In the June 20 “Readers Write,” there were many comments (representative, I presume) on the court decision of the police officer Jeronimo Yanez’s trial. All of the comments seemed to be that the wrong decision was made: incompetent jurors (not intellectual enough), racism to blame (a former U.S. attorney assures us that the prosecutors were not to blame). Looking at the reports over this long period of time since the shooting, and thinking how can another tragedy like this be avoided, one ponders a solution: (1) eliminate all poverty. When that fails: (2) eliminate all crime. When that fails: (3) eliminate all weapons worldwide. When that fails: (4) better police training. When that fails: (5) institute a jury selection process that ensures that only intellectual elites can be selected to hear criminal cases. When that fails: (6) Start at (1) again.
James P. Lynch, Edina
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It seems remarkable the attitudes of people when they don’t get the things they think they want. Reviewing the June 20 letters makes it seem like the Yanez trial was a mistake, egregiously wrong and totally unconstitutional. Complaints about excluding people who have already formed their opinion on what the outcome should be indicate these people have no clue about the Constitution and the jury trial system.
Our police officers are hired to enforce our laws, protect the public and protect themselves. To believe that a cop would pull someone over because of color, sexual preference, or political or religious affiliation is simply ridiculous. With the criminal activity in Minneapolis and St. Paul, police officers have their hands full and do not have the time to arbitrarily pick someone out of the crowd to pull over and harass.
Maybe if people do not like our Constitution, our trial system and our system of law enforcement, they should find another country with a better system. For better or worse, this system has worked for 240 years, and our duly elected politicians have not seen fit to throw it out the door.
Bill Winters, Brooklyn Park
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The June 18 article “Verdict hardens divisions” mentioned several people who had been shot and killed by the police around the United States.
What the article failed to point out is that 64 officers were shot to death in 2016 in the line of duty, according to NPR. That was a 56 percent increase over 2015.
I think it is safe to say that both innocent civilians and the police have the right to go home safely each day to their families.
Jim Piga, St. Paul
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The right to have an opinion is acceptable in most societies, but there are times when one must admit not being qualified to voice a view. I do not have an opinion about the Yanez trial, because I’m not qualified. I wasn’t at the scene, nor am I a police officer. There are two professions where an individual is potentially a legal killer: the military and police members. I have military experience, so I understand the difficulty in training someone to kill or not to kill. In wartime battle environments, the human brain can go numb to the reality of a kill-or-be-killed scenario. Self-survival will induce a person to shoot everything that moves. If you are not that person, you are not qualified to judge that person.
I get the public concerns regarding police actions in volatile situations, and I endorse the efforts to find solutions. I am, though, wondering where the community forums, protest organizers and other groups are when a man is found dead in his car in Robbinsdale or a toddler is shot in the head on the North End of St. Paul (Minnesota section, June 20)? Where is the public outrage and activism?
Don Eisenschenk, Minnetonka
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First, let me state that, although I am an attorney, I write this letter purely as a citizen of Minnesota. I represent no one in the matters of interest, either civilly or in a criminal matter. I write in the sincere desire that no more senseless deaths occur as a result of citizen-police encounters in this state — especially those in which citizens carry lawful firearms and officers utilize deadly force in the ensuing encounters.
So, Gov. Mark Dayton, a modest proposal: Immediately exercise your executive authority, if you have not already done so, to merge and link the separate Minnesota driver’s license database with the existing separate Minnesota permit-to-carry database at the Department of Public Safety. Why? Because every officer on the street — including those who stop me, my children, my friends and my neighbors — should immediately see both my driver’s license status and whether I have a gun-carry permit as soon as they stop my vehicle and check my driver’s license status. Every Minnesota driver should know that every Minnesota member of law enforcement should be immediately on notice of the possibility of a firearm in a vehicle whether checking the driver’s insurance, tags or even for a drunken-driving conviction or a more serious crime. Law enforcement also needs to know for officer-safety reasons. If there is a police officer on the street who does not want to know if he/she may be approaching an armed motorist — I would like to learn why. Right now, they do not know.
Respectfully, governor, this is not a complicated shift in law enforcement policy — it is just plain common sense. It is a change that just might — if we are fortunate — save just one life. For we have plainly lost too many lives already.
Albert Goins, White Bear Lake
The writer is an attorney.
NORTHSTAR COMMUTER RAIL
Until it directly taps St. Cloud, it will underperform
I live in St. Cloud, but make frequent trips to Minneapolis. I am getting to that age when I begin to wonder how much longer I can make that 65-mile drive. So, when I read a letter like that published June 18 about what a boondoggle the Northstar rail line has been, I had to echo his sentiments. For me to ride Northstar, I would have to drive 28.1 miles to Big Lake to board. At that point, I might as well just continue driving all the way to Minneapolis.
Although St. Cloud has a city population of more than 65,000, its larger metropolitan population is more than three times that at 201,093, many of whom work, shop and play in the Twin Cities. There also are large numbers of employees and university students who travel in this direction on a daily basis.
This potential ridership is huge. Extending the Northstar line would increase its revenue; add to the quality of life for St. Cloud commuters, nondrivers and families; decrease congestion on Hwys. 10 and 94; and support Minnesota’s goal in combating climate change. The Northstar has been in operation for some time; I think it is past time to finish “Phase 2.”
Kathryn Laakso, St. Cloud
We only need one snake on the 600-foot monument — if that
A June 18 letter writer suggested luring the 2023 World’s Fair to Minneapolis with a 600-foot caduceus, which he erroneously called the symbol of medicine. The two-snake staff is actually associated with the warlike god Mercury, while the one-snake staff of the ancient physician Asclepias is the true medical symbol. But even if basic fact-checking would get the number of serpents right, the cost of such a monument would better be spent on actual health care and medical research.
Dr. Mary Arneson, Minneapolis