Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Have You Been Mugged In Minneapolis Today?

Hat tip to Octaneboy for yet another Minneapolis mugging story:

Steve Marsh, who is described on his blog as an associate editor for Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, was mugged outside of Kowalski's grocery store in Uptown, Minneapolis on 3/27/06. This is less than 10 days after Clemson University student Michael Zebuhr was slaughtered after leaving an Uptown restaurant, of which I've written about extensively.

One incident ended in tragedy, and the other ended with a better outcome, but with a likely loss of the victim's sense of security. The troubling commonality between these crimes is that they both happened in "prime time", both involved very innocent activities, and both could have happened to any of us.

Mr. Marsh had just returned from Peru, and was out to pick up some food:

Got back from Peru yesterday, and in a sitcom-ish bit of twist, I got mugged in front of Kowalski's last night. Jesus, right? A guy survives the dirtiest favelas of Lima, not to mention the dodgiest two-mile-high cocaine-clogged dance clubs of Cuzco, only to be robbed in Uptown. It was the first time I've ever been mugged, and it was an interesing existential checkup. In that situation you find out just how much of a wuss you really are. It really was emasculating and whiteboy-izing and just generally humiliating. It felt like airballing in a pickup game with the brothers at the Y.
There's a lot of people getting their "first muggings" in Minneapolis these days. Mr. Marsh can take heart in that he's got a lot of company in the Minneapolis crime victim pool. Thankfully he was not injured physically.

I sat down in my new Peruvian llama jacket at one of those iron mesh patio tables just outside the door in order to drink my POM and eat my tuna fish sandwich. About halfway through, I felt a pair of hands press gently on my shoulders and heard, "Hey, man, how you doin'?" I thought it was a friend welcoming me back from Peru. I run into people all the time at Kowalski's. But then he said, "No, don't look back. Just stay there."
Criminals prey on the unsuspecting. They take advantage of your vulnerability. Many urban dwellers are alert for crime, but you can't be on 100% of the time. And after all, who would expect to get mugged outside an upscale grocery store at a reasonable hour?

Do you think they're media savvy enough to realize that there are some scared white people in Uptown right now? People that might be willing to hand over a wallet without having to show them a gun?) So this guy rifled through my llama coat’s pockets and took my wallet out and handed it to another black guy that appeared in my line of sight. "Where the money at, man?" this new guy asked.
Yes, criminals seem to hold the advantage at this time. By the way, the game has changed. You're no longer safe just giving up your money. In theory, this means if you are threatened, even with a gun, you may have to fight back. Of course, that's an individual decision, but the stakes are now higher.

The resoultion of this crime is interesting. Some criminals don't expect you to fight back. Maybe that's a small advantage the good people have.

At that moment, I turned around, pushed both of them out of the way and made two long strides toward the electronic doors. They stood around 5'–8" and I looked down at both of them. In that instant, both their eyes got big, like in the "racial" comic relief moment of old black-and-white movies. They probably didn't expect the violent agility of this big white guy rumbling down the lane at them, Mark Madsen style.
It gets a little worse, because these guys also hit someone up at the Lunds store a few blocks away, and appear to remain on the loose. This outcome was good, but maybe the next time it doesn't turn out so well.

It's a bad scene in Minneapolis, folks. The Mayor is nowhere to be found. The police chief is fleeing to Texas, and the criminals are running wild.

Good luck out there.