In the last year there has been talk of restoring trust between the police and the residents of Minneapolis as if it is something we all have some hand in repairing. This is frustrating because police themselves have eroded this trust through their own actions. Consider the Minneapolis Police Department's initial statement saying George Floyd died of a "medical incident" or the recent no-knock raid at the wrong address upon a sleeping mother and child based on an MPD warrant. Now Winston Smith Jr. is dead at the hands of an opaque U.S. Marshals Service task force and not even the names of the officers will be released, to say nothing of other relevant information about his death. These are just examples from the last year or so. Has there been any meaningful accountability or even explanation for these actions? How can city officials or police expect anything other than continued protests under these circumstances?
This is not to say that white residents of Minneapolis like myself do not bear any responsibility for the many abysmal disparities between the white and nonwhite residents of this city, from housing to health care to education. Our own individual attitudes toward the police in general or these actions in particular do not extricate us from the other ways in which systemic racism manifests itself, and addressing them will require more than just changes to policing. This larger project really is our collective responsibility. The public relations problems of the police and city officials, however, are not.
Patrick Harrington, Minneapolis
The crisis in gun violence will not be solved without dramatic action that will upset more than a few people. But it is solvable without people having to give up their precious Second Amendment rights. The answer is a liability law that requires any person with homeowner's insurance, renter's insurance and/or automobile insurance to include a rider that covers any damage done to any person or property by a firearm registered to that person and/or known to be owned and used by that person. Let insurance carriers figure out what premium they will charge and how they will mitigate the charge based on evidence of competence, safe storage and history of incidents or lack thereof.
A person who owns a firearm should be fully liable for its use — even if it is stolen and used by the felon. State law could require anyone with a gun permit to carry such insurance. Straw buyers would be tagged with enormous liability.
Robert Veitch, Richfield
CARL NASSIB STORY
Bravo for placement and content
Ordinarily when we open the newspaper my wife and I do not first look at the Star Tribune's Sports section.But Chris Hine's lead story caught our eye ("NFL player coming out counts for a lot," June 22).We're glad it did, and we're glad the Star Tribune put it up front where it belonged.Whether the Twins won or lost yesterday is important for one day.Carl Nassib's coming out announcement will forever be seen as a milestone in the acceptance of the gay community in sports as well as our society as a whole, andHine's story captured the factual and the emotional importance of Nassib's announcement.
Craig Shulstad, Minneapolis
It's all about money and value
We're going to pay college athletes — has society gone mad? What about the education they receive? The new generation who always wants something is unbelievable. I submit that all scholarship athletes who do not complete their educations pay back to the universities the time spent while receiving a free education.
Trevor Velin, New Market
Once again, money prevails in college athletics.Even though it's only for "education-related" (the lawyers are going to like that one) expenses, the beginning of the end is here for college athletics as we've known it for the past decades.However, in retrospect, nothing will really change — the poor will continue to get poorer and the rich will get much richer, only now it will be "legal."
Tom Krinke Sr., Scandia
The headline "Era of exploiting college athletes is ending" (June 23) would read, in a perfect world: "Era of the NFL exploiting colleges is ending."
Colleges' purpose is to educate people, not to establish training grounds for professional sports. Yes, the Saturday college football game is entertaining, but it is merely a game. Nobody is forcing young jocks to join a team. They could play the game on an intramural basis with no cost to their college. But there is tremendous value to the NFL that the collegiate rah-rah perpetuate broad football excitement, and the college teams serve as minor league clubs from which the NFL selects top players.
Not only should colleges refuse to pay athletes, they should stop paying coaches their obscenely high salaries. Instead, make the NFL and other major leagues build and maintain the on-campus stadiums, hire coaching staff and, if they want, compensate their young recruits themselves.
Let colleges get back to the business of advancing academics.
Pete Holste, North Oaks
Flimsy reasoning at the U
Michael Osterholm's and J. Michael Oakes' defense of the University of Minnesota's do-nothing policy regarding COVID-19 vaccination for students, staff and faculty provides evidence that no amount of expertise and professional credentials can guarantee good sense or good judgment ("Vaccine mandate at U would be counterproductive," Opinion Exchange, June 23). They argue that vaccinations should not be required because 1) some exceptions may be needed, 2) vaccine verification might be difficult and 3) the university is a vibrant, open, public space, which makes policing vaccination problematic.
These are three basically frivolous and pointless objections, completely outweighed by the simple, well-documented fact that the available vaccines provide real, personal safety to every student who receives a shot. 1) Yes, some medical exceptions may be required. This in no way defeats the purpose of a mandate. 2) Yes, some students and staff may seek to evade the requirement. In such case, they may reap the negative health consequences themselves. 3) Yes, the campus is an open public space. But requiring student and staff vaccinations will simply make that space more safe for everyone.
One might ponder why these distinguished experts would publish such a feeble and disingenuous broadside. Is politics, after all, part of the equation? Is hypocrisy? Are these experts defending President Joan Gabel because a strong stand on vaccination might threaten future state funding, from a Legislature divided along partisan lines, so a mealy-mouthed university policy on vaccination is the "safest" approach? But then one has to ask: safe for whom?
Henry Gould, Minneapolis
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has presented us humans with quite the challenge and our response so far has been illuminating.On one hand, the medical scientific community stepped up to produce lifesaving vaccines in a miraculously short time, reflecting the profound ingenuity and smarts that some possess.On the other hand, we now have a sizable segment of the population, in the U.S. anyway, refusing to get vaccinated, citing reasons that range from basic misinformation to faulty consideration of risks and benefits to notions that are simply irrational. The result, which may already be happening, could be further evolution of the virus into versions that are resistant to our vaccines and much more lethal.We've been offered a group ticket off the COVID-19 train, yet I fear that we're going to blow it.Homo sapiens?Maybe not so much, eh?
Doug Norris, Brooklyn Park
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