Friday, April 07, 2006

The Governor Takes Minneapolis To The Woodshed...

...Or so I hope.

KARE 11 reports on today's "summit" between Minneapolis police officers, city officials and Governor Tim Pawlenty: "More cops headed to Minneapolis streets".

There was a summit on Summit Avenue Friday afternoon between Minneapolis police officers, city officials and Governor Tim Pawlenty.

The topic of the meeting was violent crime in Minneapolis, in particular, the two recent killings of visitors to Minneapolis' Uptown and Downtown.

Friday's closed door meeting capped off a week in which the violence became politicized after the Governor questioned how the City of Minneapolis spends it's money.
Here's activist and State Rep. Keith Ellison from Thursday:

Ellison, echoing Mayor Rybak's comments from earlier in the week, suggested the city's police force has been depleted largely on account of 2003 cuts in state government grants known as Local Government Aid.

"The State Government is implicated in the Minneapolis crime problem," he added.

Ellison led a delegation of Minneapolis community leaders and lawmakers to the Governor's office where they delivered an invitation to the Governor to walk the neighborhoods of North and South Minneapolis.
And the governor's press secretary in indirect yet appropriate response:

Later the Governor's press secretary, Brian McClung, responded by saying the city seemed to lack leadership, "The last thing that Minneapolis needs is more excuses and a victim mentality. We need leaders, not whiners."
It appears no summit attendees were injured during the meeting.

Don Samuels, who is a nice guy, and really the only small ray of light on the Minneapolis City council, can also say some pretty naive things:

Samuels told KARE-TV, "The victims were random victims, but the perpetrators were not random. They were result of prevailing conditions in this city."

Samuels, who makes a habit of holding overnight vigils on murder scenes in his district, says he believes the added attention will in the end help all victims of violence.

"When people with authority and power begin to identity with victims because they are from the same background, the same educational level, the complexion, then they will institutionalize safety," said Samuels, "And that institutionalized safety will benefit everyone."
Does he even know if the criminals have even lived in Minneapolis very long? Is there a chance they have recently come from out of state, and are in fact products of a different city's "prevailing conditions"? Why don't we find out?

Is Mr. Samuels making excuses?

How about: They're just flat-out criminals, and we really don't care what their backgrounds were. Everyone knows it's wrong to kill. They killed anyway.

The relative contribution to society of the victims vs. the murderers is staggering. Mr. Zebuhr was a young Phd. student who brought a lot of brainpower to bear in his studies, and likely would have helped make this world a better place. His killers, by contrast, gave nothing to society - they only consumed. They were negative forces, who will now draw even more resources in prison.

What a shame and a waste.

And what was accomplished today at the summit?

"We want to join with partners with all of these law enforcement leaders to try to get 10 to 15 more police officers into the downtown areas and perhaps other areas," said Governor Pawlenty.

He pledged the use of transit police to help patrol downtown, concentrating on bus stops and transfer stations, which should free up Minneapolis police for other areas of the city.

"While no solution was reached today, I do believe the Governor does fully understand, and Governor we do very much appreciate that, your sense that we do need to continue to have officers on the street long term," said a diplomatic Mayor R.T. Rybak.