The warning signs for the current violence have been present for at least six days. We are not surprised, as we predicted a violent summer months ago and asked what the plan for it would be. We still wait.
The echoes of gunfire in Minneapolis, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend signals how real our concerns are about pending danger lurking on Minneapolis streets. What a sad irony of street casualties on a weekend to honor heroes, not disrespect them or the communities and freedom they fought for.
Memorial Day weekend experienced six shooting scenes. One was along the 2700 block of 3rd street North. Gunmen opened fire, and when the smoke cleared, three young men had been shot. One was dead at the scene, two others were rushed to hospitals by friends.
According to the Star Tribune story of this shooting (“1 dead in north Minneapolis shooting after neighborhood dispute”), the police said that the shooting was a “neighborhood dispute that erupted in gunfire,” that it “is not considered random,” and that it “did not appear to involve gangs.” I disagree. It was gang related.
The reporter then compared the shooting to a neighborhood dispute a year ago when one neighbor fatally shot another in a feud over feeding deer. Comparing shootings in a gang feud to a feud over feeding deer?
A second shooting occurred an hour later in the vicinity of the 3000 block of 3rd Street North, as gunmen brandished their guns.
A third scene: gunfire along the 3700 block of Lyndale Avenue North. Reinforcements had to be called in.
A fourth shooting occurred around 5:30 pm along 26th Avenue North. In a very short period of time, both sheriff and Minneapolis police were seen moving along 26th Ave North between Penn and Fremont, almost like a convoy.
A fifth shooting, Sunday morning: shots fired and two people wounded in the vicinity of Phyllis Wheatley, along 11th Avenue and Humboldt Avenue.
A sixth: gunfire in South Minneapolis. Casualty specifics at the time of the writing of this column Monday night, May 25, were yet to be verified.
These “incidents” make quite clear that there are serious and dangerous problems. The shootings on Memorial Day in North Minneapolis are said by reliable sources to be in retaliation for the death of a young African American gang member outside the Fourth Street Saloon, at 4th and Broadway two weeks ago.
How long and how often will shots continue to reverberate in both North and South Minneapolis? Most troubling about this Memorial Day weekend violence is the absence of African American leadership on the streets to help bring calm to a community under siege. Our warning two months ago to have a plan to prepare for a long, hot summer has come true, threatening the very fiber of peace and tranquility that citizens have a right to expect.
We are not casting blame; there is plenty to go around. Rather, we are calling attention to how a lack of planning results in reducing the safety of the residents of the African American community.
Some people feel that the Black community has been marginalized to the extent that Black lives are not of value, that Black lives do not matter, and by the silence of those who should be saying that all Black lives matter, a dangerous element in this city exposes that Black lives cannot or will not be protected. Let us pray that that assumption is incorrect and that there are plans for safety for the African American community in Minneapolis.