Letters: We can’t undo historic wrongs. We still need reparations

We can’t undo historic wrongs. We still need reparations

Thank you, Isabel Saavedra-Weis, for writing this important account of what you encountered when reporting on reparations in Minnesota (“4 lessons I learned reporting on racial reparations in St. Paul,” Sept. 3). What is also important to note is that we cannot go back and undo the historic wrongs done to Black and Native people.  Given that, what CAN be done? Solutions need to be both practical and meaningful.

Let us start with official, sincere apologies from the highest levels of Minnesota governmental entities.

Moving on, the statements I have listened to and read acknowledging that we exist on stolen Native land ring shallow. What is the point of those statements if no action is to follow? How much land could we give back? City of St. Paul parks? State of Minnesota parks? Would Native Minnesotans be able to take back ownership and manage those lands as they see fit? Would they want to?

Reparations for Black Minnesotans are more problematic because reparations specifically for slavery can no longer be given those who were enslaved. However, their descendants, and all Black immigrants coming to Minnesota before the civil rights movement, experienced housing discrimination and other forms of legal discrimination in our state. I ask our elected officials to hurry up and implement reparations programs of some kind before that generation passes away.

Emily Nieters, Mendota Heights

The same people

I’m wondering if anybody else finds it interesting that the people who have indicted President Trump of trying to overturn an election are the same people who spent three years accusing him of Russian collusion based on a false dossier in hopes of overturning an election.

Don Anderson Jr., Cottage Grove

At least community service

As the Minnesota Vikings football season gets rolling, it’s apparent that the two-tiered system of system of justice is not confined to the political elite and their family members. It’s alive and well right here in the Twin Cities.

An example is the kid-gloves treatment given to Minnesota Vikings rookie Jordan Addison, the rookie who caught his first professional touchdown in last week’s disappointing season opening loss to Tampa Bay. The speedy wide receiver was caught from behind speeding at 140 miles per hour in his new Lamborghini in the wee hours of a Thursday morning last month while  traveling eastbound on a section of I-94 about a mile outside of downtown St. Paul.

The talented first-round draft choice from the University of Southern California is a vital cog in the team’s boosted emphasis on the passing game. When caught driving more than twice the speed limit, he told the state trooper who stopped him that he was dealing with an emergency to his dog.

Charged with misdemeanors of reckless driving and greatly exceeding the limit, he speedily cut a sweetheart deal with the compliant Ramsey County Attorney’s Office to plead guilty to speeding, while the reckless charge will be dropped. The offense, if the arrangement is approved by a Ramsey County District Court judge, will be treated as a petty misdemeanor, a non-criminal offense equivalent to walking a dog without a leash.

His punishment: losing his license for the duration of the football season and a fine of $686, pocket change that he should easily be able to pay from his nearly $7 million signing bonus as part of his $13+-million-dollar four-year Vikings contract.

The prosecutorial authorities will probably defend their lenity as being standard for first-time offenders like Addison. But, if that’s so, then they need to re-think their templates for hazardous conduct of this type.

The plea bargain is still subject to approval by a judge, who is scheduled to hear it this week.  The sentencing jurist presumably  will not pat him on the back, ask for his autograph, and wish him and the team good luck and hope they make it to the Super Bowl next February, when Addison can have his driving privilege restored.

Acknowledging his “poor judgment,” Addison has not been subject to any disciplinary action by either the NFL or the Vikings although Coach Kevin O’Connell says he gave him a stern lecture. That nonchalance is troublesome in light of a number of recent dangerous high-profile — and one fatal — vehicle accidents involving pro football players.

As for the statement Addison made to law enforcement about his dog, which has disappeared from the case, the authorities threw him a bone and decided not to do anything at all. Although that seeming duplicity is technically not illegal in Minnesota, the sentencing judge might want to take that excuse into account in deciding whether to accept the plea deal. At a minimum, adding a community service feature might be appropriate for the youthful receiver, who has acknowledged that he made a mistake and used poor judgment.

It makes one wonder how a person of lesser renown would have been treated for similar aberrant behavior in Minnesota’s form of dual-track injustice.

Marshall Tanick, Minneapolis

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