Perhaps Kirstjen Nielsen will feel some relief (“Nielsen is out at Homeland Security: Exit comes amid Trump’s anger over border crossings,” front page, April 8). Comparing her youthful look when appointed as homeland security secretary in 2017 with her haggard visage today, the job clearly damaged her spirit. She led in defending and implementing the indefensible practice of separating migrant children from their parents, with the compounding negligence of failing to maintain records to facilitate reunification. Now we hear that our government may take two years to locate and unite these families.
Contrary to President Donald Trump’s fearmongering descriptions of these families, they have made the heartbreaking decision to flee their homes and families because their corrupt and ineffectual governments provide no hope in the face of unrelenting poverty and extortion and violence by gangs. They have made the dangerous journeys to our border, rarely escaping abuse and assault, all on the hope for a better life for their children. And then, finally reaching our border, the children are taken and sent off to detention or who knows elsewhere; trauma upon trauma. We are stunned by the impunity in causing the lifelong damage we must have done to their souls. Where is the outrage, and where is the accountability for this shameful incompetence and willful negligence in the name of our country?
The Rev. Timon Iverson, St. Paul
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I watched Sunday morning’s news and determined that it is ironic that President Trump would address a Jewish group — the Republican Jewish Coalition, before whom he spoke on Saturday in Las Vegas — and use the occasion to classify Central American asylum-seekers as a group of criminals. The reality is that they are primarily families attempting to escape the poverty and killings in their countries. During the 1930s and ’40s, the Jewish people of Germany were rejected as immigrants to numerous countries, and as a result were killed by the Nazis.
It makes me question the morality of attendees of Saturday’s gathering. Or are they Holocaust deniers?
Raymond Boll, Minneapolis
Letter writer vastly underestimated how much people do care, and why
An April 6 letter writer (“So a few people and some kids want its release. Who cares?”) laments space given to a photo of the Mueller Report Rapid Response event held Thursday at the State Capitol. As an organizer and co-leader of the event, one of more than 325 held across the nation, I assure you that one photograph does not show the full picture.
By our count, approximately 300 people joined us to demand the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s full report. Public support is overwhelmingly in our favor; in a Suffolk University/USA Today national poll, 82 percent of voters surveyed said it was very or somewhat important that the report be released to the public. The U.S. House voted 420-0 in a resolution in support of releasing the report.
As far as knowing what we were doing? We are absolutely certain of it. Mueller’s report must be released in full. Americans deserve to know the findings of the investigation from the direct source.
Anita Smithson, Bloomington
The writer is a board member of the volunteer group Indivisible MN03.
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I brought my 8-year-old daughter to the event at the State Capitol and explained to her very carefully what we were there for: Russia tried to hack our election, an expensive investigation was launched and now the results are being hidden.
My daughter cares, millions of people in America care and so, frankly, should you.
If the Mueller report is a complete exoneration of Trump, all of his supporters should want it to be made public.
Katie McMahon, Minneapolis
MOHAMED nOOR TRIAL
Weighing the needs of the public, the accused, the victim, the press
Very seldom do I disagree with the Star Tribune Editorial Board. I really disagree with its desire to see the pictures of the victim of the shooting by then-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor (“Transparency key in Noor proceedings,” April 3).
I just finished a very detailed rereading of the U.S. Constitution, Article III, and the First Amendment assuring press freedom. However, nowhere in our Constitution are the words “prurient” or “grotesque” or “detail.” A public trial is guaranteed. A public spectacle is not. The press is present and can hear and watch proceedings. Press members can judge whether the jury is composed of peers of the accused, that the accused’s rights have been accommodated. The families of both victim and accused are also there. There is no need for the press to see the victim splayed out in unfortunate ways partly unclothed. The only members of the public who need to see that are the jury. The victim’s right to dignity in death (right to privacy) is also to be protected, and the obligation to keep the decorum of the court and the focus of all parties throughout the trial on the evidence at issue is paramount. The judge is right.
Leon T. Hunt, Fergus Falls, Minn.
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Hennepin County District Judge Kathryn Quaintance, presiding over the Noor criminal case, misses the point in a couple of her responses to the request by a coalition of media to allow them to view police body camera video of the 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who had been shot by Noor.
While Quaintance has not yet made a ruling, her dismissive attitude that the “shocking” portrayal would only be of interest to “somebody who wants to watch snuff films” is flawed. Her allusion to perverts is a perversion of the law.
The reason the media wants, and should be entitled, to view the video is not for a prurient purpose, but to help the public assess and understand this admittedly key piece of evidence and how it may impact the jury’s determination. While sensitivity to the decedent and her family and friends is understandable, freedom of press under the First Amendment transcends that interest.
Second, the jurist’s skepticism that the media is a “proxy for the public” is equally misplaced. The media clearly is a proxy, especially in light of the limited space available for members of the public to attend the trial and the reality that the vast majority cannot do so and must rely upon the media to know what is happening in the case. Accordingly, the U.S. Supreme Court and other tribunals have recognized the “proxy” role of the media in effectuating the public’s right to know.
Hopefully, the judge will recognize these nuances in resolving the important issues presented to her.
Marshall H. Tanick, Minneapolis
The writer is a constitutional law attorney.
LEAVING THE ARMY
Read veteran’s exit essay if you haven’t; for this, too, it was time
Many thanks for publishing Danny Sjursen’s eloquent April 6 essay, “I’m saying goodbye to the Army; both of us knew it was time.” The author is one of the few who have cut through the mystification of the military-industrial complex and have been willing to talk about it. His essay is well worth pondering. As a vet I was particularly pleased to note all of the things to which he was saying goodbye, especially “the vacuous ‘thanks-for-your-service’ compliments from civilians who otherwise ignore soldiers’ issues, foreign policy, and our forever-wars.”
David L. Kaiser, St. Paul