Sunday, April 02, 2006

Which Straw Is The Last?

The Michael Zebuhr murder was the "last straw".

Or was it?

It certainly should have been. It was a wanton, savage, and unnecessary killing of an innocent human by a vicious criminal (who remains on the loose, by the way). The Minneapolis Uptown area residents and business owners reacted with fear and some anger. The crime resonated across Minnesota, as well as across the country, particularly in Mr. Zebuhr's home state.

This would be it, we thought. Minneapolis Mayor Rybak would step down from his position as mayor, reeling from his abject failure in providing leadership and assuring safety for his citizens. There would be calls for reform throughout the city as the current liberal administration was exposed as helpless and incapable of providing a safe environment in which people could live, work, and play without fear of harm. Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar would understand that her mission failure would scuttle her plans for the U.S. Senate, and that she would withdraw from the race.

But none of that happened.

And now another murder of an what appears to be an innocent citizen has taken place right in the heart of the other ground zero of entertainment, the Block E area of Minneapolis. A 31 year old man from Minnetonka went to Minneapolis for entertainment, and will never go home.

Is this latest savagery the last straw?

Perhaps this story was too big to ignore, but I give kudos to the Red Star for putting the Block E killing on the front page of the deadtree edition, above the fold.

Here's why I have little hope for reform with the current administration:

Grabarski [President and CEO of the Downtown Council] said the cameras alone have helped police arrest a large number of individuals for criminal acts, but he says it's still not enough. "None of that can still make up for the fact that we are 30 to 40 officers short downtown," he said.

At a news conference Saturday afternoon, Rybak said: "This is not about more police on the streets. We have too many people with too many guns, and until you get at that problem, you can have a thousand officers on the street and it won't make a difference. That's a reckless statement to make."
Here's the age-old liberal mantra of blaming the guns. For perspective, here is a 1997 article by Knight Ridder News Service reporter Lori Montgomery: "BROKEN WINDOWS: How a theory shook the foundations of law enforcement and helped heal a city". The article is interesting, because it describes a robber in New York City who had pulled off 70 robberies by "following people into elevators and robbing them with a knife".

That's knife, not gun.

Guns aren't the problem, Mr. Mayor. Criminals are the problem. If you take away guns, they'll use knives, cars, bats, sticks, chairs, lamps, hatchets, or whatever they can. And until you realize that, there is no hope for the city.

You've got a criminal problem. There is a culture of crime. The criminals are clearly not afraid to do what criminals do. Guns are not the issue.

It's time to consider alternatives, Mr. Mayor. Here's a National Review article on James Q. Wilson's Broken Windows theory. Try that, try something else, but the status quo is going to get us killed.

Was Friday night's murder the "last straw"?

Brian "St. Paul" Ward has a thoughtful piece at Fraters Libertas about the unchecked metro crime problem: "Lost Twin Cities".

Mitch Berg also takes note with the best title yet: "US Out Of Minneapolis".