While Dr. Uzma Samadani raises a provocative and compelling argument against legislating the elimination of risk-taking behaviors among youth, it strikes me as highly misleading to equate the risk of injury of contact sports with the “risk” inherent in “skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, equestrian or bicycling” (“Call to ban football collides with the facts,” Dec. 4).

Football, and perhaps to only slightly lesser degree hockey, are predicated on collision, physically overpowering an opponent in individual and collective contact. These collisions can occur hundreds of times in a single competition and are therefore by definition non-risk avoidant, potentially injury inducing and intrinsic to the game. In fact, to even suggest in her piece that the elimination of football would lead the adolescent in his “creativity” to take his skateboard and channel his unbridled energy into “jumping off roofs” is a rather irresponsible stretch. (Perhaps she was being tongue-in-cheek.)

It’s doubtful if a skier or skateboarder ever set out to collide with a tree, while the very objective in football is to seek out and dominate the person across from you.

Dennis Lang, St. Paul

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

New clothing? Moving a dog? Where was the common sense?

I have longtime convictions that the University of Minnesota should be getting fewer of our tax dollars until we can see sound, consistent fiscal management from it. Poor decisions are all over, especially in the athletic department. The commentary by Steven Dornfeld (“U spending is arrogant, out of control,” Dec. 4) cites several more examples of our tax money being thrown around with seemingly little thought! I do not think it is up to us to clothe Marlene Stollings or to take care of Richard Pitino’s dog.

It seems to me that for starters, both of these employees should voluntarily return the money paid to them for this stuff or it should be deducted from pay due in the future. In the first place, both should have the common sense not to accept these payments; nor should any manager approve them. Furthermore, each manager approving these nonsensical payments should be fined an equal amount or otherwise sanctioned. I would also like to deduct some of these expenses on my Minnesota income tax return for 2015.

Lyle Arnold, Apple Valley

 

OUR SENSE OF COMMUNITY

Americans should model ways to peacefully achieve change

I am a student at Bethel University, an institution that thrives on the idea of community. Outside of campus, however, there are riots, war, hate crimes and all sorts of evil. The sense of community in our nation is falling apart.

We see this in Minneapolis and Chicago, demonstrations at Yale and at the University of Missouri. Why do we resort to law-breaking to fix problems within our nation? There are ways to raise awareness without destroying property and disturbing the peace. We live in a great country with the right to vote. We can run for office and make change ourselves. If people want real change, they need to demonstrate in a respectful way. People need to get out and vote, and if they do not like any candidate, run for office themselves.

We, as a nation, are a community that needs to show the world that there are ways to promote change in a peaceful, law-abiding way. We, as a community, need to resolve our issues and come through these tough times stronger than ever. We have done it in the past, and we can do it again.

Tyler Martens, Arden Hills

• • •

Before we declare martial law to combat the shootings occurring every week and threaten and argue with everyone who doesn’t share the exact same view as ours on every issue, maybe we should figure out why our government is failing us. We stopped being a government “for the people” a few generations ago. Our elected officials need millions to ensure their re-election each cycle, and because of this have to get on their knees in front of every billionaire in the country to raise the required money. We are not a true republic anymore and haven’t been for years. Our arrogance and ignorance makes it much easier to blame the president for everything that’s wrong in our lives instead of blaming a system that we, as voters, have allowed to fail. Take the money out of politics and we can become the “United” States again.

Tom Intihar, Brooklyn Park

 

APPLEBEE’S ATTACK

Let’s not whitewash talk of racially motivated attacks

In response to the attack on Asma Jama, a letter writer cautioned the Somali community “from playing the race/religion card and jumping on the race/religion wagon.” (Readers Write, Dec. 1, and “Attack leaves area Muslims living in fear,” Nov. 30) It seems clear that the attack on Jama was motivated by her race and possibly her religion. She was beaten for speaking in a foreign language. Consider whether this attack would have happened if she had been white and speaking German or Norwegian.

The writer also objects to being “grouped together with racists and bigots.” Speaking truthfully about racism does not mean all white people are racists, nor does it mean that anyone is being “grouped together.” We as a society cannot address racism if we cannot speak candidly about racist attacks. And in the wake of the attack, no one in the Somali community suggested that all white people are racist. Rather, the response from all members of the community was encouraging.

The writer also notes that crimes happen on the University of Minnesota campus and that “many of those assaulted were white.” That may be true, but it doesn’t mean the crimes were racially motivated. Let’s have the courage to speak honestly without fear.

Terrance Newby, Roseville

 

BIKE LANES

With right-turning motorists, those plastic lane posts are a risk

While our bike lanes with plastic-post barriers protect riders between intersections, they encourage drivers to make unsafe, illegal right turns crossing bike lanes (“Advocates press city for more protected bike paths,” Nov. 28). Turning drivers cannot see riders approaching behind them.

The law requires right turns to be made from close to the curb or road edge. That means the turning vehicle must change lanes into the bike lane before turning. Turning is an exception to the prohibition of driving in bike lanes, so for turns, driving in a bike lane is not only permitted, it is required with or without dashed white lines. Even without a bike lane, drivers are required to be close to the curb to turn right.

Unfortunately, few drivers demonstrate this knowledge and consequently put riders at risk. In addition to needing drivers to learn the law, bike-lane barriers should be designed to facilitate and encourage legal right turns.

John Kaplan, St. Paul

 

SOLAR ENERGY

View of airport plant quite sunny

The news that the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport can eliminate 7,000 tons of CO2 using its new solar facility is good. To put it in perspective, that’s the amount generated by 700 individual Americans. Maybe we should hold off on the self-congratulations until another thousand or so solar plants of this size are commissioned.

Stan Kaufman, New Brighton