A dangerous pattern in public safety
The “Don’t Snitch!” theme that arose five years ago in the Eastern United States (Baltimore, Philadelphia, and other large eastern cities) showed up in Los Angeles, and is now in the Twin Cities, creating a devastating effect on our communities’ ability to deal with crime, murder and mayhem, and creating a devastating effect on solving homicides and other crimes and assaults in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
In a one-week period two weeks ago, seven people of color and one White were murdered, five in Minneapolis, three in St. Paul (nine during the same week in Chicago). Their ethnicity, in order by the level of violence: African American, Latino, Somali, and White. In seven of the murders, people told police, “We know nothing. We’re not talking. I don’t want to be a snitch.” This anti-snitch “philosophy” prevents justice for loved ones, past, present and future, as withholding information regarding acts of violence creates cold cases, increasing the heartbreak.
As police talked to witnesses, they were confronted with the “no snitch” theme. A 17-year-old African American was shot outside a Northside church and then followed into the church and shot again, left to die. A young man sitting in a car waiting for his father to come back is shot through the head. The shootings continued as Hispanics were shot to death and left to die in an alley in South Minneapolis and two young African Americans were shot to death in St. Paul.
This dangerous “no snitch” pattern has severe consequences to all who live in communities of color. Again, we ask, where’s the plan? How can we confront massive numbers of guns on the street, although some violent acts have been carried out with knives, hammers, and other instruments of violence, adding to the communities’ heartbreak?
The doctrine of silence really hits home when it is one’s own loved one or friend who becomes victim of the carnage that is in lock step with the silence. This is a frightening fact: far too many are either comfortable with acts of violence and death or are too scared to speak up, causing our communities to suffer.
It is not acceptable! It cannot be acceptable! It should not be tolerated!
The “I’m watching out for me and mine,” and “I’m not going to get involved” attitudes must change. A violent outcome came to a minister whose church had been violated with a murder, causing him to suffer the pain of shattering his confidence that humanity is still important, that concerns, values, and righteousness are still a part of the religious doctrine of courage.
We have become a society blind to values so many were taught, and were raised to respect and to practice. But there is a problem tonight in the Twin Cities that must be addressed with a sense of urgency or we will continue to suffer the casualties of the silence of indifference and fear.
We must review “Formulas of Peace” of non-violence to deal with the elephant in the room that liberals want to ignore that make it harder for Blacks to succeed: many government policies hurt Black Americans. Even before minimum wage began, Black unemployment rate was lower than Whites. Before the War on Poverty, Black advancement was far greater. U.S. murder rates before 1960 were significantly lower, causing us to ask why so many Black problems are self-inflicted.
What joint community — police group — will develop a plan to address this elephant?