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It’s good to see that we Minnesotans have our priorities straight. More than half of the Jan. 25 editorial/Readers Write page was devoted to the St. Paul schools’ snowstorm “fiasco” — people calling for the superintendent’s termination, criticisms about the weather analysis by the district and the district’s poor communications, and lack of kudos given to bus drivers. I understand that the situation was upsetting to many parents who were in limbo about the status of their children, but in the big picture it amounted to an inconvenience — no injuries, deaths or life-changing emotional trauma.

One small, poignant letter addressed another school issue: the shootings in Kentucky — an incident that did cause injuries, deaths and life-changing emotional trauma.

Bruce Lemke, Orono

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While we are all understandably focused on the horrible school shooting in Kentucky on Tuesday, it is important to point out that there were also two others earlier in the week — and 11 since the beginning of the year.

In the limited coverage of all of these tragedies, the question I have not heard the media asking is how these minors were able to get hold of the weapons they used. And have we become so numb to the incidence of shootings and deaths at our children’s schools that it warrants only minor coverage for a day or two?

Young lives have been lost, while others face painful recovery from injuries; hundreds of students, teachers, school personnel, first responders and medical professionals have been traumatized; and now a 15-year-old will be charged with murder and attempted murder and may be tried as an adult in a capital-punishment state — all because a handgun was accessible to an angry teenager.

At Protect Minnesota, we are working hard to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them: criminals, domestic abusers, those who threaten suicide and minors. If all states had statutes that helped keep people safe, maybe we wouldn’t be ending each day mourning the loss of yet more of our children.

Bonnie Usan Flood, Minnetonka

The writer is director of outreach and communications for Protect Minnesota.

IMMIGRATION

No, a merit-based system would not be colorblind

The White House has been frantically attempting to defend its immigration policies against claims of racism following President Donald Trump’s comments characterizing African nations and Haiti as “s***hole” countries. A favored defense of Trump’s comments and his perceived racism is that this administration wants a merit-based immigration system that does not judge immigrants based on their race or country of origin but instead on their quantifiable skills they could bring to our country.

There’s only one problem with this defense: Such a system is inherently racist. The proposed merit-based system promoted by the president would favor immigrants based on three main qualifications: English proficiency, higher education and a strong work history.

Of the 10 countries who best speak English as a second language, all but one are majority-white European countries. Of the 10 best-educated counties, excluding the United States, all but one are majority-white countries. Of the 10 countries with the highest unemployment rate, all are majority people of color, including six African countries. This probably isn’t a surprise and is probably even a justification to some for a merit-based system.

The point being that black and brown people have been left out of a global socioeconomic system since colonialism and are now being judged based upon how they measure up to the very system they have been excluded from. Imagine having to take a test based on a book you were not allowed to read.

David Forschler, Minneapolis

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Politics aside, I can’t imagine how it would serve the U.S. economy to deport the Dreamers. We have invested in their education and health care for a generation. What sense would it make to deport them when our investment is ready to pay off? They are among those whose skills, buying power and taxes will support our economic growth in the future. Why would Democrats, Republicans and a “successful” businessman throw away a profitable investment?

Karon Garen, Minneapolis

SEXUAL CONDUCT

Don’t go so far as to stamp out possibility of workplace romance

Many long years ago, my widowed father approached an unmarried colleague at his workplace, someone he supervised, and slipped her a note asking if she would like to go out. She was so clueless about his interest that she answered, “With who?” After making clear it was he who wanted a date with her, they did indeed go out, and eventually married.

Forgive my ambivalence about emerging new workplace standards that would prohibit such overtures by those with greater power, because if my pop had not been allowed to write that note, I would not be here. The recipient was my mother.

Workplaces are perhaps the most common arena where adults meet and form relationships of various kinds. What if genuine romantic interest develops? Must it be doomed because of new behavioral constraints emerging out of fear that power differentials will be abused? I don’t have a ready solution, but I hope there is one, because the boss and his supervisee being able to date certainly made all the difference for me!

Christine Lewis, Minneapolis

MINNESOTA’s IMAGE

This state is now a caricature drawn by its celebrities

With the tax subsidies that Amazon will likely negotiate with the “winning” community for its second headquarters, Minnesota probably didn’t lose much by being knocked out in the first round of the contest. But seeing some of the communities that were deemed more desirable than the Twin Cities should alarm and motivate our business and political leaders. I suspect that our state’s reputation gave Amazon major concerns about its ability to attract and retain talent here.

As someone who has lived in four other states and has spent time in nearly every major city, I am more aware than most Twin Cities natives of two things: (1) what a great place this is, and (2) what an abysmal reputation we have across the country today.

Thanks in large part to Garrison Keillor and the Coen brothers, we are viewed as a frozen, flat wasteland inhabited by mush-eating nincompoops who communicate with monosyllabic grunts while adorned year-round in vintage winter gear.

It didn’t used to be that way. As recently as Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential run, Minnesota was viewed as a forward-looking, educated and vibrant place. But somehow we have let our state be defined by its lowest common denominator and by media images that repel, rather than attract, talent and investment capital. We need a major “rebranding” campaign to show off what the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota have to offer.

Yes, it gets very cold here for a few months, but just about every other assumption that much of the country has about us is dead-wrong.

Jerry Anderson, Eagan

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Kudos to Star Tribune staff members who contributed to “Super Bowl LII: The Essential Twin Cities Guide.” The articles “Hello Minnesota” and “How to speak Minnesotan” portray both our strengths and shortcomings with wit and honesty. A great PR piece indeed! Makes this “transplanted” Minnesotan proud.

Jeanette Cureton, Plymouth