Former state Rep. Allen Quist’s June 27 letter (“Supreme Court rulings: More has been lost than gained”) could be taken more seriously if his concern had been expressed when the U.S. Supreme Court in recent years overturned the decisions of our democratically elected officials in implementing the Voting Rights Act to protect minority voters or in regulating the manner in which wealthy people direct their campaign contributions. As it is, ideological folks from both the left and the right become indignant only when they disagree with the conclusion reached by five or more of the nine justices who exercise the power conveyed to them by the Constitution.

The rule of law is indeed a foundation of our American society. It is worth discussing. We should, however, in our discussions recall that our “rule of law” in the United States once included slavery and, due to the Supreme Court, a legal principle of “separate but equal.”

The rule of law promotes order, which is absolutely essential. It may or may not promote justice.

Michael Fargione, Eden Prairie

GAY-RIGHTS TIMELINE

A disrespectful Star Tribune leaves out role of AIDS crisis

I was shocked and dismayed that the June 28 article “How we got here” did not include the AIDS epidemic as a pivotal point in the gay-rights movement. When AIDS struck in the 1980s, it became very clear who our gay neighbors, family members, priests, artists, politicians, celebrities and co-workers were, as one by one they were taken by this terrible disease. By leaving out an entire decade in its timeline, the Star Tribune disrespected those who died and those who cared and fought for them.

The history of how slowly our government agencies, whose job it is to protect us from disease, reacted to this epidemic is truly shameful. Though this was a terrible and dark time for the gay community, it has to be represented in any history of the gay-rights movement. Thankfully, AIDS is now treated as a chronic disease; however, it is still incurable, and new cases continue to be diagnosed.

Julie Konrardy, Minneapolis

 

BICYCLISTS

Manifestos and road-sharing aside, the jerks are out there

I want to respond to the bicycling “manifesto” published June 27 on the Opinion Exchange page. I am not a “car-addicted” person. I have been an avid bicyclist for decades. I rode 3,600 miles across the United States. I city-commute 1,000 to 1,500 miles per year and ride open roads 1,000-plus miles per year. I have observed a lot of bicyclists’ behavior.

Recently, I rode 400 miles with the League of Illinois Bicyclists. Their motto is: “Same rights, same rules.” Here in Minnesota, bicyclists love to lecture society that they have the same rights as automobiles but seldom follow the same rules. “Bike-jerks” (Opinion Exchange, June 19) is an apt description for about 30 to 50 percent of Twin Cities bicyclists.

Bicycle jerks blast past without warning. It is rude and dangerous. If jerks ever do give a passing warning, “on your left” really means “get out of my way.” Bicycle jerks ride on busy Lyndale Avenue (instead of the quieter Bryant) and block six to 12 cars until the cars can pass.

A decade ago, motorists would blow their horns and shout “get on the sidewalk!” to bicyclists. Today, I never see that. Motorists have become more tolerant of bicyclists. Today, it’s the bicycle jerks who are the real danger to me.

Thomas Oas, Minneapolis

• • •

I’d like to find ya, buddy! I mean, I am dumbfounded on what recently happened to me on the biking path from Victoria to Excelsior! How does an individual’s mind-set reach the level at which a “workout” is greater than helping a fellow human?

Upon “probable” predictable circumstances, I was caught in a rainstorm 7 miles from home. Granted, the paths are gorgeous — so you kinda just chalk it up to being one with nature. However, at a certain point, it was a little more torrential than I had planned. With the difficult visibility, I hit the ditch, and as I was lying there I saw a fellow biker approaching. I did not wave him down or ask for assistance, but was still astounded as I watched him look at me and roll on past — full biking attire on display — he the aficionado and, most pointedly, me the opposite.

I questioned who would do this and wondered what kind of a person would instead stop to help, and the answer was immediately given: Two middle-school girls, riding in the same torrential downfall, passed me initially, then turned around to see if I was OK — and they got off their bikes and asked to help.

I told them I was definitely OK. If this is our next generation, kudos! The innocence of understanding when another soul needs help is inborn — the self-inflated justification that calls for only “me” is developed over time by those who allow it.

And as for you — you self-absorbed, super-fit fella — you should consider seriously what you put “out” in the universe. I am a strong believer that you will receive twice that back. Beware.

Julie Ann Halling, Excelsior

 

K-9 abuse CHARGE

Will officer get the same treatment the rest of us would?

A Ramsey County deputy was put on paid administrative leave after he was caught on security video savagely beating and dragging his K-9 service dog. He was charged with two misdemeanors (Around the Metro, June 27).

If a lay person attacks or does harm to a K-9, it is supposed to be the same as attacking a police officer. We will be watching if there is a double-standard for law officers. On most jobs, a person would not be put on paid time off; he or she would be fired.

Walter J. Schmidt, Woodbury

 

MEDICAL RESEARCH

With faulty letter headline, paper compounds its omission

A June 29 letter ran under the misleading headline “Be skeptical of any research backed by the Mayo Clinic.” No! No! The physician who wrote the letter cited the reporter’s failure adequately to fact-check a statement (that proton beam treatments had already been shown to be effective), and he warned that research results providing big financial benefits to the researcher’s own organization require intense scrutiny.

The Mayo Clinic has produced enormously valuable research, and it did not deserve to be singled out for suspicion. The letter writer’s point was that all research should be fact-checked and scrutinized, especially if there are financial conflicts of interest — and that the Star Tribune ought to be more rigorous in its reporting. We’d add that the Star Tribune should be more cautious in crafting headlines.

Drs. Dale Hammerschmidt and Mary Arneson, Minneapolis

 

‘SHARING THE WEALTH’

Business page gives the bigger splash to the wrong story

The “Sharing the wealth” headline in the June 29 Business section caught my attention. How disappointing to read the article that focused only on wealthy people sharing their extra homes with other wealthy people. On the same page, the “On Small Business” column told the story of a woman who cut her pay to $15,000 a year to keep employees at her Banner Creations business. Her quote: “I have too much Finnish blood running through me to not share.” That is the type of sharing that will change the world, and it is headline-worthy.

Bill Korte, Eagan