Two Lessons (from this anti-police movement)

in #america3 months ago
  1. Don't get caught up in delusional ideological thinking.
  2. We need to replace a lessened police presence with something else.

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“People won’t be robbed at gunpoint, because we’ll have started changing systems so people won’t feel the need to rob at gunpoint,” Miller said.

This is from a resident of the Powderhorn neighborhood in Minneapolis, quoted in this WCCO story about those who've made an agreement to not call police--even when violence is occurring.

Given the context of current times, one can understand why this person feels this way. I also agree with the general idea of prevention instead of reaction. The problem is that this thinking is being placed upon this particular resident's here and now. The Powderhorn neighborhood is experiencing high crime and is now home to a large homeless camp. Later in this story, another resident speaks up:

“We have shootings over here all the time,” said Michelle Hall. “That’s all I’ve been hearing is shootings.”

Much of society's problems are explained by overreactions--especially these days where they seem to be magnifying in frequency and volume. Conservatives critical of the media deem it "the enemy of the people". Acceptance of alternative sexual lifestyles has included involving children in sexual activity. Now today, in reaction to the history of police abuse, many in Minneapolis are calling for their elimination.

I assume when all these issues settle, we'll come out in a better place. But there's a lot of harm done in these overreacting adjustments--often the result of blind adherence to a narrow ideology or movement.

In the case of this anti-police movement, white advocates such as those in this story say they're taking their stand to help protect their fellow people of color, as well as the many homeless individuals now in their neighborhood. But activists in the Minneapolis black community like Raeisha Williams have been open about how much they dislike the movement to defund the police. The reasons are straightforward--the ones who suffer most when security is lax is the urban black community. (And by most, we mean over 100 people hit by gunfire in just the past month.) Also, Native American homeless advocate James A. Cross interviewed in my film about the 2018 Minneapolis homeless camp plainly stated his desire for more police there.

But the person quoted in this story--and the many thinking like her--remain focused on the single idea that police are bad for black people and homeless people.

This isn't about changing the minds of those caught up in such overreactive thinking and movements. It's about taking an objective view of these situations, learning from them (including the wisdom from these movements), and applying these insights where we can in our lives/communities.

Here in Minneapolis, policing is necessarily changing. And today, something needs to immediately replace any such void that lessened policing leaves behind. Look for an announcement from me soon about an online event I'm having with some Minneapolis community leaders to help address this summer's surge in violence.


Soon after reading this WCCO story last night, I saw on social media this update from South Minneapolis Crime Watch & Information 3rd Precinct

Robbery at gunpoint
Two victims pistol whipped
E 31st St and 12th Ave S
#MplsCrime
22:08

This is right in the Powderhorn neighborhood, just one block north of the park hosting that large homeless camp. I recalled the woman's quote in the story:

“People won’t be robbed at gunpoint, because we’ll have started changing systems so people won’t feel the need to rob at gunpoint,” Miller said.

Two Lessons:

  1. Don't get caught up in delusional ideological thinking.
  2. We need to replace a lessened police presence with something else.

Stay tuned.

See the WCCO story here: https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/07/03/we-dont-want-to-put-our-neighbors-at-risk-powderhorn-neighbors-rethink-calling-police/

(Oh, and 3. Have an awesome July 4.)

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