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#parent | #kids | Readers Write: Jan. 6, aliens, COVID-19 vaccines, Naomi Osaka | #parenting | #parenting | #kids


The Star Tribune Editorial Board calls for as much transparency as possible regarding “unexplained aerial phenomena” (“Looking forward to that UFO report,” editorial, June 2). The federal government report is due by June 25, and I along with many others am eager to review the findings. I have drawn no conclusions about spacecraft or creatures from other worlds, but I certainly do not dismiss the possibilities. As always, the focus must be on scientific data and not fantastical scenarios of alien invasions or deep-state conspiracy theories.

There is no small irony, however, that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is a leading Republican on this topic. How concerned can Rubio and his GOP colleagues be about invasions and conspiracies? Congressional Republicans voted en masse to reject a bipartisan investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection. Those who stormed the Capitol were a clear threat to our democracy. We already had an invasion fueled by a conspiracy. Maybe it is easier to stay focused on the skies rather than the danger at your feet.

Phil George, Lakeville

•••

The Republicans in the Senate refused to even vote on forming a bipartisan commission to investigate who was responsible for the insurrection on Jan. 6 and how to guard against anything like it happening again.If most Republicans don’t want the American public to learn the facts, then the Democrats and the few Republicans who do believe the facts must be uncovered must do so.

Why would anyone think that Trump supporters or other Republicans would believe a bipartisan commission if it found facts they don’t want to hear?After six months of overwhelming evidence that the 2020 election was fair and that Joe Biden is our elected president, 70% of Republicans still believe the election was rigged. Former President Donald Trump still claims he didn’t lose the election, that it was stolen from him.

Regardless of whether or not there is a commission formed and whatever it finds, apparently some portion of the population will believe whatever Trump tells them to believe.However, a commission report and findings are critical to providing the remainder of the population with the information they need to reach an informed decision about the Jan. 6 insurrection.The future of our democracy depends on it.

Dale Trippler, Blaine

COVID-19

A Memorial Day letter to the editor compared the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation to the current generation’s reluctance to wear a mask or get a vaccine (“In memoriam, get the shot,” May 31). And the recent holiday witnessed the great American “going out” as people celebrated with travel and get-togethers. State Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has said COVID is behind us. But it isn’t. There are still new infections and people dying, some of them young ones.

Thanks to our amazingly effective vaccines and the number of patriots who have extended their arms, great progress has been made in this country. But until a lot more step forward, we will continue to have a sizable reservoir of circulating virus. It infects the unprotected and lurks in wait to mutate into new variants that threaten to undo our progress. This reservoir is in the unvaccinated — the adolescents not yet eligible, the vaccine hesitant and the anti-vaxxers. We have a window of opportunity to actually put this behind us. As safety is documented, our young people must be vaccinated. Hesitant adults need to have their questions heard and answered. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue — it is an American issue and a concern for every Minnesotan. Before declaring victory, Sen. Gazelka could be very helpful if he would energetically join in encouraging the hesitant to roll up their sleeves. Stopping on the 10-yard line does not score the winning touchdown.

Curtis Keller, Maplewood

•••

As a solution to defeating COVID-19 finally arises, life seems to slowly be going back to normal. However, according to a pre-pandemic Gallup poll, 11% of U.S. adults believe vaccines are worse than the diseases they prevent. Hearing about anti-vaxxers and their statements about the coronavirus raises the question: “What about their kids?”

With social media now being a pertinent tool to most teens’ lives, there’s no avoiding being informed of current events. Influencers on apps like TikTok, Twitter and Instagram share posts about receiving the vaccination, encouraging others to do the same.

It’s not rare to hear about teens who are curious about being or ready to be vaccinated. According to a study by the University of Michigan, 76% of 911 teens and young adults surveyed were willing to get the vaccine, yet laws in states like Minnesota require guardian consent for minors for most shots, including the COVID vaccines. Studies like these prove that states holding laws similar to Minnesota’s could be a setback toward herd immunity.

With the constant encouragement to get vaccinated, it’s hard not to find it odd to not allow adolescents to do so autonomously, especially when they might have anti-vaccination parents.

The approximate number of adolescents ages 12-17 in the United States is 25 million. That’s approximately 25 million people who, depending on where they live, might need approval to make a health decision that’s being constantly brought to their awareness. Question is, what if their parents are a part of the 11%?

Getting vaccinated should be encouraged in households and spoken about with a trusted health professional. As we strive to bring this epidemic to an end, we should also be open to options such as letting adolescents and teens make the decision themselves, as it could be beneficial to their health and our journey back to normalcy.

Eva Skipwith, Minneapolis

NAOMI OSAKA

I really know nothing about sports — don’t play them, don’t watch them. But I do know about mental health, having experienced challenges of my own as well as with many members of my family. For an incredibly gifted athlete, four-time Grand Slam champion and No. 2-ranked player tennis star Naomi Osaka, to withdraw from the French Open because of severe anxiety over news conferences is beyond shameful (“Osaka withdraws from Open,” June 1). This is not a sports issue; this is a mental health issue.

Apparently, the leaders of the Grand Slam tournaments “offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court.” So, the best way to offer support and assistance is to let her skulk off and hide in a corner? How about encouraging her to play, instead of punishing her for her extreme anxiety? Will these “supportive” officials allow her back once she has proven she has their standard of mental toughness? Do these officials know that it takes time — lots of time — and lots of therapy, and, how about this: some accommodations for an anxious person to face the press? By the time she is deemed fit, her physical prowess may have waned.

They are right on one thing: “Mental health is a very challenging issue, which deserves our utmost attention.” You bet it does. Let her play, give her support, make accommodations as necessary (she already knows she needs to wear headphones to help dull her anxiety) and show the sports world, and the entire world, that people with mental health issues have the right and, in fact, deserve to play just as much as anyone else.

Martha Wegner, St. Paul

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