|Edwards is on the right-hand side.|
Let's get one thing out of the way first: I generally do not like personal tit-for-tat arguments via blogging. This is why I try to keep my blog focused on issues instead of personalities. But every once in a while, something so boneheaded, so egregious comes along that it just cannot be left uncontested.
That's precisely what happened today, when I picked up the Star Tribune article about the near-riot at the Haywood Eaton vigil. (Links go to JNS, since the Strib links often go dead after a while. The Strib article is reprinted in the comment section there.) In that article, Minneapolis activist Ron Edwards is quoted as saying...
...that the people in the community are tense over the situation because "the cops lost control of the situation."
Not me. I happened to be driving by on my way to Cub Foods, and saw police tape and a squadron of officers after everything had appeared to have calmed down. I'm still tense though. I'm tense because a year ago a young man was senselessly gunned down in my community over a petty argument. I'm tense because just like the person who brought a gun to Alisha Neely's funeral, the attendees of a supposed peace vigil apparently brought both their arguments and their armaments back into my community.
I'm tense because the people who gathered in the Hawthorn Crossings parking lot apparently had to bring along their alcohol for some public drinking, making the already dangerous combination of anger and firearms even more explosive. I'm tense because whether Eaton was a good kid or not, a young man cannot rest in peace when his vigil is marred by violent acts.
I am NOT tense, however, because the police supposedly lost control of the situation. When I went past, it was clear that they had gained control of the situation. I'm also calmed by the fact that the memorial (which unfortunately at this point is more likely to be a violence magnet than a memorial) has been removed.
|Note the different shade of green in the middle. That's spray paint.|
Most of all, I'm tense that Mr. Edwards appears to endorse, enable, or at least excuse such behavior with the final quote from the Strib article: "If friends wanted to have a memorial to remember him and at the same time call for peace, I think it's appropriate." (well, that part the Hawkman does agree with) "Obviously, because of the way the police reacted, I was wrong."
By all means, let's have these vigils to remember these young men and women--kids, even. But when we do, leave your vendettas and your guns at home. And maybe if leaders like Mr. Edwards preached accountability first, then we could say that the Haywood Eaton vigil was the last one we ever needed to go to.