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I was curious to read Tuesday's article "Perceptions aside, violent crime isn't rising in suburbs." While the article's title seemed intended to reassure, I'm not sure it aligns with what many are seeing and experiencing.

There were several things in the article that gave me pause. Howard Henderson from the Brookings Institution is quoted as saying that "the fear of crime is as dangerous as crime itself." Oh, really. I wonder if victims of carjackings, assaults and robberies might consider that to be a little hyperbolic.

Criminologist Chris Uggen seems to be trying to allay people's fear when he states, "A large number of crimes can be a one-person crime wave, particularly in a suburban area with a relatively small population," and that "the numbers then go up and the fear goes up, but it can still be a relatively small number of people who are actually doing the activities." In my opinion, the total number of euphemistic "activities" might be more relevant than the number of people committing them.

John Chapman, Victoria


Missing the point

Thank you, Star Tribune, for publishing a very telling piece from the wife of a Minneapolis police officer ("After two years, MPD family's wounds also remain fresh," May 27). It was clear from the commentary, written 30 miles from Minneapolis in rural Lonsdale, Minn., that she and many in the "blue family" still don't view the citizens of Minneapolis as whole people like themselves. I sympathize with the fear and hurt she feels, two years after the riots. She is not alone in her grief, but instead of uniting with others traumatized in the riots, she draws a line around police officers and their families and blames the "angry mob" for the disaster.

I'm sorry that she feels helpless. But it's absolutely tone deaf to not realize that with very little editing her commentary could have been one written by any citizen in Minneapolis about the Minneapolis Police Department's actions before, during or after the events that led to destruction in our community. The trauma inflicted by her husband's colleagues on a daily basis in Minneapolis was the tinder that Derek Chauvin ignited when he murdered George Floyd.

And while her husband was questioning why he bothered "risking his life for a group of citizens who wanted him dead," many of us in Minneapolis will continue to wonder why we pay the salaries (and enormous settlements) of cops who abuse, debase and demean our fellow citizens while the "good cops" in the MPD do nothing to stop them.

Jim Aspholm, Minneapolis


I just finished watching the Star Tribune/"Frontline" presentation on policing in Minneapolis before and after the murder of George Floyd. Despite the quality of this documentary and the quality of all the reporting and opinions on community policing in Minneapolis, I do not understand how one crucial factor in this event and many others is never discussed. George Floyd was handcuffed behind his back. How could he be dangerous to anyone? Why aren't specific guidelines for police when dealing with handcuffed arrestees part of any reform proposals?

Bill Seifert, Minneapolis


A very old playbook

As I was reading the front-page article "Christian nationalism surges in GOP races" (May 30), I was reminded of this observation by Seneca: "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." The article highlights GOP primary winner Doug Mastriano's campaign for governor of Pennsylvania. He checks all the current boxes for Christian nationalists of today: says Trump won the 2020 election (in fact, Mastriano attended the Jan. 6 insurrection), is against individual rights for abortion, reproductive rights and equal rights for LGBTQ citizens, says to never compromise, thinks Democrats are evil. He portrays the election as a contest between good and evil where God is on the side of the Republicans. Republican Christian nationalists then promise to impose their narrow religious beliefs on all citizens.

There is almost no difference in the political positions of Mastriano and the endorsed candidates of the Minnesota GOP. The problem of merging religion and politics as Seneca observed is the masses believe in their religion, but the rulers use that belief as a tool to gain power. As the article discussed, former President Donald Trump did not share virtually any religious values of Christian nationalists but promised to govern from their perspective and was elected (but not re-elected).

Governing a pluralistic society like America from a narrow theocratic position does not work because eventually the hypocrisy of the charlatan rulers will be exposed, and their house of cards will crumble.

Secularists, we need to vote.

Steve Petersen, Shoreview


Start with this: I'm a Christian. More accurately, I am a follower of Jesus, but since that's not one of the boxes usually offered, I'll go with Christian. On the front page of the May 30 Star Tribune, an article about the GOP used the term "Christian nationalism," and went on to say that more and more Republicans adhere to that term. This leads me to a question: What exactly is it that is "Christian" about Christian nationalism? My Bible knowledge is not inexhaustible but is extensive, and Jesus Christ never said one thing about much of what Christian nationalists claim. Never did he say a word about homosexuality, transgender matters, guns, flags, country or unwavering allegiance to anyone or anything except to God. However, he did say a few other things that Christian nationalists conveniently forget, such as feeding and clothing the poor, being a servant rather than a master and loving fully and without reservation.

So the next time someone claims the mantle of Christianity in his or her politics, they need to remember that the two — religion and politics — do not mix well, and that being truly a follower of Jesus, a Christian, if you like, involves a great deal more action than it does words.

Jay Hornbacher, Hopkins


A 'mournful melody' for me, too

I am compelled to respond to D. Roger Pederson's very timely and thoughtful commentary about taps ("The nation's mournful melody plays on," May 30).

I, too, am a retired military officer having served 31 years in the United States Air Force.

Taps has always evoked a sea of reflections for me. I recall listening to taps at the end of the duty day. Listening to those "magnificent mournful" notes brought to mind the sacrifices made by American servicemen and women. I was reminded of battles such as Gettysburg, Meuse-Argonne, Normandy, Khe Sanh and, of course, those in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. It struck me that most of these battles were fought outside of the native earth of the U.S.

The U.S. has certainly demonstrated a willingness to go outside of our borders and fight for democracy. Pederson is proud to have served, as am I. But this sense of noblesse oblige has carried with it a terrible price. This is a price ultimately borne by too many of our veterans. It seems so unconscionable these young men and women should die by their own hand. I would like to think that taps is played for them as well.

Taps is, of course, played at military funerals too. I have always believed that taps was a recognition that the service member fought the good fight, finished the course and kept the faith.

My father was a World War II veteran who is buried at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Colorado. I was the senior ranking officer at his funeral. He served in France and Germany from late 1944 to V-E Day in May of 1945.

On April 29, 1945, my father was among the American troops who liberated the German concentration camp at Dachau. More than 41,000 prisoners died in Dachau from 1933 to 1945. But the liberation of the camp saved over 30,000 people.

So, yes, I tear up as well when I hear taps.

Tom Richards, Lakeville