Friday, August 26, 2011

Reflections on Recent Shootings

Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, above video from Kare 11, video after the jump from EvenToddlers51 on Youtube.

First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the recent violence, and to their families and loved ones.  I can't imagine what they must be going through.  At a neighborhood meeting last night, residents spoke about how the spate of violence has rocked our community.  People don't feel safe in some of the most basic situations.  When neighbors see kids out on bikes, they are scared - either for the kids or worried one of them might have a gun.  Seeing our youth outside on bikes should be something we look forward to instead of something that causes fear.

There are other posts I plan on writing here on North by Northside, but it seems out of place to go about those posts without at least acknowledging the series of shootings this week.  A few thoughts...

There's something that strikes at the core of a community when our children are subject to these atrocities.  I'll do whatever I can to help address this issue, including working closely with neighbors and police/city partners around the escalating problems Hawthorne has seen along 4th St N.  I'll blog about these things when appropriate, both to share information and give people a forum where discussions can happen.  What I won't do, however, is put out a story or a post if I have nothing unique or significant to offer.

I also reject the false choice I have seen others put forth when criticizing our elected officials for promoting amenities in our neighborhood instead of addressing issues like violent crime or tornado relief.  That's not to remove accountability from anyone; rather, I acknowledge that our mayor and council can work on more than one issue at a time.  We can certainly view their actions through the prism of wondering how something might affect youth violence, but let's realize that we can work on multiple issues.  In fact, adding amenities like rain gardens or boulevard plantings often results in youth employment in north Minneapolis.

Let's keep in mind that violent crime is down in north Minneapolis from last year, and that's part of a years-long downward trend.  Those trends are of no comfort to people directly affected, of course.  And in no way should the reassurance of a downward trend be mistaken for accepting current levels of gun and youth violence.  But these shootings do not define our community.  They are hopefully an aberration that we as a community can work past.

Finally, I am reminded of the words of Tariq Jahan, a father who lost his son in the riots in Britain, who pleaded with his community, "Why are we doing this?  I lost my son.  Step forward if you want to lose your son.  Otherwise, calm down."


  1. Racist comment rejected. Just because I'm allowing a place for anonymous comments doesn't make this a free-for-all.

  2. 6 paragraphs and you didn't actually SAY anything. What is it you want to say? Thugs need to stop being thugs, that should pretty much do the trick.

  3. Here's where you're wrong, Anon 5:06: Six paragraphs and all I did was post a youtube clip of somebody else saying thugs need to stop being thugs.

    Seriously though, I wrote this piece because I have several other posts in the queue that are more lighthearted. But it would have felt out of place to write those without at least acknowledging the shootings and their devastating impact. So it wasn't exactly a master treatise, but it's the best I had at the time.

  4. Minors need to be prosecuted for violating curfew so minors will stop running the streets getting into trouble. Good citizens need to be very conscious of when the curfews start and make phone calls the minute curfew hits, calling in groups of minors violating curfew.

  5. It's not just curfew! Here is an example of what is wrong-

    This morning we awoke to find a Case containing a Sawsall on our curb. Even though we have no illusions that any type of CSI type of investigation would take place; we very carefully brought it into our porch and called 911 to report the stolen property. I told 911 that I had found a case with some power tools in it and that I would like to turn them over to the police. He hesitated for a moment and then said "Is this something you could drop off at the precinct so we don't have to send a patrol out?"

    WTF? Another example of self-service law enforcement.

    God forbid that a squad might be patrolling in my neighborhood some time that day and take the time to recover evidence and information of stolen property indicative of a nearby break in. We had gunshots 2 nights ago, a murder and shooting 1 month ago, and numerous shootings in the last year.

    This wasn't a purse or a pair of eyeglasses that slipped out of someones possession. This was an item that must have been obviously pilfered from a truck or garage in the area and the complete lack of concern regarding who, where, how, when, or a physical description of the property was baffling.

    I won't be able to get it down there for some time" I stated. "What if someone reports the theft, don't you want more information about it this morning?"

    "No, whenever you get around to it will be fine".

    It was obvious that Law enforcement had little concern about investigating this theft and even less care if the rightful owner ever got his property back.

    If the criminals know this (as I am sure they do), where is the deterrent to stop petty crime from escalating into violent behaviors?