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The “One Night in Minneapolis” story (front page, August 29) was, according to the article, intended to dispel the negative news that was being aired in the national media. He did the opposite. The article brushed aside and attempted to normalize many of the very reasons people avoid Minneapolis. Open-air drug camps (masking housing of last resort); loud, disruptive and dangerous street racing; a man beaten and lying motionless outside a popular downtown bar; crowds so out of control it may be necessary to use pepper spray; open drug traffic on the light rail; armed groups loitering outside a local liquor store – oh, and 59 reports of gunfire. All in one weekend in Minneapolis.
The article euphemistically calls Minneapolis “a city in transition,” as if the city is on some kind of positive journey, but it’s worth not mentioning what it’s going through. Certainly we have seen a change over the past few years. Minneapolis has elected increasingly radical city leaders who will freely criticize police officers while granting criminals victim status, leaders who place no value on overall community safety. We have prosecutors at all levels who don’t jail career criminals and offer incredibly light sentences for crimes that would have been considered egregious just a decade ago.
So yes, in retrospect, Minneapolis is a city in transition. Going from the beautiful, clean and relatively safe City of Lakes to a city where even the most socially destructive behavior goes uncondemned or punished, where criminals abound and criminal acts are commonplace and decent people avoid.
Chris Boik, Lincoln, Neb.
The writer resided in Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs from 1994 to 2021.
There are things we want to be true that just aren’t. Sadly, these stories continue to spur public opinion on crime, as evidenced by Sunday’s op-ed (“Curbing violent crime: All-hands job”) and letter of the day (“Victims are victims too”) . A lie: that harsh penalties are an effective deterrent to violent crime. If that were true, we would be the safest country in the world given our levels of incarceration. One second: that victims of crime simply want revenge. What victims really want is support for recovery, for any monetary loss to be repaid, and a sense of security that comes from knowing that what happened to them will not continue to happen.
We should not hide behind the short-term security that accompanies incarceration for the real long-term security that comes from effective interventions and prevention. Although punishing people for crimes makes some people feel better, such responses are simply a balm for not having done the things that actually prevent and deter crime: fair employment, reliable health care, and education. well funded. But investing in these things doesn’t mean good old dog whistling at election time.
Kara Beckman, South St. Paul
There were several letters to the editor this week that discussed the pros and cons of restorative justice programs. Again, it seems that many people see this intervention as an “either-or”: either the offenders are referred to such programs or they are locked up.
First, each offender, especially juvenile offenders, should be assessed to determine if they are at a point where they can benefit from the program. What is their offense and history with other interventions? Do they suffer from chemical abuse or mental health issues that need to be addressed first? Do they have stable housing? Do they have a support system (parents, siblings, friends, counselors)? Do they show insight into having caused harm to others? Are they at least willing to actively participate? These are just a few of the screening questions that must be answered before considering a restorative justice program.
Restorative justice programs should also be identified and evaluated to ensure that they are appropriate for each offender. What programs exist? What population do they serve? What kind of accountability is required? To what extent do they work with the probation or parole officer, or with the person responsible for supervising the individual? What is the answer if there is no conformity? Most important: how is success measured and reported, and what are the results of the program? After the program is completed, is there follow-up and/or additional support available?
Finally, there are no rules that state restorative justice can only be used if individuals reside in the community. Some offenders, adults and minors, have to be removed from the community for longer or shorter periods. There is no reason why restorative justice programs cannot be (and perhaps should be) offered in every institution where an offender resides. Restorative justice can be effective, but it must be delivered at the right time (is the offender ready to participate?), to the right people (is the offender able to participate?), by the right people (what kind of training provided by providers and what were the results?) and in an appropriate environment (should the offender be removed from the community?).
Jeanne Torma, Minneapolis
DJ Tice characterizes Hitler as, among other things, “a patriot” (“Of all the analogies shelled around the world…” Opinion Exchange, August 28). Of all the things Hitler was, the patriot was not one of them. A patriot is someone who “loves his country and is prepared to boldly support and defend it” (Merriam Webster).
It is important for conservatives to understand the difference between a patriot, a nationalist and a racist. Hitler was not interested in defending the German state as built by Otto von Bismarck some 60 years before, albeit with his sails adjusted by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. He wanted to destroy the German state and succeeded in doing so. . Once Hitler moved beyond the borders of pre-Versailles Germany by annexing Austria, annexing the Sudetenland and then all of Czechoslovakia, invading Poland and the Soviet Union for “Lebensraum”, he shown that he was not a patriot but a murderous racist expansionist. In fact, Hitler and his men executed the true German patriots who tried to kill him on July 20, 1944, including Claus von Stauffenberg, Ludwig Beck, Wilhelm Canaris, Protestant pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and many others. These patriots managed to save part of Germany’s honor by sacrificing their lives.
Conservatives need to understand that just because someone is anti-communist or anti-left doesn’t make them patriotic or even conservative. Tice needs to understand this too, especially when it comes to German history. Words matter.
Robert Meyerson, Atwater, Minn.
Did the author of the “Real issue: Pandemic precautions” letter (August 27) read Tice’s column the next day? The excess of fascist analogies is not uncommon. Tice states that such analogies are “intended to compare shocking events used to justify new powers”. The letter writer excoriates Jensen for “a lamentable lack of understanding of medical and public health challenges.” Hmm, yes, over a million lives were lost, almost exclusively by those with pre-existing conditions, especially old age. This was evident at the start of the pandemic. Yet Governor Tim Walz has forcibly closed businesses, closed public schools and demanded mask “obedience.” Minnesotans endured draconian scrutiny for nearly two years and suffered like Californians and New Yorkers. But other “open” states have thrived on smart, informed leaders. Scott Jensen would provide this leadership.
Donald Pitsch, Eden Prairie
When Jensen, Keith Ellison or any other politician makes a comparison of today’s events with what happened during the Nazi regime and the era of Adolf Hitler, we immediately focus on the atrocities and horrors inflicted to humanity, not the least of which was inflicted on the Jewish people. community. But we tend to lose sight of one of the most important lessons for humanity. I believe Neale Donald Walsch said it best in his book “The Complete Conversations with God”: “The horror of the Hitler experiment was not that he perpetrated it on the race human, but that the human race allowed him to do so. The wonder is not only that a Hitler came, but also that so many others came.”
Robert Stevens, mound