“No more no-knock warrants in Mpls.” (Front page, April 6.) Seems like we’ve heard this before.
Tony Aspholm, Minneapolis
In my experience listening to people from all across the state representing many demographics and community groups, everyone wants to feel safe in their communities. Proposed approaches to this concern are too often expressed in simplistic terms. On the one hand there’s the focus on police and punishment, which is the sole focus of the Minnesota Senate. On the other is de-emphasizing law enforcement and punishment, which tends to be the House approach. The best answer, as with many things, is some of both. Having enough well-trained, well-equipped law enforcement officers is critical to ensuring that our communities are safe. However, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country on earth, higher than countries such as El Salvador, Rwanda and Cuba, as well as every democracy. If putting people in jail were the solution to crime, you would think we’d have solved this.
If law enforcement alone is insufficient, we need to ask what, other than disregard for consequences, is driving crime in our communities. Once we answer that, we can determine what other resources and actions are needed to address the causes of crime. This is harder and more complicated, which makes it less appealing to politicians. Addressing the causes of crime likely requires additional government funding for things such as education, housing, drug and alcohol abuse, and job training. Failure for individuals to be successful without this support is typically characterized as a failure of personal virtue or effort. While it’s easy to get agreement for law enforcement, agreement on programs to address the causes of crime is much harder.
Paul Huffman, Woodbury
THE POWER OF PHOTOGRAPHY
After attending the recent opening reception and panel discussion for “Documenting a Reckoning: The Murder of George Floyd,” a photography exhibit presented by the Hubbard School of Journalism at the Mill City Museum, I hope our community takes advantage of the opportunity to see the 54 photos in the exhibit and leaves comments about the exhibition (“Images of reckoning: The Floyd murder,” editorial, Jan. 24). A jury reviewed more than 500 photos submitted by 81 professional, community and student photographers to create this exhibit documenting our community in the time period from Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, to the final Derek Chauvin trial verdict on April 20, 2021. The opening reception brought together a diverse audience to hear from a panel of three local photographers and also to recognize the local community and student photographers’ work. The most compelling aspect of the evening’s discussion was the feeling of authentic sharing among those present. If “reckoning” means an opportunity to deal with something difficult, that evening modeled a moment for beginning and continuing those conversations. And the exhibit itself — highlighting many images from nonprofessionals who are part of the community — is a testament to the power of citizens as community journalists.
The exhibit will be up through June 5, and the Minnesota Historical Society Press also offers some relevant reading material, including “Sparked” (essays by social scientists, professors and other academics on the meaning of race and racism in Minnesota).
It’s good to be part of a community that strives to understand the importance and influence of the events of this time period, and kudos to the Hubbard School of Journalism for bringing this exhibit to the public. Of course, I would love to see more of the other 500+ images submitted and hear more from the nonprofessional photographers in particular about their feelings and decision to document these events, and where they and their cameras will go from here.
Colleen Aho, Minneapolis
The picture on page A5 on Tuesday of little Vlad Tanyuk, shellshocked and deprived of his mother, almost gutted me. I am a disabled veteran with service in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, and I thought I would never see that look again. This picture brought back enough horror and guilt that I choked down vomit and wept.
The United States and our allies have the military might and dedicated people to stop this from ever happening to any child. But we no longer have the will. Oh, God, gas will go up! Oh, I can’t afford to see the interest on my corporate loans rise! I’ve spoken to my military brothers and sisters, they are ready and able to stop this atrocity against civilization. But like me, they are forced to see pictures with no way to help, because our “leaders” worship money and trade over children’s lives. Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t going to nuke anyone over Ukraine — it’s far from his best interests to do so, and that’s all he cares for.
I’m glad to my heart that the photographer didn’t catch little Vlad looking directly at the camera; I couldn’t have handled that.
Ryan Corman, Fargo
With the unpredictability of our climate-change-induced changing weather, it is difficult to chart a path forward by looking to the past. From having some of the hottest summers and winters on record to rain events that dump more precipitation in a shorter amount of time, there is no new normal to be able to point to with the unpredictability of the last 10 years. But this is exactly what those on the front lines of climate change are being asked to do. From farmers to city planners, they are all trying to plan for the future by determining the new normal based on the last 10 years of data. These are costly decisions that could impact a family farm’s survival or protect a community from severe flooding. The University of Minnesota Extension Service is proposing a new Weather Ready Program, HF 3759, a statewide program to help those on the front lines of climate change. The Weather Ready Program would help adaptation by increasing the capacity of extension staff for environmental monitoring and educating communities of current science practices.
In our climate emergency, an “all of the above” approach is what the answer should be. But if there is not the political will for that, Minnesotans deserve at least a pathway to pragmatically understand the current climate crisis in time for action, like the Weather Ready Program would do.
Jeremy Schroeder, Minneapolis
The writer is a former member of the Minneapolis City Council.
George W. Bush was right when he famously declared “America is addicted to oil.” Our addiction remains as strong as ever. So it’s not surprising that as gas prices rise so does our anxiety, and politicians propose a gas tax holiday as a remedy. Such a short-term, feel-good solution would be a mistake. Cheap gas has high costs.
Emissions from transportation are the largest source of climate pollution in Minnesota. The realities of the climate crisis are in our face: droughts threaten Minnesota agriculture, summer air quality emergencies from wildfires threaten our health and force us indoors, once-in-1,000-years floods occur with regularity, unprecedented storms devastate communities coast to coast. The list goes on and the effects — and costs — grow worse.
Of course we have the power to change our gas guzzling ways. But behavior change requires the right signals from the marketplace.
A gas tax holiday, if oil companies pass the savings on to consumers, would benefit the gas-guzzlers who drive like there’s no tomorrow as well as those who legitimately suffer economic pain from high prices. A better solution would be to provide targeted relief to those who actually need it. And let gas prices reflect something closer to their true costs.
Monday’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report underscores the urgency of action. World scientists agree: Carbon emissions must decrease immediately and deeply to avoid catastrophic consequences for all life on the planet. Sounds like the ultimate “right to life” issue.
Lyndon Torstenson, Minneapolis
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