As a Minnesotan, as an American and as a Jew, I read Deepinder Mayell's Dec. 9 commentary ("My run-in with hate speech at a Minnesota Vikings game") with a mixture of anger and sadness. My emotions were influenced by the trip I took a year ago to visit Holocaust sites and Jewish historical sites in Germany and Poland. I traveled with a group from our synagogue and a group from our sister congregation in Israel. My purpose in making this painful journey was to pay homage and say "Kaddish" ( the Jewish memorial prayer) to the 6 million of my people who were murdered by the Nazis.
The hatred that inspired the Nazis I will never understand. But I learned a profound lesson from one of my fellow travelers from Israel. He had taken a course in college from a professor who was a Holocaust survivor. He taught his students: "Never be a perpetrator," "never be a victim" and "never stand by." To Mr. Mayell's accusator: You are a hateful and ignorant perpetrator. To those of you who stood by and said nothing: You have shamed yourselves and your community.
Mr. Mayell: As a member of this community, I give you my deepest apology and my gratitude for your courage.
Victor M. Sandler, Plymouth
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I grant that Mayell was subjected to very rude and ignorant behavior at the Vikings game. However, hate speech? Deeply unsettling? I know those are his feelings, but my reaction is to tell him to get over it. We have been subjected to terrifying events, events where people were actually killed, by people from the Middle East and Pakistan — which is, I assume, where the person thought he was from. And, unfortunately, he must realize that some people will be hostile to people from those regions because of that. All through American history, immigrants have been subjected to rude and hostile treatment. I'm an immigrant. I know. When subjected to that, the "American" thing to do, in my opinion, is to tell them to go eff themselves. Don't go tell a security guard and hope he will handle it for you.
Bill Conway, Vadnais Heights
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If a person of color hurled hate speech at a white person, they would be escorted out of the stadium very quickly. If they tried to have a "conversation" with a security guard, additional security would be called. If they continued to protest, the police would be called in. If they resisted being handcuffed, they would be "resisting arrest" and guns would be drawn. They most definitely would not be sitting within feet of the white person they shouted at with hate speech. The white person would be comforted by outraged white people. You know it, we know it and, most important, people of color know it.
Connie and Deanna Abbott-Foster, Woodbury
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I, too, have been subjected to boorish, thoughtless thugs at Vikings games, and I am a lifelong Minnesotan of Scandinavian descent. Overserved men acting out fantasy sports drive away good people like Mr. Mayell, my family (young children) and all who love football as a sport. It is something the Vikings should try to control and remove this element from their games.
Jeff Jensen, Minneapolis
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I am white, financially comfortable, and privileged. And I love the United States of America. I am blessed to live here. But I hate hate speech, and I consider it truly un-American. Do not try to engage in it around me. I will scream bloody murder. I will bring the house down. My brave mother-in-law served on a hospital ship in the South Pacific during World War II. My brave cousins served in Vietnam. They were serving an America that hasn't always done well at welcoming everyone or honoring those who lived here when all the immigrants came. Nonetheless, the America I believe in is generous and welcoming. It honors people of all faiths and human traits and languages. This America I will defend everywhere, be it at an Applebee's or a Vikings game or the Mall of America. I don't care if you hit me in the face with a coffee mug or swear at me. Don't denigrate my fellow Americans — or fellow humans — in front of me. I have a loud voice, and I will raise it to defend the true values of my country.
Sarah Entenmann, Northfield
Editors can distort all they'd like, but circumstances are on his side
On Dec. 9, the Star Tribune reacted to Donald Trump's controversial comment about President Obama's immigration and visa policies by ganging up on him with a plethora of articles and letters showing one-sided views rather than sharing and analyzing what he actually stated about this problem.
One letter writer even made an incredible analogy to Adolf Hitler, a comparison that any competent and unbiased historian could poke a million holes into.
Trump stirs controversy more because of how he says things than the issue being addressed. He clearly stated that he had called for a temporary ban of new Muslim refugees and visa applications until Obama gets a handle on this area.
Facts are stubborn things that people on the left have tried to evade ever since Obama took office.
Here are some facts that support Trump's point of view: Several thousand Americans have been murdered on American soil by Muslim extremist visitors and immigrants; Obama's policy puts Americans at risk for more terrorist attacks; the biggest terrorist threat facing America today is from those coming to America who are Muslim extremists.
Unlike most Americans, I lived in Europe for several years during the 1980s, and I continue to travel there today to visit many relatives and friends. Go ask the common people of France, Belgium, England and Germany how well their liberal immigration policy has worked for them with respect to the unchecked movement of Muslims into their nations. They will tell you that it's a disaster and a powder keg of anger and fear ready to explode.
Corby Pelto, Plymouth
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If the Republican primaries were held today, Trump would not be my first or even second choice. But it seems to me this outrage over his suggestion to prevent noncitizen Muslims from entering the country "until our representatives figure out what the hell is going on" has gotten more than a little out of hand.
It might be constitutional under the plenary powers doctrine. It might also be legal under the statute President Jimmy Carter used to ban Iranians from the U.S. and to deport some Iranian students in 1979 during the Iranian hostage crisis.
The way I see it, the present threat of domestic terrorism from radical Islamic terrorists is significantly greater than was any domestic threat from Iranians during the hostage crisis.
Bob Jentges, North Mankato, Minn.
EXCELSIOR AND ALCOHOL
Issues notwithstanding, this remains a wonderful town
At first glance, the Dec. 9 headline "Excelsior hits tipping point," covering liquor-related incidents, was a bit hard to take. We realize things such as this in the print media often help to spur action on a situation. We hope that the shopping public continues to know that Excelsior is still a great city to visit. Many of our retail businesses — including a florist; a yarn shop; art and framing stores; a pet shop; a book shop; a barber shop; an appliance store; interior design businesses; clothing, gift and antique shops, and more have been here a long time, some for 20 to 40 years. We have owned and operated our store for more than 44 years on Water Street. The owners and operators of the Excelsior shops are still the same friendly folks in a nicely maintained and beautifully decorated downtown.
Darel and LaVerna Leipold, Orono
The writers own Leipolds Gifts & Antiques in Excelsior.
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In the world of semantics, it's always exciting to witness the birth of a new word. Take "overserved," which was used five times in the article about Excelsior's alcohol problem. It's new and hip, and nicely shifts the responsibility for one's behavior to someone else.
Nick Johnson, Excelsior