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.

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

  1. Alex Schieferdecker
    Alex Schieferdecker July 26, 2019 at 1:51 pm #

    I really enjoyed this: “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.”

    Here, our intrepid Strib reader describes the dangerous behavior of… well, waiting for the train and then getting on it. Everything else is imputed by the reader.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke July 26, 2019 at 4:50 pm #

      That is the winner for sure.

  2. John Danielson July 26, 2019 at 3:58 pm #

    Have you risen the light rail at two in the morning? How about during the winter when the homeless turned it into a rolling homeless shelter, cut the vinyl seats and used them as toilets?

    None are as blind as those who don’t want to see.

    This is not “Collusion delusion theory”, these are facts. I would take the word of the emergency responders over your opinion any day. These women and men see it first hand, day and night.

    • Julie Kosbab July 26, 2019 at 4:06 pm #

      Most of the homeless using the train as a rolling shelter are not committing crimes. They just want to be left alone, and not to freeze.

      streets.mn has covered this light rail issue more than once.


      • Julie Kosbab July 26, 2019 at 5:34 pm #

        Additional policing is unlikely to solve the institutional problems leading to homeless presence on the light rail, and just shift the affected persons elsewhere.

        The grant being pursued is about additional policing, not about additional humanitarian services.

    • Will July 26, 2019 at 9:40 pm #

      What does that have to do with “ShotSpotter, a technology that locates gunshots by sound”?

    • Tom Basgen
      Tom Basgen July 26, 2019 at 11:22 pm #


      I’m a bartender who doesn’t own a car so yeah I ride the light rail late at night not infrequently but it doesn’t appear that you do since you defer to the experiences of “emergency responders”.

      So my first point is take your gate-keeping elsewhere, it’s unproductive and unhelpful to meaningful discussion.

      My second point is that this story was about cops looking to increase their budget and the way the “emergency responders” get you to shell out more money is to tell you the sky is falling. Extreme Chicken Little Vibes.

      My third point is just making a long fart noise to painting “these are facts” onto your bad opinion.


      • John Danielson July 27, 2019 at 7:33 am #

        Throw a rock in a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one you hit.

        I make reference to St. Paul’s finest and bravest because I have retired after 22 years with the City of St. Paul as one of the bravest. I think I have more first hand experience on this topic then a bartender due to the fact that I have worked with the finest and these calls.

        I guess i would rather be a “chicken Little” then an ostrich with my head in the sand.

        • Tom Basgen
          Tom Basgen July 27, 2019 at 1:19 pm #

          “Finest” is doing a lot of work in your assessment of SPPD.



          How much has Saint Paul sacrificed for that department’s hamfisted definition of public safety? Being a cop for 22 years in SPPD is an indictment, not an honor.

          • Adam Miller
            Adam Miller July 27, 2019 at 1:28 pm #

            Perhaps I’m confused, but I think he said he was a firefighter.

          • Monte Castleman July 27, 2019 at 11:13 pm #

            There’s no greater honor than someone willing to put their lives on the lives on the line every day to protect out lives, whether firefighters to protect us from fire, police to protect us from criminals, or our armed services to protect us from terrorists and other enemies of the United States.

            • John Danielson July 28, 2019 at 7:24 am #

              Thank you Mr. Castleman for the king words.

              My experiences I have gained in the Navy and the fire service has definitely shaped the way I l look at the world. I have literally been around the world and I can tell you, we have the best form of government. My biggest fear in life is these younger kids thinking the government owes them anything. They are going to bankrupt this county just like the Roman Empire, USSR in the 80’s and Venezuela.

              What happened to my Democrat’s? JFK; “Ask not what my country can do for me; ask WHAT CAN I DO FOR MY COUNTRY”

              Our constitution only guarantees the “… pursuit happiness…”

              Kids, go pursuit, don’t expect it to be given to you by someone else.

              • Andrew July 29, 2019 at 8:45 am #

                “What happened to my Democrat’s? JFK; ‘Ask not what my country can do for me; ask WHAT CAN I DO FOR MY COUNTRY'”

                The Vietnam War happened. And then a whole bunch of other stuff that made the US look like an evil empire, very little of which was related to public transit.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller July 27, 2019 at 9:19 am #

      Pretty much by definition, the experiences of those who respond to emergencies are not representative.

  3. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke July 26, 2019 at 4:48 pm #

    For the record, “elind56” is not me.

  4. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke July 26, 2019 at 4:49 pm #

    PS Tom you are a mensch.

  5. Will July 26, 2019 at 7:13 pm #

    But that’s how criminals do, you know! They burglarize your home, swipe your TV and freezer stocked with premium meats, then go wait an hour for the next train or bus.

    It’s the perfect crime.

    • Julie Kosbab July 29, 2019 at 12:27 pm #

      Go on. Prove I didn’t win that bag of meat at the meat raffle.

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