Some lines are indeed crossed permanently

Lori Swanson's editorial counterpoint regarding the release of Thomas Duvall ("Why I stepped in on release," Nov. 20) soundly and factually clarified all the emotional reactions surrounding this issue.

Perhaps I cannot speak to the law and constitutionality of this hotbed, but on a basic level it seems its focus is skewed. As a society, we make laws to maintain public safety as a whole. It doesn't seem unconstitutional to say that someone's behavior has crossed such a line that the privilege for freedom is lost. Repeatedly violently sexually assaulting women and children after multiple "treatments" and incarcerations ought to qualify in that category. If as a society or a legal system we never say "no — you have lost this privilege," then what is our measure for our accountability personally, for the victims and as a society?

Perhaps Thomas Duvall is "better" — perhaps he has changed — but that does not change the wake he left behind. Some consequences are forever. That's all part of personal accountability and acceptance of who he was then, who he claims to be now and the debt to his victims who get no reprieve or do-over for what he did to them.


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Thomas Duvall, a mere 30 admitted sexual assaults. John Rydberg, an admitted 90-plus sexual assaults. These are the model citizens that the Minnesota Department of Human Services has been pressured to submit as the best candidates for release from a program that was instituted to provide a means to secure, then try to cure, individuals with multiple offenses. But it cost an excessive amount to house them in a secure medical facility in the Moose Lake area, so let's just relieve ourselves of that financial responsibility and release them, and if they revert to their proven need for sexually violating innocent members of our community, we can deal with it again. Or we can shake our heads and get out of the "denial mode" and admit we do not have a method to treat these individuals in a manner that would provide the security and confidence to release them. That's just the way it is. Don't let our elected officials and judicial judges tell us differently.

TOM SHEEHAN, Brooklyn Park

The crews may work, but the vision doesn't

Regarding the Nov. 19 letter that congratulated the crews who worked on Interstate 694: Here we sit debating a light-rail route that will cost more than $1.6 billion, while I-494 through Plymouth sits at two lanes each way. And the Minnesota Department of Transportation is contemplating adding a surplus lane to use only when traffic warrants it (which is always).

I feel like I fell through the looking glass as we assess our transit choices. I'm all for multimodal transport, but the state will not stop people from buying and using cars. Plus, not sure what the state government has against Plymouth or the western suburbs, but this is just ridiculous. I'm writing this while on business in Dallas, where all the freeways are under construction to blow them open to eight lanes, and light rail is all over. Yet one major job corridor in the western Twin Cities is strangled due to some political correctness that will choke those very jobs. Silly.

DAVE ROY, Plymouth

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Kudos to Minneapolis for proposing and to the Star Tribune for supporting a narrower design for Washington Avenue ("Hennepin County can right a wrong on Washington Avenue," editorial, Nov. 19). Here in the Boston area, we would kill to have the luxury of a seven-lane-wide roadway to redesign. Instead, we have to shoehorn all users into centuries-old narrow roadways not designed for nearly that much traffic. Hennepin County should finish the job and ensure that the roadway is safely designed for all users.

ARI OFSEVIT, Cambridge, Mass.

Headline poorly stated our research findings

The headline and summary for a Nov. 16 article about our study of Q Comp ("Pay plan gets poor report card: A study says Minnesota's $450 million teacher compensation option has had little measurable impact on student achievement") missed the story. We found that Q Comp participation increased students' reading achievement, creating a boost equivalent to one additional month of student progress each year. It cost $260 per student per year. This is less than one-third the average cost of a month of schooling for Minnesota students. We estimate a 5-to-1 benefit-cost ratio and conclude the program creates positive social returns. If anyone wants to sell us $5 for $1, we'll buy.

Aaron Sojourner, Elton Mykerezi and KRISTINE L. WEST

The writers are economics professors.