Political dangers for Minneapolis officials
An eerie silence has settled over our Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, a silence shattered only by all too often incidents of gunfire and general mayhem. January through April: over 100 people have been shot, wounded and/or killed, with 40 in April. My annual question: What will be done to ward off a hot summer?
The future seems needlessly bleak for families attempting to raise children with a sense of comfort and safety. Grievances, whether real or perceived, become real with violence met with violence. Violence becomes the model for our young who then grow up to be violent, as too many see community violence and shootings as normal.
Over two weeks ago, six people were gunned down in North Minneapolis in a 10-hour period, three blocks from the Fourth Precinct. There is enough blame to go around for everyone — White and Black, private and government sectors, churches and nonprofits, parents and neighbors, activists and the inactive. Organizations and leaders of our neighborhoods and city must go beyond recording acts of violence and put in place meaningful operational plans for increasing the safety of our community.
We have had discussions during this legislative session about surpluses of money and jobs and yet silence about the growing number of people shot and unemployed. If not for the ability to rush victims to medical center triages, the number of DOAs (dead on arrival) would be 50 percent greater.
Why do we let our streets become scary and dangerous? In the 1990s we were “Murderopolis.” Today we are “Dodge City,” with North Minneapolis becoming the Minnesota version of “someplace” in the Middle East. With the exception of this column and this paper, the 4th estate remains frighteningly silent about this violence, practicing unacceptable journalism.
For 10 years I’ve asked for a plan in writing for protecting and securing safety for the streets of North Minneapolis. Was one developed after the occupation siege of the Fourth Precinct? Is there a plan for dealing with North Minneapolis residents and young people under a near state of siege, where gun battles and injuries are commonplace?
We have much to be proud of: the opening of a new Vikings stadium, hosting Super Bowl 2018, hosting Final Fours, contributing to the economic growth of our cities and the new jobs that come with it. When do we develop pride in our neighborhoods by developing plans to deal with the silence about the hopelessness and despair expressed by our young people? Will we be proud of enacting successful plans or watching our bad chickens come home to roost?
Our young “hear” the silence about their lack of hope and change and wonder why there are no plans regarding education, training, jobs and a business environment to help make them happen? Will plans be for leaders (their next election/appointment/promotion) or citizens (schools, including student graduation, roads and rails and the economic development and jobs they create, housing, medical care for young and old, and public safety)?
We can do this. Let us do this. Let us stop acting like a third-world country, banana republic or city that has abandoned governance and instead serve the present and protect the future. Without such plans put into action, our young will deliver the political dangers. Without putting plans in action, we invite the erosion of our civilized aspects that we claim are so dear and precious to us.
There is a war on the streets of our city. It is time for real plans, real action. If not, God help us as a people.