune and nearly every major news outlet followed up the Atlantic story with reports of Trump's angry denials, remember the words of Maya Angelou: When someone shows who they are, believe them the first time.
Stephen Monson, Golden Valley
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I see the understandable outrage by some in regard to Trump's alleged disparagement of our veterans. It might be wise to take the time to try and determine if the largely anonymous allegations are true or if perhaps there might be something else going on here 50-some days prior to the coming election. The timing smacks as being kind of convenient for foes of Trump. Who exactly are the people making the allegations, and would those comments square with Trump's largely respectful and reverent attitude toward our veterans? You can't necessarily believe everything you read, especially in these times.
John Charles Chapman, Victoria, Minn.
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As a proud veteran sucker and loser, it is so sad to see and hear our commander and chief of our U.S. military forces disparage our deceased and current military veterans. His innuendoes and derogatory comments are so hurtful to U.S. Gold Star families, current active military and proud military veterans. Please lock this draft dodger up in his war room in the basement in the White House without his phone for the next two months.
Don Kerr, Woodland
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Mr. President, you claim that you did not say that dead soldiers are "losers" and "suckers." That may be the truth. However, even if you didn't say those things, you are now paying the price for so many of your previous lies, distortions and denials. As author Sara Shepard put it, "No one believes a liar. Even when she's telling the truth." The bigger truth is that you have failed to see and show that honesty is the best policy. Now your policies and legacy are in danger of failure. That's the bigger price you pay when you're not honest in what you say.
Jim Joyce, Minneapolis
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I find it amazing how quickly people believe the article in the Atlantic about Trump and comments about our troops. It's always an anonymous source — give me a break! Let's look at the record. Trump is building the military back up and fixing the VA. What did Barack Obama do but defund our military and not even address the VA? I'm sick of all this propaganda. Wake up, people!
Dale John Kemmetmueller, Hanover, Minn.
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I am not a loser. I am not a sucker. I am a 66-year-old woman who joined the Air Force in 1974 and served six years for my country. I did not serve during wartime but served faithfully and with dignity for my country. My first tour of duty was to Okinawa as one of two women working on the flight line as an aircraft mechanic. I swapped for tour with a fellow airman so he could be stationed in the U.S. with his wife and 18-month-old daughter. I am not a hero, but his family thought I was! I received wonderful training and mentoring in the military. When I was discharged, I used the GI bill to put myself through night school while I worked during the day. I met a wonderful man, married, had a successful career and have led a happy life.
I am not a loser; I am not a sucker. My hope is at some point Donald Trump will realize how poor he is compared to those of us who are rich in happiness, contentment and compassion for each other.
Julie Theiringer, Golden Valley
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