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Saturday, October 21, 2006


Update on Toua Lor: Apologies to the Post-Crescent

My previous rant, "Giving Up on the Post-Crescent," has been changed to "Apologies to the Post-Crescent." Though it took longer than my limited patience tolerated, they did finally print my letter regarding Toua Lor and the recent hunting incident. I was obviously far too rash in assuming that they weren't interested in the matter. I hope this will be the beginning of more accurate coverage on what did and didn't happen in the incident, and in healing some of the wounds in the community arising from the handling of this case.
Now how about an apology to the VanDinter family for all of the comments that would make others believe that Steve VanDinter is a racist? How about an apology to the people of the Town of Liberty for commenting that you have "proof" that the woods are booby trapped? There is no proof and there are no booby traps. Unless you live there, keep your guesses to yourself and quit trying to hurt others. YOU will be judged someday as you have tried to judge others. Read your bible a tad more and you will figure it out. Peace to you.
I do not believe that he is a racist and am puzzled that you would say I've made such an accusation. I've criticized the media for stirring racial issues and for not exploring other sides to the story. When I ask why they haven't considered other angles likes the possibility of self-defense, that question does not mean I think that Mr. van Dinter was doing anything improper, but that it's at least worth asking if Toua might have been scared. When I ask why the media hasn't explored the reasons for accosting Toua a second time, that doesn't mean that there weren't good reasons - and it certainly doesn't mean that I'm guessing he was some kind of racist. But the story that has been conveyed, and the lack of questions being considered, has resulted in possibly shallow coverage that has left out the Hmong community's perspective.

But I have not indicated that racism was involved in the incident. But the story as reported - as handled by the media - has unavoidable racial overtones and linking it to Chai Vang has been reprehensible.
Jeff, someone also accused you of saying that Chairm Ubl was racist. Nothing close to that is in your words.
But given the new insights I've received from some of you, I think I should offer some form of apology for being harsh on the neighbors, on Mike Ubl, and unintentionally harsh on Steve van Dinter. Look, I'd seriously be willing to come out and talk with any of you to offer that apology and better understand your perspectives. Or, since you're all probably too ticked at me to want that, I'd be willing to do something like create a post with your statements (nothing too nasty, please) and perhaps a land plat / map to help people understand the area better. And I'd like to include some guidelines on what hunters should and should not do to make sure that they respect property rights, have the propery permissions, avoid unsafe practices, etc. I've heard comments from people of two races suggesting that there is a need to clarify some of these hunting tips, rules, and laws, to help provide problems in the future.

Would any of that help?

Really, I do not wish to offend the people in Liberty. I regret having been over zealous in my rants on the subject and would like to take steps toward fixing things rather than stirring things up.
I also hope I can help the Hmong community understand your perspectives a little better.

And while you have given me some good food for thought, I still extend my moral support to Toua and hope he will not have to face years in prison for what I think/hope was a big misunderstanding.

At the same time, I feel very sorry if I've offended Mr. van Dinter in my defense of Toua and critique of the media's actions. Some of his neighbors thought I was calling him racist or something, when that was far from my intent. They say he's going through a rough time, which surprised me but I guess it makes sense any time someone gets unwanted publicity and goes through a stressful event such as the gun-pointing incident.
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