A strong police presence in north Minneapolis, and the officers are accused of profiling. A high rate of police arrest and pullovers, and they are accused of harassment. And now the high crime rate and shootings are attributed to a lack of police activity (“Crime up, Mpls. cops accused of slowdown,” May 8). I’m confused. Which is it? In these high-crime areas, why do citizens call the very organization they mistrust the most? Before you say “it’s their job; it’s what they are paid for,” think about what we are asking of the police force. Make our areas safe, but do it the way we want you to. When you answer a domestic violence call, figure out in advance whether the perpetrator is armed, on drugs, mentally ill, or a danger to himself or others, and do all of this in a matter of minutes.
It’s easy to armchair-quarterback the situation days after the incident. I will never endorse a fatality as a result of police actions, nor a policeman’s fatality by the hands of a perpetrator. Provocative actions and behavior sometimes result in provocative endings. Minneapolis City Council Member Blong Yang, as far as I know, does not put his life on the line every day he goes to work, yet he anoints himself as someone who is in a position to criticize the police. When a person criticizes someone, or something, at least have the sensibility of offering a solution. Council Member Yang, how about you do your job before challenging others about doing theirs?
Ty Yasukawa, Burnsville
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Policing is an impossible job when reason, accountability and the rule of law are thrown out the window. A narrative has taken hold in our community that is eroding the rule of law because it lacks reason and accountability for everyone but the police. Enough.
We respect the rule of law and the police in my neighborhood. That allows police officers to do their jobs and keep us safe without them having to go into “self-preservation mode.” Could a solution to crime problems in parts of our city possibly be just that simple?
Bill Kirkpatrick, Minneapolis
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I don’t understand the Star Tribune Editorial Board and Council Member Yang’s complaint about the Minneapolis police slowdown (“Mpls. ‘slowdown’ only hurts the cops,” editorial, May 12). Another way to look at the decrease in enforcement of low-level crimes and investigative stops is that the officers are responding to just what the community and city officials have asked for. The Minneapolis City Council has just vacated loitering laws that unfairly targeted African-Americans. Moreover, despite increased opiate abuse, legislators are working to decrease the length of dealers’ sentences (because — you guessed it — it unfairly affects African-Americans). Daily there are complaints from African-American leaders from the president on down about the disproportionate number of African-American citations, arrests and incarcerations. African-American elected officials, NAACP leaders and Black Lives Matter members have made it clear they don’t want their communities policed with the tactics the editorial suggested. Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau tells us that we cannot arrest our way out of the wave of violence.
I think the officers are demonstrating that they are listening to their communities. They are attempting to find the level of enforcement that will gain willful compliance with the law. I wish them luck.
James M. Becker, Lakeville
Are those on the other side of this issue really willing to listen?
In reading Lori Sturdevant’s May 8 column about the fate of fetal-tissue research at the Legislature, I am reminded that there have been many confrontations between society and science in the last 40 years: for example, fears about recombinant DNA, the use of animal subjects in research and the absence of women subjects in clinical trials. In all of these cases, the scientific and activist communities have reached an accord to accommodate the aims of both parties. The outcome has generally been the adoption of regulations — for example, providing justification for the number and types of animals used in experimentation — that impose accountability and an administrative burden but do not threaten to terminate valuable research. But these accords work only when both sides are willing to reason and can acknowledge merit in the other side’s position.
It doesn’t appear this dynamic is at work within the anti-abortion movement. These activists, in their rabid pursuit to extirpate abortion care, have enthusiastically embraced the discredited Daleiden videos on Planned Parenthood, have stalked abortion providers, have harassed those who use reproductive health clinics and have attempted to gain access to private medical records with the goal of shaming patients. Most recently, they have reneged on the 1992 bipartisan congressional accord that regulates fetal-tissue research. Their efforts to eradicate this research lie on a continuum of zealotry, and reveal a movement not willing to reason or to recognize the medical benefits that ensue from it.
There is competition nationwide to attract the most productive biomedical scientists. Those working in controversial areas know their efforts to benefit society will be scrutinized by the public, but they also know that they have options for where they can work — and it only makes sense to move to states such as California where the voting public has created an environment supportive of essential life-sustaining research. As Minnesotans, we must decide if our supposed commitment to maintaining a premier medical-research community is real, or if we are to be held back by extremists who will not acknowledge the merit of any perspective other than their own.
Denise Beusen, Eden Prairie
The writer is a former review officer for the National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review.
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Sturdevant makes a telling statement in her column. She actually claims that those who stand up against medical researchers at the University of Minnesota (who are funded through my tax dollars) are causing harm to our state by not allowing “unfettered pursuit of biomedical knowledge at its premier research institution.” While clearly the piece is yet another shot aimed at blaming Republicans (which is odd, because we stand for life — all life — whereas abortion is only death), she misses the point of those of us who do understand what is at stake here. Never forget the evils of the past. Someone must be the conscience for the scientists of the world, which includes the U and the medical companies of our state. And if they will not stop and consider that the ends do not justify the means, we will.
Timothy Wolney, Robbinsdale
Don’t fear the candidate who’ll act; fret about the one who won’t
Stephen B. Young’s May 8 commentary “Lessons from the Cold War” was thoughtful and well-written. But I must take issue with his criticism of Donald Trump and his view of NATO. Mr. Young seems to have forgotten how our president in the 1990s, Bill Clinton, and NATO failed big-time in the mission to protect the 8,000 Bosnian and Croatian men and boys who were systematically slaughtered by the Serbian army in Srebrenica in the summer of 1995. This was after the Bosnians warned us and after Radovan Karadzic, the since-convicted war crimes leader, said he would eliminate them. This was after the Serbs took 400 NATO peacekeepers hostage.
Rather than worry if Donald Trump can learn this lesson, Young should be concerned about Hillary Clinton letting it happen again by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Al Muerhoff, Bloomington