Police union president Bob Kroll (“ ‘Systemic problem’ with police? Stick to the facts,” July 29) challenges readers to present facts that would lead a person to conclude that there is a systemic problem with the Minneapolis Police Department and its 850 members. He blithely concludes there aren’t any.
A 10-minute internet search shows it’s already been done. On May 28, 2015, there was an item at StarTribune.com headlined “ACLU: Blacks 9 times more likely to be arrested for minor crimes in Minneapolis.” The study was based on records of more than 96,000 arrests made by MPD officers between January 2012 and September 2014 — records obtained from the MPD through a public records request.
Kroll’s argument is dishonest and shames the officers he claims to speak for.
Richard G. Carlson, Minneapolis
The writer is a retired assistant Hennepin County public defender. His commentary “It’s time to decide who runs this town” was published July 19.
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One question for Kroll: How would you respond if it had been your daughter, son, spouse or significant other killed by a police officer in similar circumstance as Justine Ruszczyk Damond?
All your statistics and numbers are not comforting to loved ones of those killed so senselessly.
Norm Ledeboer, Medicine Lake
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Kroll’s counterpoint was right on point: “If you don’t know the words and the numbers you don’t know it.” He provided numbers that must be considered to fully understand an issue. Damond’s tragic death was likely a mistake, an accident. She should not have gone to the scene of the disturbance she reported.
Jim Peterson, Gold Canyon, Ariz.
‘That many diplomats expelled?’ or ‘that many diplomats?’ period?
It was reported on the July 31 front page that Russian President Vladimir Putin sent 755 U.S. diplomats packing over the latest sanctions passed by Congress. The article also stated that 455 U.S. diplomats would remain — so the total U.S. diplomatic team in Russia is 1,210. I cannot imagine what those 1,210 diplomats do when they arrive at their desks each morning! I think that 100 could handle the tasks. Another example of the huge, out-of-control federal bureaucracy! No wonder we have a huge annual federal deficit!
Dick Hansen, Edina
EDUCATION AND GRADUATION
Don’t miss Malala news, or this opportunity to make a difference
In this never-ending news cycle, most people probably missed the news that Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai just graduated from high school.
Malala risked her life for the chance to go to school. As she says, “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
A staggering 263 million children and young people are out of school globally. It doesn’t have to be this way, and now the Global Partnership for Education is launching a new plan to give millions more kids the education that is their fundamental right. But that plan requires resources to make it a reality. I hope we can count on our representatives in Congress to help make sure the U.S. shows leadership in education.
Logan Paul, Minneapolis
MINNESOTA’S CABIN CULTURE
It’s joy and magic for aficionados, but it’s no treat for the planet
We will know that Minnesotans take climate change seriously when they give up their summer cabins. Kris Potter’s “cozy cabin” reflections (Opinion Exchange, July 29) are the latest of many benedictions to the iconic summer cabin that regularly appear in the Star Tribune. The 50-, 100- and 200-mile commutes to the cabin on Fridays, and back to the metro on Sundays, may invigorate the rural economy, despite the loathings of the rural locals, but they are a large, extended middle finger to the reality that we have to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels, our carbon footprints, if we want to pass on a habitable world to our children and grandchildren.
Brian McNeill, Minneapolis
Complainers, would you rather be pampered or be safe?
Regarding a July 30 letter about Transportation Security Administration pat-downs, I think too many people complain too much. Returning from a trip overseas, I wore a knit top labeled “travel style.” When I got to security, I expected to be patted down because I have one artificial hip and two artificial knees. As expected, I was directed to a woman TSA agent, not a man, who apologized profusely because she would have to pat my chest front as well as my back because the sparkly decoration on my top had caused the machine to flag the entire upper part of my body. Instead of being insulted, I thought this was quite a funny situation.
I think the TSA workers are in a no-win situation. If they pat people down, they are being accused of being insensitive, and if something slips by and something happens on the plane, they are accused of not being diligent enough. Let them do their job!
Pat Pickering, White Bear Lake
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Everyone wants extra security in place when boarding a plane. Enhanced searches were put in place after the recent worldwide terrorist incidents. It’s wrong to think that touching or feeling for weapons in places that are a natural part of our body is inappropriate. The underwear bomber of a few years ago who boarded a plane and was stopped on the plane was a good example of what could have happened and wouldn’t have had he been more closely checked. TSA agents go through 120-plus hours of training and vetting before hire. They are a part of the Department of Homeland Security. Safety checks for any reason are wise practice. I was recently searched by a traffic officer — asked to bend over the hood of my vehicle and felt inside of my belt and inside of my legs. Inappropriate? No. I’m over 60, and I wasn’t offended. Safety is No. 1.
Lee Waldon, Buffalo, Minn.
Maybe the only field for which we fear seeking ‘desirable traits’
On Page A2 on Friday, the Star Tribune published an interesting story about scientists in the U.S. having edited the genes of human embryos for the first time. This story included a sentence that has been running through my mind since then: “The approach holds great potential to avoid many genetic diseases, but has raised fears of “designer babies” if done for less lofty reasons, such as producing desirable traits.” After reading this, I asked myself, why is producing “desirable traits” less lofty? Aren’t “desirable traits” something to be desired? Something to be wished for?
This isn’t the way we approach most problems. Normally, we don’t just try to avoid bad outcomes, but also to improve good outcomes. What, exactly, are we afraid of?
Earl Roethke, Minneapolis