Really? Is this the “new normal” in American governance? (“Union’s ‘warrior’ courses defy ban,” April 25.) OMG, where do I access my emigration papers?

Let me recap: The last several years have fostered the outsourcing of police training to a private organization that teaches them to behave toward citizens as if they are in a war zone. What can go wrong? The appalling, unnecessary deaths of many innocent unarmed Americans nationally. A 12-year-old boy playing in a park — police cruiser pulls up, shoots him. Why? They’re scared. This is warrior-style training. It has no place on American streets and neighborhoods terrorizing citizens by police officers trained to kill, not de-escalate, but kill to save self. We should applaud Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for banning such training in the light of the unprecedented deaths over the years.

The police union will defy this ban and offer free online training to any officer who wants it. When did such lawlessness become so blatant? If I don’t like the laws, I don’t have to obey anything I disagree with. Be careful what you wish for. Anarchy ruins everyone’s life.

Full disclosure: I didn’t vote for Mayor Frey. However, I have been pleased with his leadership and was particularly heartened to see him ban the warrior training. I will have to rethink my vote at the next mayoral election — assuming I’m still here.

Claire Auckenthaler, Minneapolis

• • •

The police union in Minneapolis will now offer “warrior” training to all officers. The union says it will make sure each officer returns home each day regardless of the danger they may face.

In fact, according to a 2018 article in USA Today, police officers do not have the most dangerous job in the U.S. According to 2016 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police work it isn’t even in the top 10. It was No. 14. Landscapers and sanitation workers had higher fatality rates. In addition, if only violent deaths are counted, police work doesn’t even make it into the top 25. (Officer deaths did increase in 2018, which would alter the standings a bit.)

It is clear the police are trained to view every person they encounter as a potential threat to their life unless shown otherwise. It makes them quick to see the most innocent behaviors as a lethal threat. So we’ll see more guiltless people gunned down.

Michael Pennock, Las Vegas

The writer lived in the Twin Cities area for 24 years until 2018.


Even a simple statement proves too difficult for Republicans

That 50 Minnesota state representatives voted against an amendment Wednesday simply stating that the Legislature “finds and declares that greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities are a key cause of climate change” is shameful and embarrassing. There is no excuse for willfully ignoring the consensus of nearly every scientist, NASA, the United Nations and many worldwide scientific organizations with something this important. I have attended some of the Minnesota House hearings this year. I find it hard to believe that the 50 House members who deny the science could possibly know more than all those climate experts!

Susan Wehrenberg, Apple Valley

• • •

“Human activities are not the cause of climate change,” says state Rep. Eric Lucero, R-Dayton.

He also implies that the Earth has been hotter and colder in the past. I’m trying to understand where he got that information, and I have to conclude it came from various scientists studying effects and clues that occurred 10,000 years ago or more.

How is it that these scientists can get it right when going back thousands of years, but haven’t a clue when it’s happening right under our noses? And it appears that other Republicans have the same problem trusting scientists.

Charles A. Erickson, Lindstrom, Minn.

• • •

Since GOP strategist Gina Countryman is concerned with “the costs associated with proposals Democrats are offering” in the Legislature regarding climate change (“Climate becomes key voter concern,” April 22), perhaps she and her fellow Republicans will provide Minnesota voters an estimate of how much is too much.

For example — how much is the life of your grandchild worth? Five dollars? Ten dollars? A hundred dollars? A thousand dollars? More, perhaps?

Because this planet has reached a critical point in livability; and because although climate change may not drastically affect the remaining years for older adults, it will affect the lives of our younger children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren yet to be. Adverse climate change is not idle speculation — we are seeing the results all around the world daily in the form of excess carbon dioxide, torrential rain and flooding, record-breaking glacial melting, huge migratory shifts of birds and animals, excess summer heat and forest fires, frequent and heavier winter snowfalls, and the movement of huge populations of people to safer areas as their former communities disappear or become unlivable.

So, Minnesota Republicans, which is more valuable to you — the lives of your children and grandchildren — or, in the end, is money really the only thing which you value?

D. Kingsley Hahn, Arden Hills


Graduation should be about that achievement only, not identity

As I read the April 25 letter “No need to slow-walk sash decision,” accompanied by a photo of three students and a teacher who spoke before the South St. Paul school board requesting permission to dress with part of a “costume” (“sash,” if you want to use their words) for the graduation ceremony, I couldn’t help but think that somewhere along the way the meaning to these students of that final part of their education to them has changed from pride for their accomplishments to a “Look at me!” display. The letter writer’s words — “Students could spend their last days of school creating a visual spectacle worthy of news coverage that promotes positive public school success and affirms how the school supports individual achievement in life beyond academics” — seemed to be an affront to the meaning of the graduation ceremony itself.

When I graduated from high school, I and 225 other students wore with pride the school colors and robes of the existing historical graduating classes. Nothing was desired by us except to present to our parents and friends a group that had worked hard for four years to achieve that beautiful thing called a diploma. That “How do I look?” question was related to “How does my gown or robe fit?” We didn’t need “Hey, look at me, I’m different because of my race, ethnicity, color or sexual orientation.” We, as students, worked hard for that diploma and that was, and still is, all the years later, the most important result of our accomplishments. After your ceremony, you can “decorate” or dress yourselves however you want to.

Lee A. Waldon, Buffalo, Minn.


Stop giving Irwin Jacobs a pass

The Star Tribune coverage of the murder of Alexandra Jacobs has been shameful. Why is it not described as domestic violence? The headline should have been “Rich man kills wife,” and the events shouldn’t be described as a “murder-suicide,” which almost sounds like an excuse. The April 25 article (“Son: Irwin Jacobs struggled with health before shootings”) says that “Alexandra Jacobs’ dementia was taking an increasing toll on her cognitive abilities and she used a wheelchair.” That description fits many elders and people I love whose murder would not be accepted by this newspaper. Further, her son’s statement about his father — that “in his mind, he couldn’t leave her behind. He had to have her with him” — sounds exactly like the excuse that so many abusers give. This article affirms again that men of privilege and power are subject to a different set of rules.

Kit Ketchum, Edina

Opinion editor’s note: As noted in the April 25 article, “murder-suicide” is the ruling of the medical examiner.