The Rybak administration pretends crime and violence are under control on the streets and in the neighborhoods of Minneapolis. My last column reported 22 shot or stabbed, with three deaths. I now add six more stabbings where one died and the firing of gunmen on a mosque in South Minneapolis celebrating Ramadan, killing a 26-year-old Somali.
This was the second attack on a religious gathering in Minneapolis in less than seven days. Can you believe that if gunmen fired on White Lutherans and White Roman Catholics I’d even have to point this out?
Can you believe the silence of the ecumenical leadership of our city, both Black and White, in light of this sectarian violence? “Leadership,” Black and White, seems to be petrified, as if there are no answers to the violence and terror gripping the neighborhoods and streets of our city.
The foundations, churches and interest groups that hold “What shall be done?” meetings should check out the solutions offered on this column’s web page. Instead, they ignore who lives here and make promises of safety to visitors that Minneapolis is not a Little Belfast, as to the 10,000-strong American Legion that returned to Minneapolis for their annual convention.
Even the Legionnaires, veterans of combat in different theaters of conflict around the world, can read between the lines. They read newspapers. They watch TV in their hotel rooms and wherever else they may be. Although guaranteed safety, I question if they understand the level of terror gripping this city.
And yet, still, with the exception of this column, silence continues. Here is an example of the muzzling of the Fourth Estate in this city: Five days ago, snipers in the vicinity of 29th and Morgan in North Minneapolis fired from ambush on Minneapolis police, the second time in a month and a half that this column has reported this.
Minneapolis police are wondering when their superiors will show some concern for the safety of law enforcement officers in our city. When you refuse to discuss the continued acts of violence, as the Rybak administration and city council and church communities have chosen to do, democracy and free society become precarious and could evaporate or go up in flames.
Despite the people in our city being shot, knifed, maimed and killed, the silence continues. Silence is not acceptable. Not since the days of Prohibition 80 years ago have Minneapolis police officers been fired on from ambush by snipers.
What is the explanation? What are we up against as a city? Is Europe coming to America? Have we now fallen into a period of sectarian violence like Belfast and Londonderry in Northern Ireland in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s?
Ask yourselves this: How safe are our 13- and 14-year-old children when 13- and 14-year-olds are being gunned down on the streets of our city? This city pretends it is not Detroit, Newark, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Memphis or Baltimore, an honor roll that lives in infamy in terms of violence on the streets of those cities. We act as if we are above those references and identification tags.
Either our city officials refuse to address how their policies contribute to this violence, or they are afraid to express their views. The violence from guns, knives, feet and fists continues. The dust briefly settles and the medical examiner moves on, but the casualty figures continue to mount.
The mayor and the city council are doing nothing to enable citizens to feel safer. We must not allow ourselves to become the Belfast or Rio de Janeiro of North America. Minnesotans and Minneapolitans deserve better.
Hubert Humphrey would cry tears of humiliation if he saw this violence in his city now. Cecil Newman and Nellie Stone Johnson would pray for the salvation of African Americans. All three of these great patriots would cry over the darkness that has descended over this city during this period of outrageous violence, as our leaders, White and Black, cower fearfully, hoping this American tragedy just goes away.
The establishment must act, for around the world the young are rising up against establishments trying to keep them down. Minneapolis should be leading, not retreating from our youth.
I don’t understand why African American leaders, sitting on $600K for tornado recovery, are not offering $5K for information that can help apprehend the shooters of the 13- and 14-year-olds.
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.