Gov. Walz says he can control the weather but can’t do anything about crime

A couple of years ago I asked if Gov. Tim Walz was a Canute. This was a reference to the 11th century king of England, Denmark and Norway, Cnut the Great, who, legend has it, went to the beach to tell the sea to retreat and ended up with wet feet.

At that time, Gov. Walz had just announced his plans to introduce stricter emissions standards for cars, trucks and SUVs in Minnesota as a measure to fight global warming. “If you want to drive your F-150 to take your ice house out to the lake, continue to do that,” Gov. Walz said when he announced the policy, “But we’re going to also make sure that there’s ice on that lake in January.”

Of course, the idea that the governor of Minnesota can control the planet’s weather like some Bond villain is no less ridiculous than the idea that Cnut could tell the sea what to do. But what makes Gov. Walz’ statement even more bizarre is that when he is asked about things he does have some ability to influence, he throws up his hands and says it’s just one of those things.

Violent crime is up 19 percent in Minneapolis over the average for the same period in 2015-2019. Research shows that a reduction in the quantity of policing in the city is a large part of the cause of this. It follows, and research shows, that more police reduce crime and violence.

And yet, when Gov. Walz was asked recently about this explosion of violent crime, he said “It’s happening everywhere, and we need to find answers.”

The difference in attitude is striking. When faced with a problem he has no ability whatsoever to control, he is all decisive and costly — if utterly futile — action. When faced with a problem he actually can do something about, he waves his hands. The residents of Minneapolis need him to do better.