My interpretation of Lt. Bob Kroll’s job as president of the Minneapolis police union is to protect and serve the ones who are sworn to protect and serve us. Just as it is misplaced for the public to paint all police with the same brush as brutes with badges, wouldn’t it be mistaken for him to tarnish the badges of good cops by affording bad cops the same protections?
Wouldn’t the idea of weeding out incompetent officers actually strengthen his union and therefore strengthen the police force?
Throughout our lives we all know who the bad apples are: In school we knew who the troublemakers, bullies and disrupters were by their propensity for bad behavior; in the military we knew who in our platoon was the malcontent bringing trouble down on us from our superiors; in the workplace we could all spot the slacker, liar, cheat. It would be disingenuous to believe that everyone from the rank-and-file patrol officer through top command doesn’t have someone on their radar as a bad cop.
Want to build a better police force? Want to serve your worthy union members better? Don’t let the ineffective, ill-trained and incapable infect our police. Serve your constituents better by proactively replacing bad cops. Reinforce proper training, and institute stringent requirements. Maybe, just maybe, the public would be happy to pay for more police if we knew they all served us with a higher standard.
Terry Friedlander, Minneapolis
• • •
This man had a burned out taillight. This man failed to dim his headlights. This man fell asleep in his car. This man may have stolen a couple of cigars. This man allegedly tried to pass a fake $20 bill. This man was trying to sell cigarettes on the sidewalk. And a few minutes later all of these people were either choked or shot dead.
Have we lost our minds? When doing police training, does anyone ever talk about the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law? Is the fine art of de-escalation being taught anywhere these days? Committing a felony demands one kind of response. Committing a minor infraction of the law, if that, demands a very different kind of response.
I realize that policing today is a very difficult job, but none of these men should have been killed. What if the police told that man to go get his taillight fixed this week? End of story. Or, “Next time, dim your headlights”? End of story.
The prophet Micah asks us to do justice but also to show mercy to others and to walk humbly with our God. Ancient words that are still so relevant, and needed, for today.
Paul L. Harrington, Rosemount
The writer is a pastor.
‘GONE WITH THE WIND’
An undeniably racist film
I was appalled by Bonnie Blodgett’s claim in her commentary that “Gone with the Wind” is not racist (“Why ‘Gone with the Wind’ should not be gone,” Opinion Exchange, June 15). Black people were protesting it from the day it came out. Even as children in the 1950s, we laughed at the caricatures of black slaves in the film. Later, we realized just how much the slave-era South and the Confederacy were normalized and even glorified in the film.
The book is even worse. According to a June 14 article in the New York Times, “Scarlett, while riding alone through a shantytown, is nearly raped by a black man, which prompts a retaliatory raid by the Klan.” In the film, “the attacker is a poor white man, and the nature of the posse that rides out to avenge her honor is not specified.” Even David O. Selznick, the film’s producer, couldn’t stomach making the Ku Klux Klan avenging heroes.
I understand white nostalgia for racist, sexist or just plain lousy films, but nostalgia shouldn’t blind us to their very real faults.
Daniel Pinkerton, Minneapolis
Gatherings spread disease, no matter why we have them. Right?
Since the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, understandable calls for justice and action of transpired. We’ve seen tens of thousands of Americans all throughout the country raise their voices in an effort to foment just change.
Circa six weeks ago, there were also protests around the country by Americans whose livelihoods have been destroyed. Unemployment is at an all-time high, people can’t afford their bills, and people grew desperate. Protesters stormed state capitols and demanded COVID-19 lockdown restrictions be lifted.
The reaction to these two types of protests, which happened within a month, could not be more stark. One one hand, we’ve seen people who claimed if someone is anti-lockdown and they protest, they are selfish and they “want grandma to die.” The government, at all levels, said it was irresponsible for people to be gathering in the protesting.
But later, we saw tens of thousands of people congregate (and continue to do so to this day) to protest racial inequity. Where have the voices who claimed those who protest want grandma dead gone? Why has the government shifted its attack on relatively smaller protests to passively encouraging the nationwide protests we see today?
COVID-19 hasn’t disappeared, but you can still pass along the coronavirus at a social justice protest as well as a “reopen America’s economy” protest.
If anything, these large protests have become an experiment to truly test the infectivity of COVID-19. If the U.S. doesn’t see the largest spike of infections since all of this started, it is time to fully reopen America.
Nathan Dull, Eden Prairie
He still did it, even without a statue
This may be a way to think about the question of whether or not to take down Confederate leaders’ statues: Let’s say your high school named you the valedictorian of your graduating class. And in your honor, they awarded you a trophy and put it in the school’s trophy case. Then, after many years, the trophy case became too crowded and they had to move some trophies into storage, so students could no longer pass by your trophy and see your name.
Would this mean that you were no longer the valedictorian of your class? Of course not. The record would still show that you had earned that honor. It would simply mean that the trophy, emblematic of your work, was no longer displayed in the school trophy case.
Jon Hersch, Hamel
• • •
I hope the statue of me in our backyard will not someday be torn down because I offended some liberal in the past.
Darrell E. Ritzema, Fridley
• • •
I’ve never given much thought to public statutes. Most pay tribute to old dead guys who probably did as much as good as bad. Except Ole Bull. My grandpa, Ernest/Ernie/Ole Olson, used to take me for walks and play in Loring Park in the early 1950s. I still remember the statute of Ole Bull, so tall and magnificent — stirring really. He was a violinist. And not a killer of people like so many other men who have monuments in public squares.
Let’s have more statutes of violinists instead of killers.
Mike Fralick, Litchfield, Minn.
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.