(stock photo - no affliation to MAD DADS)
Readers of this blog are probably all too familiar with the albatross of our community that has reared its ugly head far too much this summer. Violence. Gun Violence. Youth Gun Violence.
After indirectly experiencing one of the shootings mentioned here in this article, I was prompted to spur a squeaky wheel campaign by urging northsiders to contact any and all elected officials who might have some jurisdiction over north Minneapolis.
Here is what I wrote:
July 1, 2010
To: Governor Pawlenty, Mayor Rybak, Chief Dolan, All Minneapolis City Councilmembers, All Hennepin County Commissioners, State Senator Higgins, State Reps Champion and Mullery, Sheriff Stanek, Inspector Martin, Lt. Heimerl:
I am asking each and every one of you to respond to me regarding the levels of violence occurring in my community. You each are paid to represent and serve me and my neighbors and we need to hear from you, please.
In my north Minneapolis neighborhood on Monday night, there were seven people shot within seven hours within an approximate 15 to 20 square block radius.
As you all are well aware, I am sure, this years homicide numbers are much higher than the decrease we had last year. (Commentary added: I've now learned the homicide rate is 271% higher than last year)
In addition to those terrible incidents mentioned above, there are an almost uncountable number of other urban terrorism incidents such as windows being broken or shot out with rocks or pellet guns every week, in a wide spread pattern.
The good, decent, taxpaying neighbors are being terrorized on their own streets. They don't have to travel to Iraq or Afghanistan to risk their lives, it is happening right at the spot where they lay their head in the land of the free, home of the brave.
If this was occurring in other areas of Minneapolis, Hennepin County or the State of Minnesota, I know there would be OUTRAGE and IMMEDIATE law enforcement attention thrown at the problem and no one would sleep until those good people were reassured and placated.
Well, there are good people, tax paying citizens who need protection now from this violence. We can not continue to be quiet as our neighborhoods become a jungle of urban terrorism. I can not believe that if similar incidents were occurring in Kenwood or Linden Hills they would be allowed to continue without direct action by the local authorities and elected officials.
North Minneapolis has been neglected for too long in the area of active crime fighting and greater police presence.
We have two more long months of summer to endure with this level of violent crime occurring nightly. We can not sit in our yards, allow our children out to play, or even feel safe parking our cars in front of our homes. This is an injustice to all of us that live in north Minneapolis. We are all property tax payers, but what services are we getting for these funds?
We have been told in meetings we attend that fighting crime IS a priority for north Minneapolis. However, we, as citizens are not seeing any of those efforts. Instead we wake up to headlines in the newspaper of record, Star Tribune that there were seven shootings in seven hours in north Minneapolis. That is if we have not been personally affected by those shootings, like I was last Monday night. Our property values have already shrunk, and headlines like the one above will keep anyone from considering moving to north Minneapolis. With the number of empty homes we already have, how much more in property taxes will we have to pay for people that are fed up with the crime and violence and just move, or worse, rent to anyone they can find?
Each and every day that I am driving around my neighborhood I see drug deals, hookers meeting up with johns, stolen property being sold in the open, large gatherings and public disturbances, littering, boom cars, people walking down the middle of the street. It's like the land of the lawless. If you are short on revenue, just come here and fine these criminals and you will generate enough revenue to be able to hire more police who can actually keep our streets safe and fight bigger crime.
Bring in more police, more sheriff deputies, heck, bring in the National Guard! Keep our people safe!
I know for sure if seven people were shot in Windom or Linden Hills or Wayzata or Apple Valley you would not even blink at the idea of declaring a state of emergency and bringing in U.S. Soldiers! What makes north Minneapolis less deserving of public safety?
Please respond to me so that I can share it with the neighbors that I am copying on this letter. I will share any and all responses, and I will share if there is NO response.
Thank you for your time and attention,
I urge anyone reading this now to contact these elected officials. Email is often the most convenient. Tell them a personal story how this has affected you. Tell them any ideas or requests you may have. Tell them you aren't going to allow this to be status quo for our community, when we all know good and well if this happened in some other community there would be a declaration of emergency. Tell them whatever you would like to tell them - just TELL THEM!
Here is a list of email addresses you can copy and paste into your email system:
email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org;
If you'd like to copy and paste your "call to action" email in the comments section here, please do, just be sure to give me some indication as to who you are, you know we are on troll extermination around here!
I will share the responses I've received in follow-up posts.