Crime, violence and the resulting decay of our communities

Buried on page 6 of today’s Star Tribune were two stories that documented violent events over the weekend involving large groups of teens from the north metro. Find links to the stories here and here

First on Saturday evening, prior to the Park Center vs. Wayzata High School basketball game at the Target Center in Minneapolis, a “fight” occurred in the concourse leading into the arena. Video of the “fight” posted on Twitter by @CrimeWatchMpls depicts what is becoming commonplace — a large group of teens assaulting a single victim by punching, kicking, stomping, and beating the victim until they are unconscious. Hardly a fight. Find a link to the video and comments here.

“The violence in the concourse was unacceptable. My wife and daughter were knocked down by the mob. Our friends’ kids who sat next to us at the game said they did not ever want to come to the Target Center ever again. Super disappointing @MSHSL.”  Twitter comment on @CrimeWatchMpls

It is surprising more people haven’t been killed as a result of these incidents — many involving kicks and stomps to the head of unconscious or defenseless victims. It will be an interesting test of the resolve our criminal justice system if someone does die. By the standard set in the Memphis police officer involved death of Tyre Nichols, everyone involved in the incident, no matter their level of involvement, should expect to be charged equally with murder — right?

Then on a beautiful Sunday evening, gunfire erupted in the parking lot of the Brooklyn Center Girl Scout River Valley’s Service Center where a large group of teens had gathered for unknown reasons. At least six teens were shot and received treatment at North Memorial hospital. None of the injuries were reported to be life-threatening. Investigators found more than 50 expended casings that had been fired from at least three different firearms at the scene of the shooting, according to an information release from the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Retaliation is almost a given — sadly.

There have been no arrests reported from either incident.

These incidents come days after the Brooklyn Center Walmart Superstore announced it will be closing in April due to continued “underperformance.” A Walmart doesn’t underperform — unless of course it is the victim of repeated thefts and other criminal acts that drive paying customers away. Brooklyn Center police reported responding to over 6,000 calls for service to the Walmart in just the past five years. CCX news ran a story on the store’s closing, which can be found here

The closure of this Walmart due to crime and violence will have a significant impact on Brooklyn Center. Beyond the 350 jobs lost, the loss of the retailer will undoubtedly be followed by complaints of a “food desert” — exacerbated by recent closings of grocery stores in nearby north Minneapolis (also because of crime). Sadly, it’s just more evidence of the decaying effect crime and violence have on our communities.    

Violence in our communities has become far too commonplace in 2023. The violence has profound effects on all of us — not just those directly victimized. Our elected leadership must change course and adopt strong zero-tolerance responses before we slip even further into the hole. Unfortunately, many citizens have already given up — and who can really blame them?

“This is the new normal – and our @MinnesotaDFL leaders have absolutely no interest in changing it. The choice is sadly either to get used to it or move.”  Twitter comment on @CrimeWatchMpls.