“Agitation is the marshaling of the conscience of a nation to mold its law,” said Sir Robert Peel, who helped create the modern concept of the police force and twice served as England’s prime minister between 1834 and 1846. Minneapolis needs planning that reflects its good conscience and diminishes agitation.
Agitation is on the streets of Minneapolis, agitation due to the City’s responses to tornado recovery, economic downturn, furloughed workers, and violence in the streets, all part of 2011’s troubling summer.
I reported on the sham that is the tornado recovery planning, the turmoil in the MPD planning and collapse of the Violent Offenders Task Force (VOTF), and City workers either furloughed or reduced to a four-day work week, much due to a lack of political and community leadership.
But it was eight shootings within three days that causes sober reflection on the impending danger of increased violence. Downtown Minneapolis, flagship of Minneapolis’ self image, is tainted by this violence.
Pitched battles fought weekly between police and young people are mindful of riots now going on in London. The cover-up/non-reporting of Minneapolis violence and instability is mind-boggling and dangerous to the health and future of what is promoted as a safe city. Comparatively speaking, “safe” is the furthest thing from the truth.
The eight shootings in three days included a 17-year-old Black youth gunned down while bicycle riding in North Minneapolis, and a young man shot just on the outskirts of the Little Earth Housing Project in South Minneapolis, this time by police.
In one night, there were five shootings in North and South Minneapolis. And along Penn Avenue in North Minneapolis, unknown terrorists fired upon police. Most disturbing is that there are no suspects. The internal unraveling of the VOTF is taking a wider toll on the city.
But the most egregious and outrageous act of violence was the 26-year-old African American shot from ambush in the middle of the street at 13th and Oliver at 11 pm. Shot in the neck, he is now paralyzed from the neck down.
What is so disturbing about this tragedy is that it has received no news coverage other than this column. No press conference. No update. No visit by the mayor or other political leader, and certainly no utterance of concern and condolence from leadership within the African American community.
A young man gunned down in the streets, paralyzed from the neck down, with no one expressing concern as our good Samaritans “pass on the other side.” His loved ones and friends desperately seek answers. So far, no answers are to be had.
And this doesn’t include the suspicious number of victims of violence and mayhem pulled from the Mississippi River. It makes me think of the 1980s “disappeared” era in Buenos Aires, Argentina, or São Paolo, Brazil, or in Damascus, Syria today, or somewhere else in the wild Third World that is more forgotten than remembered.
But this violence of which I write is happening here, my friends, on the streets of our own beloved city, Minneapolis, Minnesota, with a lot of victims and no suspects. Are the European street battles of agitation in London, Paris, Athens, etc. coming to America?
Where is the reporting of the Fourth Estate? Where are the plans for dealing with it? Isn’t the suppression of news supposed to be only in the authoritarian regimes of South America, the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia? Why is it taking place here on the banks of the Mississippi, in our beloved Shangri La?
Do not dismiss the agitation of the economic downturn, the lack of jobs, the unequal access and opportunity, and the dark forecasts of our economic future. The violence can only increase, and it is clear the African American community has become a target for the fallout from bad public policy.
It is very simple, my friends: If there is no report, there is no investigation, no follow-up, no prosecution, and, in the words spoken too often in history, “We screamed for consideration, but there was no one left to hear our cries.”
This is Minneapolis in the year 2011. As you think about the one thing that you have, life, be wise and think about the planning pieces we have written about (and placed on our website), which are also being ignored by the various leaderships and White journalists.
Stay tuned. May God bless you.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm; hosts “Black Focus” on Blog Talk radio Sundays at 3 pm; and co-hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “ON POINT!” Saturdays at 4 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development and “web log” at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com.