We Read the Star Tribune Comments So You Don’t Have To: St. Paul Police Tie Violence to Light-Rail Line in Grant Request

When controversy happens… when tempers flare… we read the comments, so you don’t have to. Let’s start with the picture of the kitten because this is a mess.

Kitten Reading Internet Comments

Emergency kitten

The Star Tribune released another article that is sure to raise the blood pressure of many streets.mn readers. It’s a story about Saint Paul Police seeking money for ShotSpotter, a technology that locates gunshots by sound.  SPPD justifies this request for funding by claiming the Green Line LRT has brought crime to the neighborhoods it runs through. While it’s disconcerting that our Capital City’s Police Department is using tired, dumb tropes in order to make a cash grab on top of their already bloated budget, you can leave it to Strib commenters to take it right up to the edge before they start saying the quiet part out loud.

Now that you have the context let’s take a gander at some key themes from this toilet fire of a comments section.

Key Theme 1: Public Transit = Crime

In the article there is no evidence given to support this equation. Even the most cursory googling will produce mounds of evidence to the contrary, but The Ghouls in the Comments managed to come to that conclusion anyways.  Typically we’d give multiple examples from the comments but in this case it’s so frequently brought up and so succinctly stated by commenter elind56 we’re just going to use their comment:

  • elind56 writes “Violence and public transit have always gone hand-in-hand.”

They haven’t and they don’t, but don’t let the facts slow you down elind56!

Key Theme 2: I did not read the article, but I do have an opinion.

The second major theme in this comments section is commenters completely missing the point. As a quick refresher: this article is about a grant for a police funding and the tensions between cops and electeds caused by careless use of language by the police.

  • odinman bellows: “Legal gun owners are not the problem! Legal gun owners are not riding the rails, robbing, assaulting and murdering people. Instead, rigorously enforce existing laws along with mandatory prison sentences for those who commit crimes with guns…including illegally carrying a gun.” The article does not mention Legal gun owners, but it’s good to be extremely paranoid and defensive at all times odinman, stay vigilant.
  • dewarf  lectures: “Betty and her liberal cohorts don’t want to call ‘illegals’ anything other than ‘undocumented’. Hence, America is getting nowhere with the crisis on our southern border.” dewarf is critiquing Betty’s critique of language, which is relevant, but only worth sharing if I can shoehorn in my opinion on a completely different subject at the same time.
  • Several commenters bemoan that no one pays their fare on the light rail, but samiam’s 100% true and not made up vignette takes the cake for this theme that was absolutely not mentioned in the article once: “Start by actually enforcing the fares on the LRT. I drive by several green line stations every day and you can frequently see people loitering just beyond the fare zone and jumping on the train when it arrives. these are the ones causing most of the issues.” Congratulations to samiam, whose magical eyes can check fares as he drives past.
  • jb2004 just goes ahead and writes their own article: “St. Paul officials say green line light rail brings in more crime. Interesting, and some in the northern suburbs want to get the light rail going. Genius!” None of that was in the article, but go off.

Key Theme 3: Protect the suburbs from the horrors of accessible and efficient transportation.

Light rail lamentations abound from suburbanites like Edina71 or Oronomn, but the suburb’s fear of public transit is most perfectly put by the most aptly named wildriver: “It is not too late to CANCEL the SWLRT.”


Well folks there you have it, another complete stinker of a comments section. We read it, you didn’t, move on with your day and your life knowing that we here at streets will always do our best to protect your sanity from news commenters with names like Geezer1976.

Tom Basgen

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