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It has struck me that it is almost amusing, except that it is really quite sad, that our legislators have spent so much time debating Sunday liquor sales (“Sunday liquor sales by July?” Feb. 28). Those proponents say “the people have spoken!”...

Readers Write (March 1): Sunday liquor sales, defense spending, crime reporting, headline writing, protests, the Oscars and Mahershala Ali

It has struck me that it is almost amusing, except that it is really quite sad, that our legislators have spent so much time debating Sunday liquor sales (“Sunday liquor sales by July?” Feb. 28). Those proponents say “the people have spoken!”...

Readers Write (March 1): Sunday liquor sales, defense spending, crime reporting, headline writing, protests, the Oscars and Mahershala Ali

It has struck me that it is almost amusing, except that it is really quite sad, that our legislators have spent so much time debating Sunday liquor sales (“Sunday liquor sales by July?” Feb. 28). Those proponents say “the people have spoken!” Rather, most citizens don’t really care, and it is once again the lobbyists representing the interests involved who have spoken — while more important issues, such as inadequate roads, crumbling bridges, threats to our water supplies and chaotic health care programs, all will probably get kicked on to another session.

This reminds me of how many years the Legislature debated the all-important issue of how many fishing lines and hooks can be used. As I look across the St. Croix River to our neighboring state, I wonder how long it will be until Minnesotans find themselves in the same race to the bottom in terms of services and programs that truly matter to their constituents.

John Oldendorf, Lake Elmo

• • •

A Roseville liquor store owner had this to say about the law allowing Sunday sales: “We’ve had a system that’s worked very well. They should have left it alone.”

Yes, sir. We’ve had a system that’s worked very well — for you. This may be a news flash to you, but you are not the only citizen of Minnesota.

John Sturtz, Stillwater

MILITARY SPENDING

If Trump gets all that money, he’s likely to find a way to use it

The Pentagon recently buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in Defense Department administrative waste, yet we have the president seeking a historic 9.2 percent increase in military spending — $54 billion, plus an additional $30 billion in supplemental funds at a time when we have wound down major wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (“Trump’s budget boosts military,” Feb. 28). It is clear that a new war is being planned. I guess we will have to wait to see what Trumped up charges he will use to take us to war.

Thomas Dirnberger, Apple Valley

REPORTING AND EDITING

Detail from criminal complaint ought to have been omitted

I am writing in response to the report on Christopher Blair, the Level 3 sex offender at large after being charged with raping a 12-year-old girl in South St. Paul (“Hunt on for sex offender charged with rape,” Feb. 28). The story is horrific enough without the addition that “the criminal complaint described the girl as having ‘special needs and [who] makes bad decisions.’ ” The writer and his editor may believe that portion of the complaint is worthy of reportage, but I argue that repeating this claim in the Star Tribune reinforces the fallacy that any girl, regardless of her physical and/or mental capability, can “decide” to be raped by an adult. Indeed, the St. Paul Pioneer Press did not include this information about the victim in its report on Blair’s disappearance. I strongly suggest that future reporting on rape and sexual assault cases in the Star Tribune be edited to eliminate the suggestion of victim-blaming.

Shannon Drury, Minneapolis

HEADLINE WRITING

Paper chose wrong thing to emphasize, thus tilting story

So much has been made recently about the press, politicians, fake news and words. The headlines of a Feb. 27 Star Tribune article about an altercation at the Minneapolis Institute of Art included “An argument, possibly involving neo-Nazis, turned physical in a gallery of valuable 18th century art.”

Just reading the headline, a reader would assume that neo-Nazis, emboldened by a Donald Trump presidency, are now invading the halls of art galleries to use violence to spread their venom.

A closer reading of the article points to the fact that the fight was probably precipitated by “the defense arm of the Industrial Workers of the World union,” an extremist left-wing organization.

Another possible headline could have included the phrase “An argument, involving neo-Stalinists … .”

This however, does not fit the narrative the Star Tribune is forwarding, that our diverse society, our rich culture, our strong democracy, and now even our hallowed art institutions are under siege from neo-Nazis, the alt-right, Breibart News, Donald Trump and those vile Republicans.

Hate and violence from any group needs to be condemned.

But by twisting headlines, the Star Tribune contributes to, does not help alleviate, the divisiveness we all are feeling.

Words matter.

John Huninghake, Oak Grove

PROTESTS

If you’re wondering, here’s why

In light of the bill in the Minnesota Legislature to crack down on protesters, I’d like to relay an explanation a friend gave me as to why protesters often gather on highways, in airports or other such locales. When you are stuck in traffic, or on the tarmac, unable to move, you become powerless, and you are forced to react. Do you shrug and submit to your fate? Do you become enraged, and start to honk or yell? You must then ask yourself: How do you think black people feel when faced with another unjust police murder of a black citizen?

White people do not experience the fear, the anger, the sadness of living within a justice system that targets them and criminalizes their very being; these methods of protest attempt to disrupt white lives, and to stir in them some small shred of the pain of being black in America. In fact, there can never be a protest that isn’t in some way disruptive to business as usual.

That doesn’t mean that protesters are somehow malicious toward the public; I recently witnessed an enormous group protesting Trump’s refugee ban split rapidly in two to allow an emergency vehicle to pass. However, our Legislature trying to incarcerate those who are looking for justice will only embolden them and galvanize others. We will find new ways to disrupt, ways that “business as usual” might like even less than us standing on a highway.

Cole Nicholls, Minneapolis

• • •

When fascists leave, do they take their fascism with them? What happens to the chaos they leave behind? People banned. Women’s bodies legislated. Trans kids discriminated. Jewish graves desecrated. Going to a bar in Kansas? Do you have a visa? Are you Indian or Iranian? Who cares? Close enough. Get out of my country.

We protest, while you post selfies and pictures of your food. Your undocumented waitress secretly frets while serving you tacos with a smile on her face. Do you know her secret? Extra guac and chips on the side — just how you like it. Will she make it home after her shift or end up in a detention center?

Our voices are loud, but your silence is deafening. Everyone knows who everyone is. When this is over, will we just forget how you looked the other way as our lives were turned upside down?

Adnan Ahmed, Prior Lake

THE OSCARS

Winner Ali was a Guthrie alum

As Neal Justin noted in his column about the Oscars ceremony (“Hollywood sidesteps political opportunities at Oscars,” Feb. 27), Mahershala Ali graciously paid thanks to his teachers when he accepted the award for best actor in a supporting role. What Justin didn’t note, however, was that one of the three teachers Ali named was the Guthrie Theater’s late, great Ken Washington. Ali spent the summer of 1999 with the Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training, a program that Washington started and that is now in its 20th year. Those few weeks Ali spent at the Guthrie Theater 18 years ago clearly had a lasting influence on him.

Mary Jo Nissen, Minneapolis

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