State Rep. John Thompson was found to have a Wisconsin-issued driver's license and suspended driving privileges in Minnesota ("Hold Thompson accountable," editorial, July 13). The license was suspended because he failed to stay current on his court-ordered child support payments. These two elements, alone, show that Thompson is a scofflaw. But the fact that Thompson is a member of the Minnesota House yet seemingly has residency in Wisconsin reveals that Thompson has contempt for all the rules that the rest of must follow.
Rather than take responsibility for his misdeeds, Thompson goes on the offensive and proclaims that his race is where the real story lies.
Such repeated antipathy for the law demands to be answered with an ethics investigation by the Minnesota House. If Thompson were a white Republican, House Speaker Melissa Hortman wouldn't be hesitating as she is now. I challenge the speaker to show leadership and integrity. Open an ethics investigation!
Mark Kelliher, Arden Hills
It appears Thompson has been engaged in some shenanigans. As recently reported, he could not truthfully have qualified last November both as a candidate for state office and as a driver licensed by the state of Wisconsin. His conduct may result in legal action or consequences to his political career. The best and only honorable thing he can do now, though, is come clean and apologize to his constituents and the St. Paul police officer who cited him. It's bad enough that Thompson appears to have engaged in misleading conduct. It is far worse, though, that in an attempt to throw up a smoke screen he slandered a public servant and, possibly worst of all, has undercut all those who honestly complain about racist treatment and, indeed, has made it less likely that those true victims will be believed.
Robert Lewis, St. Paul
Don't mince words. They still harm.
As a concerned community member and physician, I was disheartened to see news that a protester was permanently injured by a so called "less-lethal" weapon ("Injured Floyd protester sues cops, says rights violated," July 13). "Less-lethal" weapons like rubber bullets and tear gas simply cannot be safely used for crowd control, and their use in these settings runs counter to guidelines set by the United Nations and several other countries.
A body of evidence collected in Minnesota and across the country illustrates the serious negative health impacts these weapons cause when deployed. In Minneapolis alone we've seen documented cases of eye trauma, skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries caused by the deployment of "less-lethal" weapons. The damage from these weapons extends beyond physical harms, impacting the psychological health of victims and causing lasting trauma in our community.
These weapons are not innocuous, and our citizenry has a right to be protected from this potential harm. At a minimum, we must enact strict guidelines for the use of "less-lethal" weapons, create strong external monitoring and accountability, and establish clear consequences for violations. Additionally, we must commit to short- and long-term medical care for those impacted by these weapons and ensure communities have access to this care. It's time for our elected officials to act, and I call on them to be bold to prevent more unnecessary harm.
Dr. Sarah Traxler, Roseville
The writer is president of Twin Cities Medical Society.
Anti-vaxxers can jump ship anytime
I'm grateful for the guinea pigs who have received COVID-19 vaccine, helping our state meet President Joe Biden's goal of getting vaccine to 70% of adults by July 4th. I say "guinea pigs" because that's how some unvaccinated people refer to vaccinated people, characterizing a public health initiative as a lab experiment. Interesting metaphor. To extend it further: If vaccinated people are the experimental group, then eligible-but-unvaccinated people have assigned themselves to the control group. Hence all of us could be seen as guinea pigs in a massive comparison study. How to assess the outcome? Well, where are new cases of COVID-19 appearing, in the guinea pigs who got the vaccine or the ones who didn't? Multiple sources are reporting the results so far, and it's not even close. Fortunately, in this "experiment," the controls can switch groups any time they choose.
Jim Kaufmann, Burnsville
A response to the "Shame! Shame!" spotlight letter from July 13:
This letter writer had a good point that I agree with, but she forgot one important "shame" — the way the government is shaming the people who by their rights can refuse the COVID vaccination. Those folks will be not only shamed but punished. No matter how you decide on getting or not getting the vaccine, you have that right — to get it or not to get it. It's still America.
Chris Addington, Baytown Township
It's maddening to see Frank Luntz mentioned as a voice of reason ("Hesitancy over shots morphs into hostility," front page, July 16) as part of the drive to get people vaccinated against COVID. The story correctly calls Luntz a longtime Republican operative but should've made clear he's a skilled creator of double talk promoting radical Republicans' ruinous policies. He should be best known for coining the term "climate change" to replace "global warming," a semantic sleight of hand designed to delude and distract us from the existential threat the planet faces.
Luntz is right that people should get vaccinated to help us reach herd immunity against COVID, but he's very late to the game in terms of sending accurate scientific information to the public at large. We'd be far ahead in our desperate battle against global warming, and there'd be less contempt for science and rationality in general, if Luntz and others like him hadn't for so long used their skill at perverting language to promote Republican policies that ignore or deny the frightening realities we face.
Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.
Its influence was widespread
In the July 16 Readers Write section, a letter writer correctly cited the oppression of Black Southerners as a result of Jim Crow tactics ("These comparisons degrade actual Jim Crow suffering"). However, he fails to recognize the terror of Jim Crow was not exclusive to the former Confederate states.
As an example, read Wikipedia's entry on the Red Summer of 1919 when Black citizens from coast to coast (both urban and rural areas) were persecuted and worse. Also, the rise of the Ku Klux Klan during the first half of the 20th century in good Midwestern states like Indiana perpetuated racial discrimination. Even Minnesota was not exempt from lynchings (like the one in 1920 in Duluth) or racial housing restrictions (redlining and covenants).
Segregation and Jim Crow laws and attitudes knew no boundaries when it came to keeping Black Americans "in their place."
Lindsay Kruh, Edina
Erik's, and my bike, have made it
Thanks to the Star Tribune for the business section piece on Erik Saltvold and the activities at and status of his bicycle business ("Erik's Bikes gets new solar-powered HQ," July 12). It was interesting to see where he has taken his teenage dreams all these years later and to learn that, according to Erik, "I feel like I've never 'worked' a day in my life at Erik's." Those young dreams and energies have grown into 32 stores in seven states.
All quite impressive to someone who still has the Kabuki Skyway bicycle that I bought from Erik in his first shop in the garage behind his parents' home all those years ago.
Lew Beccone, Minneapolis
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