One of the best deterrents to stopping crime is the fear of being apprehended. Yet St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter rejected that reality in his speech to the City Council ("Carter seeks public safety shift," Nov. 21).

His resistance to "ShotSpotter" technology, which is a proven aid in hastening police response, puts St. Paul residents at greater risk. Instead, Mayor Carter chose to advocate for $1.7 million in unproven programs that sound weak and feckless. Why is there a need to call for more youth employment in an economy that already has historic lows for people of color? What logic is in place that supports the premise that renting to past offenders is going to diminish homicides? How is sharing public safety information for the downtown area going to address citywide crime? There appears to be a significant disconnect between reality and Mayor Carter's plans. Providing "shot spotter" and more officers is the recommended "community-first" approach. St. Paul needs results, not window-dressing.

Joseph Polunc, Cologne, Minn.

We should all be proud of the witnesses willing to speak the truth

After hearing the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman during the impeachment hearings on Tuesday morning, I was so impressed by this courageous and patriotic American who has served our country. He was not partisan in any way. He said it was a risk coming forward, but he did so because he wanted to tell the truth. Jennifer Williams, in her testimony, did the same thing. We should all be proud of these witnesses as they represent the best of who we are as American citizens.

This is not about political parties and who is right or who is wrong. This is about the truth, as Lt. Col. Vindman so eloquently said. If people are not watching these historic and very important hearings, they need to begin to do so.

Sylvia K. Goldman, Anoka
• • •

Judging from the editorials, columns and letters in the Star Tribune, impeaching President Donald Trump is the most important thing facing Minnesota, America and the world. Forget the fighting in the Middle East and many parts of Africa. Forget the terrorist threat America and the world faces. Forget our rotting infrastructure in America. Forget illegal aliens entering America by the thousands (many of them criminals). Forget the growing threat of a more and more powerful China, which is beating down freedom lovers in Hong Kong. Heck, even forget climate change. The most important thing for you is to impeach Trump. For what? Russia meddling in American politics? Aren't you over that horrible joke yet? Whistleblowers? Hasn't that foolish fiasco gone far enough? There is nothing there! You can't wait a year for an election that you obviously assume would oust Trump? No, you want the easy way to impeach the president and the some 63 million Americans who voted for him. Unbelievable!

Tom R. Kovach, Nevis, Minn.
• • •

"Duty, Honor, Country" is the Motto of West Point. Unlike nearly all other West Point graduates, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seems to have forgotten these words. It should guide Mr. Pompeo's entire life. His recent actions betray his fellow soldiers and his country. These are not onerous or difficult standards for anyone; they are easy to uphold. It takes conscious action and malice aforethought to violate them. Pompeo is unworthy of the honor bestowed on him at West Point.

Michael J. Murphy, Plymouth

The writer is a U.S. Army veteran.


Not all studies are created equal

A Nov. 17 letter took issue with an Opinion Exchange offering on Nov. 10, "Medicare for All: How to count costs." The letter writer's concern was that the earlier article "astutely avoids one important point: The U.S. ranks 27th worldwide in providing health care."

While he didn't provide the source for his claim, it very likely came from the Commonwealth Fund, which recently warned us that: "Any international comparison of health care is subject to inherent weaknesses such as the absence of medical record clinical information or timely health data. ... Different measures, moreover, are given equal weight in the rankings."

That tells us: Medical records and outcomes weren't reviewed and don't impact the rankings, and no adjustments were made for cross-border measurement differences. Furthermore, this information comes mostly from surveys of patients' attitudes, with no attempt to adjust for cultural expectations.

Ignoring measurement differences means infant mortality rate comparisons are made using different definitions of "live births" and longevity statistics don't adjust for the statistical effect of deaths from violent crimes. Medical care can't stop violence.

One problem we've had with optimizing our health care system is that we tend to look for changes based on superficial studies such as these.

Steve Bakke, Edina

Our prisoners are treated better than our students

Prisoners are, by law, confined to a building for a specified period of time but can be transported under strict supervision. Prisoners are fed as part of the prison budget.

Children are, by law, confined to the building for a specified period of time but can be transported under strict supervision. Children are not fed as part of the school budget.

Punishing children ("Let the kids eat while we sort this out," Nov. 15) by shaming and starving them for the misfortunes, oversights or debts of their parents is unforgivable.

David Brandt, Minnetonka

Bentson Foundation help is crucial

Thank you to the Star Tribune for running a wonderful story regarding a new Mobile Substance Use Disorder Support (SUDS) Team, which provides a comprehensive set of services to east metro adults who experience a substance use crisis ("A rapid response for addiction help," Nov. 8). The team helps patients become stable and active in their recovery and, in the process, frees up more robust services like emergency and hospital care for others in need. The SUDS program is a collaborative effort involving St. Joseph's Hospital, Minnesota Recovery Connection, the East Metro Crisis Alliance and Regions Hospital Foundation.

One crucial partner not mentioned in the article was the Bentson Foundation, which provided the $500,000 contribution necessary to create the two-year pilot program. For more than 60 years, the Bentson Foundation has supported a diverse array of charitable causes in the Twin Cities, making our community a better place to live and providing assistance to those in need.

So much of what makes our community great is made possible with the support of charitable individuals and organizations like the Bentson Foundation. In this case, we want to give credit where credit is due.

Dan Ryan, St. Paul

Protecting our young people

It seems there is daily activity toward banning cigarette and vape sales to those under age 21. Given that these actions are based upon the mental and physical vulnerability of younger people to the adverse effects of these products, shouldn't those same guidelines apply to smartphones, given the documentation of all of the adverse effects on the young?

Dr. David Detert, Northfield, Minn.