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It would be spectacular if an article would be written about the achievements of Olympic gold medal gymnast Suni Lee of Minnesota without mentioning her teammate Simone Biles. Suni stepped up and gave the performance of her lifetime (so far!). Biles was courageous in making and staying with her decision to bow out of the competition ("Biles puts 'mind and body' ahead of gold," July 28), but she is overshadowing Suni! That young lady deserves all of the props her state's No. 1 paper can give her.

Gail Van der Linden, Minneapolis

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Simone Biles is an amazing gymnast. Best ever. But her walkaway from Olympic competition sends the wrong message ("Simone Biles' enduring courage," editorial, July 29). Mental toughness is part of sports and part of life. Imagine if Kirby Puckett had said during the 1987 World Series that he felt off and walked away. His teammates and our community would have never forgiven him. Imagine you are opened up on the operating table and your surgeon decides he was having a bad day and lets you die. We don't do this, and we don't accept it. Mental toughness is part of life.

Bruce Goldstein, Minnetonka

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There are many people who see athletes as the "gladiators" of today who must "do or die."So I want to thank Star Tribune sports columnist Jim Souhan, who disabused us of that idea in a recent column about Simone Biles ("Extraordinary day, extraordinary athlete," July 28). Biles is truly an amazing athlete in every sense of the word, and I believe Souhan was spot-on in his writing. I especially agreed with his statement that "Athletes do not owe us pain and self-destruction" as well as his definition of "the knuckle-dragging sports fans who believe athletes are cartoon figures invented to entertain us."

M.G. Pearson, Golden Valley

THE LEGAL SYSTEM
'One juror's verdict' — along with his personal motives

I was really enjoying Stephen B. Young's description of his jury service ("One juror's verdict on a legal system under fire," Opinion Exchange, July 29), until the second-to-last paragraph. I have recently adopted a mental rule of discounting the opinion of anyone who throws around the terms "woke" or "critical race theory" as broad pejoratives. The terms have lost objective meaning after their relentless pummeling by right-leaning politicians and pundits.

I don't even remember what "woke" meant originally, but when I read about "critical race theory" while in law school in the 1980s, I recall it stood for the rather uncontroversial idea that intentional segregation and discrimination in the past caused unintentional disparities in the present. It is particularly ironic that Mr. Young was impressed by the judicial system's current diversity (female lawyers, black judge) when those changes have come about only because of concerted effort to address inequities in an institution that was almost exclusively white-male up until the '70s.

Let's ditch the distorted labels. They only stoke social division and ruin an otherwise good piece of writing.

Jean Boler, St. Paul

MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL

Candidates: Where do you stand on defunding the police?

Former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton has clearly said we need precise communication on ballot questions about defunding our police ("Mind your language on charter amendments," Opinion Exchange, July 20).

It doesn't end there. The great psychologist, Abraham Maslow, established a "Hierarchy of Needs" in 1943, and it's valid today. After basic needs: food, clothing and shelter, the next level is safety. When I study City Council candidate websites, many do not clearly state if they want to defund or restore the number of police.

With crime soaring in Minneapolis, our candidates need to be 100% clear about where they stand on this. Our very basic need — safety — is at stake. North Minneapolis citizens cry out for more police. Many Uptown residents want more police. I've seen the devastation. Any candidate who refuses to be clear on funding or defunding the police does not deserve to be elected. We deserve straight talk and straight answers when it comes to our safety. Nothing less.

Marjorie J. Simon, Minneapolis

CRIME AND FATALITIES

So much of the time, alcohol is involved

As a regular visitor to the Twin Cities area from my home state of Oregon, I find much to admire about both the quality of life here and the coverage of it in this publication. Yet I am also always struck by the great number of daily reports in the Star Tribune involving homicides, vehicular deaths and abuse incidents. Many if not most of these stories spotlight alcohol use as a factor.

In the July 29 issue I count four full-page advertisements for hard liquor in the first section alone. In my hometown this is unheard of; the only full-page ads we see are for cannabis products, and these are few and only appear in our weekly local newsprint publications.

A search online for the comparative toxicities and harms of social drugs will yield various bar graph charts from trusted medical journals such as The Lancet. These all indicate that in terms of all varieties of damage, alcohol leads the pack over any other substance. It is more than three times as dangerous as is marijuana.

We can use any social lubricant responsibly, but sadly that is not always the case. Perhaps public health officials can do more to educate about these relative harms.

Vip B. Short, Eugene, Ore.

IN BRIEF, TOO BRIEF

Why was the intelligence contractor sentenced?

On July 28, under the rubric Nation & World, the Star Tribune reported that a former intelligence contractor working for the National Geopolitical-Intelligence Agency was sentenced for nearly four years in prison for disclosing details of American drone warfare. "What details?" one might ask. Details about the resulting civilian casualties, according to the PBS Newshour. Why wasn't this crucial information mentioned in the newspaper?

It is long-overdue for the public, including the editors of the Star Tribune, to take a critical view of our continued drone attacks against suspected "terrorists." In how many countries? Four, six, eight?

It would have been better not to publish this news item unless the important detail were included. Omission is easier to justify than obfuscation.

Geza Simon, Minneapolis

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A July 26 Nation & World headline claims: "Activists launch incendiaries." They are not activists; they are terrorists. Without provocation from Israel they are trying to spark off terror in southern Israel. The headline contributes to misunderstanding Gazan terrorists as equals of a sovereign nation protecting its citizens.

Elaine Frankowski, Minneapolis

THE WEATHER

Why, it's like …

In the early stage of the climate crisis, I used to complain we were getting St. Louis's summers. Now we've got Bataan's.

Mark Warner, Minneapolis

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