Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gangs: Not Just For Big Cities Anymore

One of the themes frequently explored on Rambix and the Red Star is the proliferation of gangs in the Twin Cities suburbs and outlying areas. St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario, whose heart often bleeds for misunderstood criminals, writes about the gang presence in Northfield, MN, location of local liberal-magnet and former home of the late Paul Wellstone, Carleton College (h/t Rambix reader Indy R): "Northfield: cows, colleges — and gangs".

Gangs in Northfield? Gangs and the lure of gangs are everywhere — metro, suburban and rural areas. Some even have their own Web sites...

The city of 18,000-plus is attractive for several reasons. Like St. Paul in the 1920s, Northfield serves as an accessible haven of sorts for gang members fleeing from cops in the Twin Cities area. Smith notes they have also identified gang members from Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Detroit.

"It has largely been a homogenous population, but in recent years it has become diverse enough for people to come here and sort of blend in and hide,'' Smith of his community.

The most active ethnic gangs in Rice County are the Norteños and Sureños, rivals and offshoots of mostly Chicano and Mexican prison gangs established decades ago in California and the Southwest.
This immediately begs the question: how many are illegals? At least some, according to Rosario:

If the townsfolk and their elected leaders were asleep at the switch or ignorant of this issue, they got an undeniable wakeup call two years ago. A nationwide sweep targeting members of the notorious MS-13 gang bagged 24 here in Minnesota. Eleven of them, Smith pointed out at the meeting, came from the Northfield area. Those who were undocumented residents were ultimately deported.
This would be an obvious arguement for proactively deporting illegal aliens, but most Republican leaders are too cowardly to go there. Yes, I know, many illegals are good, hardworking people, but I place a higher value on the rule of law and protecting U.S. citizens from the likes of MS-13 and the Surenos.

The Norteños, or Northerners, are based mostly in Faribault, a slightly larger city in Rice County that has had a more entrenched gang threat in recent years, according to Angela Brewer, a veteran Rice County probation officer. The Sureños are increasingly making Northfield a home base.

The rivalry has led to several assaults and other violent confrontations in recent months, most of them involving juvenile members. Brewer noted that gang "tagging" — painting gang signs or symbols on commercial and residential properties — is on the increase in both cities.
And what do all the Northfield liberals think about this?

Those in attendance at the gang seminar were mostly members of the city's mentoring council, which recruits adults and students from nearby St. Olaf College to serve as mentors for "at-risk'' youths.

"We don't call them that,'' said Linda Otto, who directs a mentoring program in the city. "We call them 'at the brink of success.' ''

Such liberal-speak will get you nowhere. The answer, of course, is crushing them mercilessly and tolerating zero gang activity.