The letter "So the responsible get ... nothing?" (Readers Write, May 28) almost made me smile. The writer's impassioned diatribe on behalf of individual justice reminded me most of the cacophony of voices when my (now grown) sons were still young: "Why does he get to go and I can't?"("Why does the governor give stuff to those guys to get vaccinated when we didn't get that stuff?")
But what the writer said is not wrong; it's just not complete. We're not only about individual rights in this country. We each have a social responsibility as well. Public health is more important than guarding our individual rights in this fragile moment. We are members of society, and we need to pay attention not just to our individual rights but also (as John Stuart Mill and others wrote) to the greatest good for the greatest number of people. And that greatest good right now is to preserve our "public" (that is, general) health. Getting reluctant people to get vaccinated will move us toward that goal.
You remember the classic quote from John F. Kennedy: "There is always inequity in life. Some men are killed in a war, and some men are wounded, and some men never leave the country ... . Life is unfair." I applaud any action that moves us toward community health.
Judith Koll Healey, Minneapolis
In the U.S. we now must provide people with incentives to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that will protect them, their family and their neighbors from a potentially serious, sometimes deadly infection and thereby quicken the time frame when we can fully ditch the masks and return to pre-pandemic engagement with one another. Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the world people are begging to get vaccinated. UGH!
Roland Hayes, Shoreview
I have to politely disagree with the writers who were "fuming" that they did not receive "perks" for getting vaccinated. For me, getting the shot was the perk. In fact, it was such a perk for me that once Gov. Tim Walz announced that all adults were eligible, I bailed on a family beach vacation to Florida so that I could be among the first in line. It was no contest: the potion or the ocean, and the potion won. So for those who need a nudge, I say more power to you. But just know that getting vaccinated is worth so much more, not just to you but to our great state, than a trip to the Mall of America.
Brian Hols, Minneapolis
Perhaps Walz missed the mark. He could have required proof of vaccination for entrance to the State Fair — a possible super spreader event. Or require such proof to reserve a camp site at state parks. This would fairly compensate all who get vaccinated for doing the right thing.
Rick Jensen, Eden Prairie
Many of us may have had "difficult" children. Maybe they took longer to outgrow their "terrible twos." Maybe they had demoralizing learning difficulties or had behavioral problems that disrupted their homes and classes. Of course, urging them to be nice and do better or applying coercive discipline was fruitless. They needed much additional effort, guidance, even rewards, and most of all extra heaps of love — even at the risk of causing resentment in siblings at the imbalance of attention and benefits.
To get more folks vaccinated, we can spend millions on advertising and persuasion campaigns that we know are doomed to fail, or we can just give folks that extra attention with gift cards, free admissions and even million-dollar lottery tickets. If it works to get this horrible scourge behind us permanently, then I say that's just great! The rest of us can be resentful siblings or, preferably, we can be gracious, understanding and thankful for a more peaceful home.
Dennis Fazio, Minneapolis
Responsibility is underemphasized
Thank you to Lee Hayes for his commentary, "Solutions to violence must begin at home" (Opinion Exchange, May 28). The fear of being politically correct should not stop us from acknowledging this violence. My heart breaks especially for innocent lost lives and particularly for the lost lives of little children. It is appropriate to mourn the loss of any life, but we should all be especially disheartened by the loss of perfect little lives and their worlds that now will never be. They have not had the barest chance to choose how they will live their lives, nor to realize talents and potentials.
More policing is not the answer. Policing cannot prevent spontaneous violence. Hayes is right to place substantial responsibility for senseless violence on the parents who know, or should know, what their sons are doing. There is more that all races can do to remove incentives for criminal activity and gang affiliation, but Black parents must also do their part.
Thomas W. Wexler, Edina
I am compelled to comment on the May 26 letter writer's perspective as summarized in her statement that "systematic racism is both directly and indirectly responsible for the crime rate in historically Black neighborhoods." (She was responding to an earlier letter writer who stated that "systematic racism is not what's getting Black children shot in the head in Minneapolis.") Systemic racism as it is currently defined is certainly an important factor in understanding the high crime rates in question. However, an over-reliance on systemic racism as the unassailable cause of undesirable and tragic outcomes pulls personal agency and accountability from the equation. This is a problematic perspective in my view. Systemic racism and its effects do not justify lawless acts with tragic outcomes, particularly if the victims are also subject to the same factors.
Peter Langworthy, St. Paul
Best opinion piece ever by Lee Hayes. Thank you. The only change should be rather than limiting advice on solutions to violence to African American parents, it must be given to all parents, regardless of ethnic backgrounds. As Hayes said, "train up your sons in the way they should go, and when they are old, they will not depart from it. It all starts in their formative years at home."
Great article for all parents and children to read, and great advice to follow.
Barbara Nylen, Minneapolis
Please save this tax credit
We, as business owners, organizations and residents of Minnesota, are gravely concerned about the potential blockage of the extension for Minnesota's historic tax credit by leaders at the Capitol. As Minnesota recovers from job losses sustained from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need every tool available to invest in our infrastructure and the jobs required to build and maintain our towns and cities. The proven record of the historic tax credit is indisputable — for every $1.00 invested, $9.50 is generated for Minnesota, totaling $3.5 billion since 2010.
Now, members of the Legislature are in budget negotiations and are seriously considering not extending this proven tool, citing budget constraints. We know the impact historic tax credit projects have on our towns and cities, creating jobs before and after construction, supporting local and small businesses and preserving Minnesota's most historic, and iconic, buildings. We are disheartened that the economic benefits — 18,650 jobs in the past 10 years alone — for Minnesotans are not centered in budget discussions, especially given the statewide successes and broad bipartisan support. If the historic tax credit is allowed to sunset, Minnesota will fall behind our neighboring states like Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin that have protected their historic tax credits, as well as the 38 other states that have maintained their historic tax credits, like Mississippi and Louisiana.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, and Gov. Tim Walz, please listen to constituents throughout the state and extend Minnesota's historic tax credit.
This letter was signed by: Heidi Swank, Rethos, St. Paul; Chris Sherman, Sherman Associates, Minneapolis; Steve Knight, Weis Builders, Minneapolis; Peter Noonan, Commerce Bank, Edina; JeriLynn Young, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation; Elizabeth Gales, Hess Roise and Company, Minneapolis; Carter Vargo, RJM Construction, Golden Valley; Brent Rogers, Saturday Properties, St. Louis Park; Brian & Kent Roers, Roers, Minnetonka; Don Kohlenberger, Hightower Initiatives; Gary Thaden, Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, Minnetonka; Gary Thaden, Minnesota Contractors of National Electrical Contractors Association, St. Paul; Andy Swartz, Blumentals Architecture Inc, Minneapolis; Meghan Elliott, New History, Minneapolis; Kevin W. Howat, NAIOP Minnesota, Minneapolis; Mary-Margaret Zindren, AIA-MN, Minneapolis; Harry Melander, Minnesota State Building and Construction Trades Council, St. Paul; Barb Lau, Association of Women Contractors, St. Paul; David Ybarra, Minnesota Pipe Trades Association, Zumbrota; Tim Worke, Associated General Contractors of MN, St. Paul; Erik Hansen, Burns and Hansen, Minneapolis; Tony Simmons, The Simmons Group, Minneapolis; Collin Kaas, Kaas Wilson Architects, Bloomington; Wendy Ethen, Guaranty Commercial Title Inc, Minneapolis; Paul Warshauer, Grande Venues, Sleepy Eye; Jane Bisel, Blue Planet Museum Consulting LLC, Rochester; Michelle Dreier, Electrical Association, Minneapolis; Ryan Sailer, Timberland Partners, Minneapolis; Patrick Wolf, Enhanced Historic Credit Partners, St. Louis, Mo.; Adam Duininck, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, St. Paul; Paul Halonen, B&P Drywall and Construction, Dassel; Traci and Hunter Downs, CMD Holdings LLC, Rochester; Chris Webley, NEW RULES, Minneapolis; Kristen Olson, Major Mechanical LLC, Maple Grove; Mike Benike, Benike Construction, Rochester; Phil Waugh, LHB Inc, Minneapolis; Matthew Legge, Polaris Properties, Minneapolis; Grant Carlson, Blue Limit LLC, Minneapolis; Jude Homola, Windsor Engineers, Duluth; Jon Commers, Visible City, St. Paul; Bridget A. Hust, Hust Law, Minneapolis; JoAnna Hicks, Element Commercial Real Estate, Minneapolis; Merrie Sjogren, Eddie Landenberger, Beth Pfeifer, Assembly MN, Minneapolis.
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