I wrote my first letter to the editor back in 2012 when I was a junior in high school. The first one I got published was following a mass shooting. I have submitted letters about mass shootings since then, and seriously contemplated writing another one after Buffalo, but what is the point anymore?
I have grown up in a generation of mass shootings and have honestly become numb; I'm numb because I know these will continue to happen at grocery stores, movie theaters, offices and elementary schools. I have lost hope that our elected officials are actually going to get something done. Our GOP officials are too deep in with the National Rifle Association and our DFL leaders only tweet about needing change yet are too afraid to pass anything deemed outside the "normal precedent."
Since my first published letter, we have had nothing but thoughts and prayers. And what good has that done to the thousands that have died? It's all empty words. It means nothing anymore. The sad thing is, I could save this exact letter as a draft and submit it a couple weeks from now when another shooting is likely to occur.
Jack Parker, Minneapolis
Can the state GOP really do no better?
Republican Kim Crockett served a crockpot of blatant anti-Semitism in her video at the party's state convention and nevertheless was endorsed as the GOP candidate for secretary of state ("GOP chair apologizes for puppet-master video," May 21).
David Hann, chair of the Republican Party, does not dispute the video reeks of anti-Semitism but inanely claims anti-Semitism was not the intent. Of course that was the intent: Was it merely a coincidence that the three villains in the video, including Secretary of State Steve Simon, are Jewish and portrayed, according to the American Jewish Committee, in "a vicious antisemitic trope"? And since when did "intent" become a requirement for bigotry?
Does Hann criticize Crockett and demand that she apologize? No. Instead, he promises to "educate our candidates on anti-Semitism." Crockett already seems to know enough about anti-Semitism to include it in her campaign materials, but what she needs to learn is that it is immoral and unacceptable.
Crockett's behavior after Hann's education promise? There is no apology or claim of no "intent" or admission that anti-Semitism is wrong. Instead, she is a victim of "contrived and bogus political attacks" and holds up a book by Tucker Carlson, the apologist for Vladimir Putin who claims Ukraine poses a Nazi threat even though Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish.
Under Secretary Simon, Minnesota has held indisputably fair elections with high voter turnout. Why would we replace him with a Crockett of unfit character and anti-Semitism?
Brad Engdahl, Golden Valley
That Crockett owes an apology to Simon and Democratic elections lawyer Marc Elias for her anti-Semitic campaign ad goes without saying. I wouldn't expect one, though, as she is using the now familiar Republican tactic of playing the victim when bad behavior is called out.
However, recognizing the broader nature of what this ad exemplifies is crucial at this point in our democracy. In addition to its anti-Semitic offensiveness, this ad is defamatory to Simon, claiming, as now-endorsed candidate Scott Jensen does, that Simon ran an election that was unfair and rigged in 2020. This allegation is clearly without the slightest proof of any kind, but it also continues the Republican theme that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. And it continues the attempt to erode our faith in the electoral process, casting unwarranted and pernicious doubt about our democratic system.
If you think this is overstated, I remind you that Jensen stated that Simon should be imprisoned for his oversight of the 2020 election — again with no proof at all. And does anyone think that ads like the one in question just pop up unannounced at a statewide convention? They are clearly prepared by a committee, screened for messaging and then shown.
This is part of a national and state strategy to delegitimize any election not won by the candidate of one party. It is dangerously anti-democracy, and it needs to be recognized and called out at every turn. If it isn't, the dire consequences of the Jan. 6 insurrection will be just a prologue.
David Miller, Mendota Heights
NORTH HIGH PRINCIPAL
Too harsh, MPS
Principal Mauri Friestleben joined the students of North High School in a walkout to protest the death of Amir Locke at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, knowing she might face disciplinary action ("Mpls. school rallies behind its principal," May 24). The majority of the students at North High are Black, and the events of the last two years have reinforced their fear of an encounter with the MPD. Let me state that I am not against the MPD, but there are instances and solid evidence that some members of the MPD treat people of color differently. This is the reality and expectation in the minds of the Black students in that district and elsewhere.
Regardless of whether Friestleben had joined the students on Feb. 9, the walkout to protest the death of Amir Locke would have taken place. It was going to happen with or without her. She showed the students what can be achieved through a peaceful march. Given the events of rioting and destruction over the past two years, is there any more valuable lesson the students could have learned by remaining in class that day?
For those of you unfamiliar with Friestleben's success with the students on the North Side of Minneapolis, I urge you to watch "Love Them First." It is an award-winning documentary KARE-11 did on Friestleben's work at the Lucy Laney Elementary on the North Side. She is an asset and a godsend to the children in a tough district. They love and respect her.
Minneapolis Public Schools should be grateful for Friestleben and her dedication and perseverance, and should fully reinstate her immediately with a far less severe punishment for her actions.
Teresa Maki, Minnetonka
I applaud the actions of Mauri Friestleben. She took full responsibility for encouraging North High students to organize and engage in peaceful protest against the shooting of Amir Locke in February. She then went one step further by pledging to join them against strong advice from district leaders.
Principal Friestleben provided North High students with a means to peacefully express their outrage over the death of a member of the Black community. In doing so, she also provided them with an alternative, culturally responsive path toward healing from racial and historical trauma. Most importantly, she demonstrated courageous leadership to all of us and to the school district leaders who encouraged her to take the path of least resistance and risk.
And to Associate Superintendent Shawn Harris-Berry, who sent a letter to parents on Friday: In future letters, I hope you'll embrace the school community rather than distancing yourself and use the words "our community" instead of "your community."
Chris Bray, Minneapolis