I was shocked to read, in the Aug. 9 installment of the serialized novel “Under Ground,” that, as of some point in the middle of the 1916 Mesabi miners’ strike, “so far 123 strikers have been killed.” I wondered why, if there had been such a wholesale slaughter on the Minnesota Iron Range less than 50 years before I lived in Duluth in the 1960s, I had never heard of it. So I did a little research. Within less than five minutes on the Internet, I found “The 1916 Minnesota Miners’ Strike Against U.S. Steel,” by Robert Eleff, from the Summer 1988 issue of Minnesota History, a publication of the Minnesota Historical Society. That article reports that only three people (not 123) were killed in connection with the strike — one striker, one “deputy” apparently hired by the mining company and one uninvolved bystander.
This finding clashes with the Star Tribune’s daily assertion that while “Under Ground” is fiction, the experiences of the characters are “imagined within [the] historical context of the times.” Especially since, as the paper points out, real people are depicted in the novel and their actual words and actions are “captured as closely as possible in a fictional account,” it seems to me you have some obligation for accuracy about such a basic fact as the number of strikers killed. I can only conclude that the reason for inflating the number must be that the truth was not inflammatory enough to satisfy whatever agenda the author had in writing her book (and perhaps the Star Tribune had in publishing it).
The actual facts surrounding the 1916 strike, as described in the Minnesota History article that I’ve cited above, are quite outrageous enough when reported accurately. They don’t need embellishment.
John Beukema, Minneapolis
What degree of understanding is warranted for him?
As I read about University of Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague’s “fall from grace” (editorial, Aug. 8) and his denial that his behavior does not reflect his “true character,” my first thought was: Just wait — there will be more. This is most definitely who Teague is, and who the U should have known he was before hiring him. He is a disgusting example for the athletes he is charged with developing. He does not deserve a penny in settlement or consultant pay following this, and if contracts aren’t written to make this easy for the U to do, they should be. He needs to slink away quickly!
Barbara Vivian, Bloomington
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Rarely have the media assailed one person as they are Norwood Teague. Now, put yourself in his position. You are termed a monster and more for your alleged sexual harassment of two women, and worse still in the opinion of many is that you are a liability to the University of Minnesota athletics department. No one is sticking up for you. The world is closing in on you. Perhaps suicide becomes an option.
Is that what all you brave writers and broadcasters and holier-than-thou letter writers want? You don’t how Teague feels, but I do, because I have been there. Suicide definitely becomes an option. But you know you need help for alcoholism, and maybe sexual addiction, and quite possibly for depression.
My proposed solution is for university President Eric Kaler to meet with Teague and the two women he allegedly assaulted, and with any other alleged victims of Teague who come forth, and propose that Teague be treated for alcoholism and tested for sexual addiction and depression and treated as necessary. There also would be a discussion of some form of restorative justice.
While Teague is undergoing treatment, interim athletic director Beth Goetz can run the department. A national search for a new AD begins. Ms. Goetz may declare herself a candidate.
Assuming Teague successfully undergoes treatment, maybe joins an AA chapter, goes to support meetings of the depressed, begins to find his way, then he is ready to be returned to a position at the U — maybe not as athletic director, but something where he can serve the school and be available to counsel others who suffer from his problems. He can become a living symbol of hope for those similarly afflicted.
Bottom line: What does it say about those who are so eager to cast him on the ash heap of the reviled? Doesn’t he deserve a second chance? Doesn’t everyone who falls victims to his or her demons? I think so. Don’t you?
Willard B. Shapira, Roseville
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
Nasty letter shows why Israel must fight for its interests
I would like to “thank” an Aug. 7 letter writer for his comments about the Iran nuclear deal.
His ill-informed, bigoted response to U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s decision to vote against the deal (not a treaty) shows exactly why congressional debate (rather than blind faith in the White House) is at the heart of democracy and, in fact, defines democracy. Fearmongering about U.S. body bags is a fallacy of logic, just like President Obama’s remark last week that every government in the world except Israel’s is in favor of the nuclear deal with Iran; neither is a rational argument for accepting the deal.
Furthermore, conflating the issues of Schumer’s opposition to the deal with Jonathan Pollard’s spying by labeling Schumer a “traitor” is pure anti-Semitism! Schumer is under no legal or moral obligation to side with the president on every issue. Furthermore, American Jews in general have no greater obligation than American non-Jews to be loyal citizens of this country. To suggest that Schumer takes orders from Israel simply because he is Jewish is as absurd (and prejudiced) as suggesting that the Congressional Black Caucus takes orders from countries in Africa.
Finally, the derogatory tone with which the letter writer refers to Zionism, an idea espoused by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson, proves irrefutably why Jews need (and are grateful to have) their own homeland; false claims of Jewish disloyalty and dual-loyalty can and do rear their ugly head at any time, in any country throughout the world. All 435 members of Congress should keep this in mind as they rationally discuss the deal, and the Star Tribune should follow the advice from its own recent editorial urging civil debate on this issue before publishing another hate-filled letter.
Harlan Brand, Minneapolis
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U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s decision to support the agreement (Aug. 11) puts her on the right side of history. She is wise to listen to the prominent scientists who support the deal as the best option for preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon at this time. She is wise to remember that “the perfect is enemy of the good.” She is wise not to cast her lot, as New York’s Schumer has done, with AIPAC and other champions of Israel’s extremist Likud party. She is wise to remember that we Minnesotans elected her to represent our interests. And to remember that our interest is peace not more war — which is what many of us fear would be inevitable should our Congress fail to support this agreement.
Mary C. Bader, Wayzata
The chill is everywhere
In response to “Women at work are feeling the big chill” (editorial, Aug. 10) it’s not only at work. When summer comes to Minnesota and we are able to come out from under our heavy winter clothing, it’s not only offices but restaurants, grocery stores and other merchants that seem determined to freeze us out. If they aren’t interested in energy savings, they might consider the money savings. (And men can actually get cold, too.)
Dee Broxey, Plymouth