If you would like yet another example why police staffing levels need to be returned to pre-2020 levels, you need look no further than the recent stabbing of a man at a light-rail stop in the early hours of Sept. 16 ("Suspect says stabbing was to 'practice killing,'" Sept. 20). All the social workers in the world wouldn't have stopped this, but you know what would have? Police presence as a deterrent. Yet when you have around 300 fewer officers than in 2019, you don't have the luxury of having police everywhere they are needed — such as light-rail stops at midnight. Attacks like this are why people quietly opt out of public transportation if they have the means. But that's not an option for poorer citizens who remain vulnerable to such violence.
Three years after the incoherent demands of the summer of 2020, every other major metro area in the nation is moving away from "defund the police" sorts of policies as they realize they can't protect their citizens, let alone encourage their cities to thrive, without police at requisite levels. We here in the Twin Cities have yet to wake up to this reality.
Leif Bergerud, Minneapolis
Like the DFL, which purported in its Sept. 26 piece to have stepped up to the crime issue, I too, could say I did 100 things to put out a fire ... other than calling the fire department ("DFL action on crime is historic, comprehensive," Opinion Exchange). The DFL led the chorus to defund the police with many City Council members supporting the idea. Of course it became anathema and verboten for any Democrat to mention the word "defund" after the crazy crime spree that followed the death of George Floyd. We saw many DFLers vehemently deny ever having uttered the word.
That police numbers within the Minneapolis Police Department declined to numbers unheard of before should have surprised no one. In addition to the officers suffering PTSD, officers with enough time on the books to retire did so. Some took early retirement, while many of the younger cops transferred to departments where they felt appreciated. Bottom line, who wants to work for a city that doesn't appreciate your sacrifice? Strapping on the badge and the gun everyday can be hazardous to one's health and safety. If you're being defamed, defiled and given the stink-eye and the finger by those you serve, what motivates an officer to risk their life for this city and these citizens?
Like the writers in the DFL piece say, recruiting police officers is their biggest challenge. Really? You reap what you sow.
Richard Greelis, Bloomington
The writer is a retired police officer.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims in this terrible car accident ("Plea talks ongoing in 5 crash fatalities," Sept. 25). They were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time when someone else intentionally or with reckless disregard for human life sped through a stop light at excessive speed to hit their vehicle.
We lost a nephew and his close friend in a similar accident in Los Angeles in a five-car accident where their car was sandwiched in the middle. It was a gut-wrenching tragedy beyond comprehension, and it has taken eight years to even talk about it without feeling overwhelmed with grief. It took a lot of pressure on the local district attorney to persuade them to bring even bring charges for the negligent operation of a vehicle. Frankly, I was shocked. That driver was driving 20 mph over the speed limit when he rammed into the stopped traffic, causing the death of two innocent young men. It was borderline gross negligence, which would have elevated the charges to involuntary manslaughter.
I am not going to suggest that there is "justice" in these situations, because in a just world, my nephew, his friend and these five young women would not have died. But there must be accountability. Lives have been lost. Families have been shattered. The person must be held accountable under the law, and the local prosecuting attorneys must be committed to prosecuting these cases.
David R. Witte, Plymouth
A race to the bottom
Regarding the letter referencing congressional decorum comparing Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Nancy Pelosi ("I'll see your Marjorie Taylor Greene and raise you a Pelosi," Readers Write, Sept. 25):
I don't believe that one bad behavior (Pelosi tearing up then-President Donald Trump's speech) then gives Greene a pass to act out at the State of the Union speech. Really, one person's dumb stunt gives another person a free pass to equal or top it? Come on!
Has it come to the point where a good governmental leader is someone who can simply be calm and respectful ... adult-ish?
C.J. Olsen, Anoka
While I appreciate and practice the respect for representative government and small d-democratic principles that the Senate dress code implies — as well as the reprinted editorial from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on that subject — the appearance of AR-15 pins on the lapels of representatives is a substantively ominous, way-more-than-indecorous trend in the nation's broken House. Not only is it profoundly disrespectful of all the victims of Sandy Hook, Tree of Life and the horrific number of victims of gun violence, such displays are an ominous, none-too-subtle threat in the environment of increasingly violent rhetoric spewed by our four-times-indicted former president. I don't even want to know what some of his thus-encouraged followers are saying on their various platforms.
I'd prefer Sen. John Fetterman not wear cargo shorts and hoodies, but I'd like the Star Tribune to devote some editorial space to calling out the glorification of made-for-combat weapons on otherwise "decorous" business suits in today's disintegrating House.
James McKenzie, St. Paul
I, for one, was delighted at the changed Senate dress code. We could tell at a glance who takes their job seriously and who doesn't.
Bill Sutherland, Eden Prairie
The congressional conflict leading toward a government shutdown centers around nondefense spending, which amounts to about 15% of total annual federal spending. Most of the growth in national debt will come from underfunded mandates for Social Security and Medicare. A "bipartisan compromise" in the Senate increased defense spending by $28 billion over fiscal year 2023. So I don't see anyone acting like a conservative. And when Democrats pad the defense budget while dropping a child tax credit, which would cost $12 billion, I don't see any liberals either. All I see is political posturing that neglects the urgent needs of the American people. We need to demand that both parties engage in a forthright discussion, and stop the political theatrics.
James Haefemeyer, Minneapolis
Better music or silence, please!
I always admire James Lileks' brain for many reasons: good sense of humor, intelligent, articulate, etc. And in his recent column regarding elevator music, he hit a home run! ("It's time to bring back 'elevator music,'" Sept. 24.) One of my pet peeves is that one cannot go anywhere without music in the background! If that were a beautiful background of planned tunes and a beautiful melody, that might be a pleasant experience. But, as he intimated, the new music is just noise! He is 100% correct: It is a percussion section with a bit of an attempt to insert words that have no attempt at melody — just noisy sound! One may be with friends for a nice evening and find that one cannot visit with them, because there is "background" music — too often "new" music rather than something tuneful and comforting. Deliver us!
Corene Bernatz, Rochester