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U.S. Attorney General William Barr said that shutdowns to stem the spread of COVID-19 were “the greatest intrusion of civil liberties” in U.S. history “other than slavery.”

My mother was 6 years old when she and her siblings, all U.S.-born American citizens, were all rounded up and sent to an internment camp in the Idaho desert during World War II because of their Japanese ancestry. During the shutdown, I was asked to stay home as much as possible for a couple of weeks while I worked from home. It was touch-and-go with the toilet paper, and I missed watching the Twins for a while, but I think she had it worse.

Rich Sudo, Minnetonka

• • •

It is time for Minnesota to require visitors from surrounding states to quarantine for 14 days before mingling with our residents. North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin are among nation’s leaders in recent per capita cases of COVID-19.

South Dakota public officials abjectly failed to protect the public by not stopping the Sturgis super-spreader event from occurring. Gov. Kristi Noem also defiled the Black Hills by leading a super-spreader event in pusillanimous homage to her party’s cult hero.

Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota proudly led his state’s “low mandate” crusade to increased death and illness.

Iowa, following the lead of Sen. Joni Ernst, abandoned its reputation for common-sense prudence.

And the Wisconsin Supreme Court egregiously bowed to the political forces of anger and fear by limiting the emergency powers of Gov. Tony Evers to enhance health and safety.

Gov. Tim Walz, thank you. Thank you for respecting science. Thank you for resisting the onslaught of political small-mindedness led by Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. And thank you for keeping Minnesotans as safe and healthy as possible in dire times.

Jon Steinberg, Minneapolis

• • •

The recent reversal of Big Ten schools to resume football soon prompts this tiny bit of advice to them.

I suggest you start thinking now about what you are going to tell the parents of the first student athlete who dies from COVID-19 or its complications.

Of course their risk is less than elders with many other health problems. But it is not zero, and many athletes have COVID comorbidities too. And of course you will do many things to reduce the risks of infection. Remember that the head coach of Louisiana State University told media Tuesday that “most” of his team had already gotten COVID-19.

The large numbers of athletes involved make it statistically likely that many will get sick, that some will get very sick with potentially lifelong consequences, and even that a few may die. This ignores risks to the athletic staff, teachers, relatives and others who may get the disease from the athletes.

So think hard about what you will say to the parents of the first student athlete who dies from this decision. Those parents might not agree with your interpretation of the duties of “in loco parentis.”

Michael Andregg, St. Paul

NATIONAL ANTHEM

Don’t promote an agenda in uniform

Some time ago, Colin Kaepernick drew national attention by refusing to stand for the national anthem. For that, he was vilified by some, including the president, but cheered by others. Fast forward to this month. Now several NFL players are taking a knee to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Some teams stay in the locker room during the anthem to avoid the whole issue. Veterans groups have expressed the opinion that the gesture dishonors veterans.

When some of us wore military uniforms, there were limits to what we could do in public while wearing it. We could not make a public endorsement of a political figure or participate in a rally. I think that the same principle applies here. When an athlete dons a team uniform, for which he is generously compensated, he represents that team. The people who provide his salary have a right to tell him what he can do while wearing that uniform. After he removes it, he can make whatever statements he wants, just like anyone else. But he should not use his team identity to promote his social or political agenda.

James A. Booker, Mankato, Minn.

RACISM

If we know better, we can do better

The writer of “Good anti-racism material exists, but critical race theory is not it” (Readers Write, Sept. 15) is advancing a viewpoint on critical race theory from the 1970s. He and those who agree with him might benefit from an updated perspective.

Critical race theory was developed in the mid- to late 1980s advancing in part the idea that federal, state and local laws played a role in establishing and maintaining white supremacy. Since the ’70s, data and information have been researched around the role of government in creating discriminatory housing, banking and zoning, which serve to this day to keep Black people from attaining homeownership, good education and well-paying jobs.

The language the writer used in the description of critical race theory such as “racist against whites, anti-American and anti-Western civilization” reveals the pushback and denial that some white people exhibit when they feel the least bit uncomfortable about the legacy of racism in this country. The assertion that taking a deep dive into our racial history is anti-American could not be further from the truth. If we deny a problem exists because the complete history was never written into high school textbooks, then we do not have to face it and solve it. Shining a light on the untold truths of our history does not make us anti-American; it makes us better Americans if we know the complete truth of our heritage. Knowledge can never be a deficit in solving a problem, in this case, the problem of systemic racism. Willful ignorance, however, can be.

For anyone who doubts that the government has played a role in creating the discriminatory policies and laws that need to be dismantled in order to achieve true racial justice, one need look no further than the book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein. The letter writer is basing his opinions on 50-year-old assumptions. When we educate ourselves, learn new truths and know better, we do better.

Dianne Lee, Bloomington

BOUNDARY WATERS

A sanctuary for souls and stars

Reading “Stellar designation for Boundary Waters’ night skies” (Sept. 17), I was reminded that at 41, during the summer of 1991, I had attended the Grand Marais Art Colony master class led by George Morrison. He was, according to Mason Riddle in a 2010 article in “The Daily Planet,” the noted American landscape painter and sculptor who happened to be Ojibwe, or, as Morrison preferred, Chippewa, and whose Native American name was “Wah Wah Teh Go Nay Ga Bo” (“Standing In the Northern Lights”).

I am now 70, but I will never forget the last night when our small group, including Morrison, sat around a modest campfire on the rocky shore of Lake Superior northeast of Grand Marais, and, after sharing stories and extinguishing the fire, we silently accompanied him, northeastward, to his car. As we walked together we all saw the Northern Lights emerge ahead of us and so many stars in the beautiful, clear, cold night sky, hearing only the sound of small waves lapping against the stones. I have also been in the Boundary Waters, in winter and summer, seeing the awe-inspiring stars in the now-named “dark sky sanctuary.”

PATRICK M. REDMOND, St. Paul

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