Thurgood Marshall reminds us that:
- History shows grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.
- Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
Will we stand up to the urgent problem of violence in our neighborhoods, regardless of who by and for what, or will we silently condone violence, betraying Martin Luther King Jr.’s non-violent wisdom, and risk having our liberties taken away “for our own good” to prevent violence, as others “solve” our problems their way?
Headline (Star Tribune, October 4, 2017): “Seventeen people shot, two fatally, in Minneapolis and St. Paul.” This was particularly sad for me, as I personally knew both families.
Five days earlier, the Star Tribune reported that since January 1, 2017, over 750 guns have been seized in North Minneapolis. And yet, our neighborhoods were silent after that article, a silence reflecting a lack of commitment to urgently deal with violence in our neighborhoods. The problem is not the police. The problem is the seeking to maintain status quo policies and practices by and White state and local elected officials and their agencies, as well as by for-profit companies and non-profit organizations.
By the time this column reaches print another interesting conference will have been held in Robinsdale on November 8, and a second will be on November 15, at the Hennepin County Jail Conference room. Both conferences will be addressing gun violence policies and response practices.
Will there finally be real and not fake change? Or will the urgency to strengthen the status quo win out, such that gun violence will not end anytime soon.
Many interesting conferences with many interesting attendees listening to many interesting people are held in election years. In the recent election cycle, almost $2 million was given to some interesting neighborhood people holding interesting conferences recommending interesting solutions.
Will these November conferences be more spins on the interesting merry-go-round of the usual interesting Black and White status quo seeking suspects seeking opportunities to get dollars for pretending to be sincerely concerned regarding what is happening to our neighborhoods?
What will be talked about at the November 15 conference at the Hennepin County Jail? Will there be a joint undertaking by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s department and Minneapolis Police Department? What kind of actions will be recommended? How many recommendations will be implemented?
Will the federal government hand down indictments regarding racketeering, gunrunning and drug activity in our neighborhoods? Another troubling question: How many people are under surveillance, and do they know it?
If ever there was an occasion for neighborhoods to stop being passive when fighting genocide against communities of color, it is now. Will they do so?
Many who have failed before still believe they should be invited to these conferences, even though there aren’t nametags for them; they are no longer seen as relevant. We have long warned that taking a few pieces of silver in exchange for the do-nothing good life would not last indefinitely. Will they still try to get into these highly secure conferences?
In a future column, we will address the related critical problem of drugs/opioids (prescription pain killers, heroin, fentanyl and others) that are endangering all neighborhoods — Black and White.
Since 2000, there have been nearly 300,000 opioid overdose deaths —more than the number of murders involving guns, and 42,800 more than killed in Vietnam.
Hopefully, public and private leaders in these conferences will work with our neighborhoods, as we together take these interrelated problems seriously, and let law enforcement personnel do their part in helping resolve these problems.
Ron has hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solutions papers, books, and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.