Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Upper midwest "wilding"?

Fellow blogger Peter Swanson of Swanblog reminded Rambix of a phenomenon of the late 1980's known as "wilding", in which groups of thugs would descend upon an innocent person and beat or kill them for fun. Ann Coulter wrote about the aftermath of the Central Park [New York] jogger case, which brought "wilding" into the mainstream, and struck fear into the hearts of vulnerable citizens everywhere.

Rambix has written about two recent egregious cases locally, one in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul, both of which could reasonably be called "wilding". As with the New York attack, the local wildings appear to have a racial component - in all cases black on white: "St. Paul bus stop beating - racially motivated?".

The media virtually ignored the Minneapolis beating, while the St. Paul crime had more coverage.

While viscious crime has escalated over the past year in the Twin Cities, our neighbor to the east has problems of its own, "Several Questioned in Milwaukee Beating".

MILWAUKEE (AP) - At least 15 young people dragged a motorist out of his car and kicked and punched him after he honked his horn to get them to move out of the street, police said.
This is a classic case of a "perceived slight", or a pretext for response. The victim innocently does what any normal person would do - alert people blocking his way to move. The thugs in the street are simply looking for trouble, and the honking is the pretext. If it wasn't honking, it would have been looking at them wrong, wearing the wrong colors, or just about anything.

So offended were the animals that they resorted to "wilding":

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A motorist who was kicked, punched and left alone in the street after honking at a group of people suffered severe head trauma and may not survive, police said.

Several people were questioned by detectives after police and city officials asked for the public's help in finding the assailants, believed to be between 16 and 23 years old. It was the latest in a string of mob beatings in the city since 2002.
The thugs turned to feral, animalistic behavior, as was the case in the Central Park "wilding":

A group of people surrounded McClain's vehicle after he honked at them because they were in the middle of the street, said police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz.

The assailants, thought to be between 16 and 23 years old, yanked him from the car, beat and kicked him, she said.

Witnesses said they saw some attackers climb on cars and jump on the victim's head.
Unfortunately, Milwaukee has been here before:

Milwaukee's inner city had a string of mob beatings last year, but the most famous case was that of Charlie Young, who was beaten by more than a dozen people, mostly young boys, in September 2002. They chased him through the streets and beat him to death on a porch.

Then on July 4, 2004, 54-year-old David Rutledge, a schizophrenic, was robbed
and beaten
and later died. Six teens were charged. One has been convicted, four had charges dropped when their confessions were ruled inadmissible and one is awaiting trial.

Four days after the attack on Rutledge, a 14-year-old boy was kicked, punched and hit in the head with a piece of lumber after he had exchanged words with a girl on a playground. She summoned older relatives, who allegedly beat the boy.

Two weeks after that, a Milwaukee man was beaten by a group of men after a girl in the neighborhood falsely accused him of indecently touching her.

And on July 29, 2004, a 16-year-old boy and his three brothers were beaten by a group armed with bats, bottles, sticks and socks stuffed with canned food, after someone with the victims called someone a derogatory term.
What civilized society would allow such behavior? Why are we allowing this to happen in our cities, or anywhere for that matter?

Minneapolis and St. Paul may not yet have reached the depths of depravity of some cities like Milwaukee, but they are making a vigorous run for it.

Where are our leaders? What say you Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar and Minneapolis Mayor Ryback? We know what Minneapolis Police Chief McManus has to say, but it's not comforting: "Doing right on safety downtown".

It's unfortunate that former police Sgt. Jim Kaju (Opinion Exchange, Dec. 19) feels unsafe in downtown Minneapolis just as we're hearing the opposite from those who live, work and shop in downtown.

In a September meeting, downtown businesses overwhelmingly told us that their employees and customers feel safer now than they did a year ago.
It's all relative, Chief. Rambix has documented the mayhem of nearly a year ago. If it's better now, it's not noticeable.

Our downtown is a vibrant hub of activity day and night, and I'm confident that we're taking the right steps and making the right innovations to keep downtown safe.
The "vibrant activity" is crime. Just ask the survivors of Thomas Dahl, for example, a family man beaten and killed for the offense of hanging out with friends in your fine city.

Look for the Rambix year-end roundup, then tell me, Chief, if citizens have reason to worry.