Having grown up in Minneapolis, I constantly have to defend my decision to raise a family here with my friends who live in the suburbs. I never thought about moving my family out of Minneapolis until last month, when I witnessed a car burglary during the day and then was shot at by the thieves. I wouldn't blame any family living in Minneapolis for moving to the suburbs. Taxes are lower. Schools are better. Far less crime. Roads are not congested and there are places to park a car full of kids. The majority of the land is zoned for single-family homes. Houses cost less and they come with attached garages. Yards are larger for kids to play in.
We're fortunate to live in the Linden Hills house that I grew up in. When I was a kid in the 1970s, we always played outside at night and never locked the doors. Now I won't let our kids play outside at night and have to lock the doors during the day.
Seems like every decision made at Minneapolis City Hall is against families. No wonder the school district is losing more kids than expected. I'm trying to do my part of keeping families in Minneapolis by advocating for improved fields that kids play on, but even that is like banging my head against a concrete wall.
I still haven't told my suburban friends that a bullet missed me by three feet; they would really think I'm crazy to stay in Minneapolis.
Pat Smith, Minneapolis
In "My wife and I are staying in Minneapolis" (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 17), Steve Brandt finds many reasons to be hopeful about the future of the city. Here's one: "Rioting cost us the auto supply store half a mile from us, where I bought oil and filters. Now it's a prime redevelopment opportunity that likely will boost the city's tax base." Hmm. I wonder if the former owner of the former auto parts store takes such a sanguine view.
Dan Beck, Lake Elmo
Andy Brehm's incisive commentary on unchallenged protest and anarchy in Minneapolis ("Anarchy in Minneapolis goes unchallenged," Opinion Exchange, Feb. 15) brought to mind a similar experience I had last summer in my own Minneapolis neighborhood. While walking the dog, I witnessed hundreds of people blocking traffic over multiple blocks. Law-abiding citizens driving cars were blocked by makeshift barricades. People were yelling, talking, holding hands and unaccountably expressing opinions on various topics as well as engaging in the open-mouthed eating of unmentionable items. Police were present at times, yet unaccountably stood by while chaos reigned, music played and booksellers hawked questionable literature. I've seen similar scenes play out repeatedly this winter at the ice rink. If this disrespect for authority, free expression, independent thinking, critical analysis and principled protest continues, I may be forced to flee this dangerous city and move to St. Paul.
Matt Plummer, Minneapolis
Hearty thanks to this lovely shop
I bought my first — and only, and still used — cross-country skis at Midwest Mountaineering in the late 1970s: boots, cane poles, bindings and Norwegian wood skis for $75. Two years ago I bought a backpack, hiking boots and hardy clothing for a trek to the Annapurnas in Nepal. The store's motto "Ask us, we've been there" proved to be true for both purchases over 40 years apart and for many purchases in between. This shop has been a local treasure and commercial anchor on the West Bank for decades.
Many thanks to Rod Johnson for bringing good-quality mountain, camping and skiing gear to the Twin Cities decades ago, supplemented with first-rate advice and service by knowledgeable salespeople ("A local icon looks for a new trail," Feb. 15). Well done, Rod, and best wishes in finding a successor who shares the same passion for quality, service and community that you have given us these many years.
Jeff Schneider, Minneapolis
Multiple tragedies here
The Star Tribune's front-page article on Feb. 11 covering the deaths of Otis Elder and Amir Locke offers a striking contrast on the treatment of these two tragic events ("No-knock raid was requested as safety step"). And these two deaths are ironically intertwined: the alleged perpetrator — Mekhi Speed — of the Elder homicide is the cousin of Amir Locke. The search for Speed resulted in Locke's death.
The management of the second death — that of Amir Locke — is being led by the attorney Ben Crump. We see the initial stages of the now-familiar playbook of a lawsuit against the Minneapolis Police Department. In the Feb. 11 article, Crump is pictured with the Locke family — presumably without Mekhi Speed — in an elaborate media event in the State Capitol. All are nicely dressed, and they are holding up posters demanding justice for Locke. The justice Crump is seeking will ultimately result not only in the potential prosecution of any guilty parties but also in a large monetary settlement from the city of Minneapolis.
The treatment of the initial death — that of Otis Elder — is quite different. There are no pictures of any gatherings of Elder's family in the State Capitol. No attorneys, with their investigators and their PR pros, are heading up efforts to deliver justice for him. Any justice delivered to Elder and his family will result from local police departments — flawed as these organizations may be — performing the hard and often dangerous work necessary to apprehend and successfully prosecute his killer.
If Crump, and others of his profession, could find a way to make money from the seemingly daily deaths of people like Elder and Deshaun Hill, maybe our community could use their considerable skills to reduce these crimes. But there is no money there; nobody has yet discovered how to monetize these tragic deaths. The well-funded campaigns to sue our city will enrich those who direct them but will weaken the capabilities of the institutions so many others rely upon to keep their communities safe. And the campaigns will be managed in such a way that we in the community will be seduced into thinking that we are safer as a result.
Sheldon Sturgis, Minneapolis
I ask myself: While legal processes appear to have been followed, couldn't the Minneapolis police have taken a different approach with their search warrant? And I ask myself: While it was his right, couldn't Amir Locke have done something other than having a lethal weapon by his side as he slept in a secure building? But they didn't and a tragedy ensued; however, not every tragedy has a villain. Certainly, because a police officer shot and killed a man, and because of the history of police abuse of Black people, this tragedy requires an independent, thorough review. But unless something more damning arises from that review, I hesitate to view this shooting as anything more than the tragedy that it was.
Robert Halbach, Minneapolis
An outrageous sentence
The Kimberly Potter sentence is another example of bias that favors white people and cops ("Kimberly Potter sentenced below guidelines to 2 years for killing Daunte Wright," Feb. 18). The judge cried because she felt sad for the killer. Where were her tears for the victim and his family? Her openly crying on behalf of the perp rather than the victim should be cause for removal from the bench. We punish Black people who have a bag of weed far more harshly than white cops who kill unarmed Black people. And people wonder why there are protests in the streets.
This judge is not fit to serve. I am ashamed for Minnesota. And I offer my sincerest condolences to the Wright family, who got victimized again on Friday.
Thomas Rasmussen, Inver Grove Heights
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