D.J. Tice (“In race debate, ‘hard truths’ and deflections,” Feb. 22) seems to think the police arrest more young black men than whites because the black men commit more crimes. But a “crime” is an act that the police arrest you for, so the question is, whom do they most want to arrest?

The Council on Crime and Justice studied 200,000 traffic stops in Minnesota. They found a black driver was 2.5 times as likely to get stopped as a white driver. Eleven percent of the black drivers had illegal drugs or weapons; 18 percent of the white drivers had drugs or weapons.

In 2013, the ACLU did a national study of marijuana arrests. In Minnesota, a black person is eight times as likely to be arrested for this as a white person. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says the two groups are equal users of this drug.

So a lot of “crime” depends on who the police are watching the most, and it seems to be young black men. The public should expect to be protected and served more equally, regardless of race.

John Stuart, Minneapolis

ISLAM

Beware an innocent reading of the Qur’an

As a Christian scholar who has also been studying the Qur’an and hadiths in depth for the past 10 years, I am astonished that Stephen Young can be so misleading as to the teachings of the Qur’an (“Islam, as truly found in the Qur’an,” Feb. 22). Fourteen hundred years of jihad as a way of life has become the mantra for the followers of Mohammed, based on the Qur’an and hadiths. Young should know better, but I believe he has allowed his personal relationships with Muslim scholars to overshadow his ability to sort fact from fiction.

Nowhere in his article does he explain Qur’an abrogation. Abrogation is the canceling out of earlier verses on peace and justice with later passages that demand war and killing. This is a known Muslim principle when it comes to interpretation.

Nowhere does Young address the 109 passages on violence, beheading and death to unbelievers. Nowhere does he address that most Muslims are ignorant of the Qur’an and its teachings except what their imams tell them it says.

Young either is a poor scholar or is intentionally misleading the public. Don’t take his word, or even mine, for what the Qur’an says. Purchase a copy and read it for yourself. You’ll be surprised and well-informed about the truth.

The Rev. Thomas V. Parrish, Minneapolis

 

EXECUTIVE POWER

Want to understand? Start before TR, FDR

Thomas Jefferson authorized James Monroe and Robert Livingston to negotiate with France for the purchase of territory up to a limit of $10 million. They negotiated for 800,000 acres for $15 million, the Louisiana Purchase, and Jefferson compromised his belief that a constitutional amendment was necessary for the treaty, which was ratified in October 1803. Ironically, Jefferson later declared the purchase a “great achievement,” writing that “[i]t is incumbent on those who accept great charges to risk themselves on great occasions.”

Abraham Lincoln unilaterally suspended the writ of habeas corpus in the state of Maryland on April 27, 1861, and Congress subsequently failed to pass a bill in support. Further, a congressman and members of the Baltimore city council, the mayor, the board of police and the chief of police were arrested and indefinitely imprisoned without a trial.

One of the credits in Jason Lewis’ Feb. 22 article (“Progenitors of the power grab”) is galt.io, a members-only website devoted to the ideas of Ayn Rand, who coincidentally was a mentor for Alan Greenspan, one of the architects of our recent financial crisis.

Rather than maligning the Roosevelts as the progenitors of executive overreach, Lewis might do well “to trace the origins of the Constitution breaking free from its Jeffersonian chains” to Jefferson himself and then to Lincoln. In addition, it might be helpful for readers to understand the origin of Lewis’ views.

John Ammerman, St. Louis Park

• • •

I cannot believe that anyone who watched Ken Burns’ film on the Roosevelts could not be moved by the total effects of the Depression of the 1930s. Millions lost all of their savings, their jobs, their homes. Millions and millions stood in bread lines.

Does Lewis really think the federal government should have just stood by, doing nothing?

Our Constitution states clearly that the government is to promote the general welfare of its citizens. Yes, FDR relegated property rights to second-class status. Human rights should have always had first-class status.

The situation in the 1930s called for immediate, strong action. Capitalism and our form of government were at a high risk of collapse. FDR and his efforts saved them both.

Frank Moriarty, Plymouth

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

Money and hubris are in the stew

Two articles in the Feb. 22 issue captured my attention: “Climate-change denier is linked to corporate funds,” on Page A2, and “Block the sun’s rays to cool down Earth?” on the cover of the Science+Health section.

Hardly a surprise that deniers of human-induced climate change would neglect disclosing funds received from the fossil-fuel industry. The question for deniers is how much longer can we hold back progress in addressing climate change? A question for the rest of us is how much longer are we going to allow deniers to misleadingly prevent action?

It may ultimately come to attempting to manipulate the climate by blocking the sun’s rays, yet there is no magic cure. Unless we stop burning fossil fuels, the people, critters and plant life on this planet will be in peril.

Do you want deniers deciding for you?

Amelia Kroeger, Bloomington

• • •

How is it that some very smart people come up with very stupid ideas? The proposal to counteract global warming by adding particles to the atmosphere to block the sun’s rays is worse than stupid — it’s downright pathological.

Global warming is one specific consequence of our industrial emissions. Attempting to mitigate this consequence by adding more stuff to the atmosphere is like treating a fever caused by a runaway infection by intentionally infecting the patient with a virus that causes chills.

The Earth’s systems are enormously complex. We may know one effect of a perturbation like CO2 emissions, but we can’t possibly understand the full range of consequences, especially in the long run. Introducing another perturbation with unknown consequences represents the worst kind of human arrogance.

Phil Davis, Bloomington