Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Minneapolis Quagmire Continues

In Minneapolis, the weekend brought more shootings and violence, and for some reason only a few hardy souls ventured to Block E for entertainment, as the Red Star reports: "On edge around Block E" (front page, above the fold in the deadtree edition):

On most Friday nights, clubbers usually squeeze in shoulder-to-shoulder at the Lone Tree to dance to the Top 40 tunes in the upstairs bar. Tonight, most tables are empty as the peak hour of midnight approaches.
While Rankin doesn't think people should be afraid to party downtown, he welcomes a greater police presence.

"From a business standpoint, it made me pretty angry that the city kind of spun it," he says, referring to comments made by city leaders over the last week that downtown is safe. "They keep saying there isn't a problem. But there is. And they need to tell people they're going to do something about it."
The presence of undesireables has prevented Block E from being a venue for family-friendly entertainment, and the shooting a week ago was not the first serious crime to break out in the area. It is, however, the first highly publicized violence, and that has had significant ramifications. Even people who only occasionally follow the news have heard about this crime, and are talking about it.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Quagmire deepens.

KSTP Eyewitness News reports: "A deadly weekend in Minneapolis, two shootings, one fatal".

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - One day after Mayor R.T. Rybak and Gov. Tim Pawlenty held a summit to discuss fighting crime, Minneapolis police were investigating two new shootings.

Around 12:45 a.m. Saturday, police found a man lying on the sidewalk next to a SuperAmerica convenience store in the east Phillips neighborhood of south Minneapolis.

Garey Anthony Hannah Jr., 28, of Minneapolis, was shot multiple times and died at the scene. It was the 16th homicide in Minneapolis this year.
Yes, it's a high(er)-crime area of the city, but does that make this man's murder any less significant? Mr. Hannah , Jr. was not the only victim Saturday:

Across town, police were looking for another gunman from a shooting around 11:30 a.m. in north Minneapolis. The victim was shot once in the stomach. Police spokesman Ron Reier said the man was expected to survive.

There were no immediate arrests, and police said they didn't immediately know of a motive in either shooting.
Minneapolis City Councilman and long-time activist Don Samuels isn't pleased with the results of last week's meeting between Governor Pawlenty and Minneapolis city officials:

"I don't give a damn about 15 cops, I want long-term solutions," he said.

Samuels said he was angry with Pawlenty because he was not invited to Friday's meeting.

"I'm a black man, I'm a city council member, I live in the community," he said. "Why wouldn't he ask me?"

Samuels said fighting poverty is the real solution.

"Lift up the lower classes to equal status with the rest of his society," he said. "That's what we have to do, that's what we promised history we would do."
Mr. Samuels, blaming poverty for the actions of criminals is an assumption that will lead no solution. There are enough opportunities for any person to attain success in our society if they have the desire to do so. Unfortunately, there are too many people who refuse to become part of the culture of civility.

It's a free country, and all of us are blessed with free will. It's up to each of us how we use those gifts.

Poverty will always be with us, but criminal intent doesn't have to follow.