We all know the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Sadly, the Star Tribune has once again used pictures to provide a predictably negative contribution to racial stereotypes in our community.

Recently it ran two stories on housing issues. The first (front page, Jan. 15) was in regard to the opening of the Section 8 waiting list and its impact on “poor families.” The second (Twin Cities+Region, Jan. 17) was about improvements in the north Minneapolis housing market. I was dismayed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to use an image of an African-American woman to represent the “poor” and an image of a white woman to exemplify the “brightening” of the housing market in north Minneapolis.

Surely there are many African-American people contributing to the stabilization of north Minneapolis, just as many white people are “poor” and access public assistance. I challenge the Star Tribune to be a leader in the media by being more thoughtful in the use of images to tell stories that challenge stereotypes and represent the positives in all of our communities.

Darin Rowles, Minneapolis


Bloomington charges are properly directed

University of St. Thomas law Prof. Mark Osler’s Jan. 18 commentary (“A large assembly, a prosecutorial error”) was well-reasoned but missed the point. The management of the Mall of America asked “Black Lives Matter” to not hold a protest on the mall’s private property. The organization did not respect the request, and now some of its leaders are being charged with trespassing.

The question is not if the Bloomington prosecutor went too far, but whether “Black Lives Matter” went too far after a simple request. The answer is yes, and some will pay a penalty for their actions.

“Black Lives Matter” matters. The organization was formed out of desperation. It appears to have a high purpose and needs to be supported. But it must respect the lawful requests of private organizations as it proceeds with its business.

David Allan, Minnetonka

• • •

Prof. Osler’s thoughts confuse me. A law professor championing the lawbreakers and railing against the law enforcers. Clearly, the law means less to him than how he feels about the politics.

His major premise seems to be that here we have the powerful being favored against those who are not so powerful. As if being powerful makes you wrong. He also does nothing to prove his premise as to who has the power. Couldn’t a case be made that the protesters had the numbers, the media attention and public opinion on their side?

The case was made that the city attorney shouldn’t protect the mall because “it can fend for itself just fine.” Seriously, professor? What recourse does it have? I bet you’d frown upon the mall hiring its own mob to violently drive out the protesters. The mall’s protection is the law and law enforcement.

Charles Scheidegger, Coon Rapids

• • •

I believe that authorities are not so much targeting the Black Lives Matter protesters as trying to protect one of Minnesota’s greatest assets from becoming nothing more than a wintertime protest central. Given the relatively large number of pro and semipro protesters this area has, if the mall allowed one group, it would have to allow them all. There would probably be one group or another there every weekend.

James Kertzman, Eden Prairie



Another volley against the Constitution

It’s interesting and illuminating that Mike Meyers (“A gun in nearly every hand,” Jan. 18) chides the NRA’s contributions resulting from hundreds of thousands of individuals as a “gun lobby [that] has changed society — and not for the better,” while the “pumping [of] millions into campaigns to toughen firearms restrictions” by one activist billionaire is lauded as a glimmer of “hope for sanity.” Meyers fails to mention, of course, that the former contributions are in direct support of, and the latter proffered to contravene, the Constitution of the United States. Pesky document, that Constitution.

John Paul, Coon Rapids

• • •

Thirty-four gun deaths a day. I know I am no longer shocked by a mass shooting, whether it be in a theater, mall or school. That’s really sad. Why do we treasure life so much when it can be snuffed out by the flu, Ebola or a drunken driver, but think little of it when life succumbs to a bullet from a gun or rifle?

The gun is a tool whose ultimate purpose is to kill or main. As with every tool of our modern era, we have used technology to make it better. It has become more effective, firing multiple rounds, ever more powerful, at ever-increasing distances. TrackingPoint has developed a semi-automatic rifle, currently being tested by the military, designed to hit a moving target at 500 yards, with sniper-like accuracy no matter who might be using it. There’s also a semi-automatic weapon capable of hitting its target with precision at 1,200 yards.

Imagine what this could do to our democracy. Interaction with public officials could come to a halt. An election result, affecting millions of voters, could be undone by one person with a bullet.

Recently, we have been reminded that the police are but a thin blue line protecting us from anarchy. Anarchy will not come with fists, knives or other weapons, but with guns. The every-widening division between rich and poor just makes this outcome ever more likely.

Don Lohrey, Burnsville



There’s so much we need to understand

Something I never thought would happen would be a 6-year-old hanging herself by her jump rope — not in a war zone, and not suffering a confining or fatal disease (“Suicidal 6-year-old a casualty of inaction,” Jan. 18). They say that she was punishing herself, that she couldn’t, at 6 years old, have understood the finality. But maybe she did; old enough to have a TV in her room, certainly she saw death lead to no return. Why did she want to go? Was life so painful? Did she have no hope for happiness? Why? Why? Why? An excruciatingly sad thing has happened. Let’s find out why.

Betty Hartnett, Wayzata

• • •

Data practice laws protected both a negligent mother and a foster care mother, and Kendrea Johnson is dead. Given irrefutable evidence that the mother was a drug addict and the young girl suffered mental illness, who doesn’t see the combined incompetency of welfare and child protection services? As a pediatrician, I cannot fathom the lack of responsible oversight for the child or any presumption that she committed suicide. Her life was tragic, without doubt. That’s not a reason to blame Kendrea. This 6-year-old has shown us the mirror of abuse and our susceptibility in trusting the good intentions or professionalism of some decisionmaking social workers.

Dr. Robert O. Fisch, Minneapolis