A City in danger

Alexius Horatius/Wikipedia

America’s new version of Tombstone

As the level of gun violence in the Twin Cities continues to escalate, we see no real attempts to follow any of the many solutions proposed. The MSR last week had an article on fathers needing to talk to their sons. Jamil Jivana has recently written Why Young Men, about solutions to combat the rise in violence committed by young men of all races around the world. 

On Friday, July 12, 2019, gunmen walked into an upscale, CRAVE rooftop restaurant at Hennepin Avenue and 8th Street, in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. It’s the latest violence in our city.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo say they have a plan. As of the writing of this column, we are still waiting for the unveiling of their plan. Gunfire has become a new normal most nights and days. Our sister city of St. Paul, the state capital of Minnesota, is not far behind Minneapolis in violence and mayhem.

The violence that spilled into early Saturday morning, July 13, in downtown Minneapolis, reflects a dangerous pattern of planning and implementing violence. The rioting and confrontation between partygoers and law enforcement frightened both citizens and visitors going to downtown Minneapolis. The same weekend some 20,000 young people from 13 countries were holding a youth faith gathering at Vikings stadium.

I have warned about this. Predictions of both what is hoped for and what is hoped to be avoided reflect a decade of what some call the “new normal.” Leadership (community, government, corporate, profits and nonprofits, TV, radio and print) stepping away from this violence as “normal” reflects the decision to not recognize the homicidal mentality as “this too shall pass.” That this violence will thus subside, until, of course, the next time this now “normal” cycle circles back.

It was interesting to hear the comments of some who were interviewed by TV, cable, radio and print reporters and journalists, many offering a shell-shocked reflection of concern and fear of the “new normal” they have just lived through.

The event caused panic up high, on the upscale rooftop restaurant, as well as down on city streets, as leadership once again looked the other way, as if the carnage and chaos that erupted in the Twin Cities and surrounding metropolitan areas will self-contain and self-remove. 

Belief in the new normal prevents confronting the truth of a city’s violence that too often reminds us of TV and movie westerns of the wild west’s changing “normals,” as seen in such famous wild west place names as Northfield, Tombstone, Abilene, and Dodge City, including the famous outlaw criminals in early 20th century St. Paul.   

Then the shootings are gone. Until, of course, the next time. For some, being startled beyond anything imaginable showed up as a temporary interruption of what was to have been a beautiful rooftop experience of a great evening and what had been assumed to be a safe activity to enjoy.

It is a sad commentary when Minneapolis sounds like a movie based on a violent novel of a distant past. Where are the touted solutions, or is their missing also part of the long-wondered question: why has no organization, agency, person or leader asked about the solutions suggested in my 2002 book, my 16 years of columns since 2003, and the over 50 solutions on my Minneapolis Story website?

Stay tuned.