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A liberal mugged by reality

Mark Andrew is a prominent Minneapolis Democrat. He served as long as he wanted to as a Hennepin County (Minneapolis and inner-ring suburbs) Commissioner, from 1982 until he resigned from the Hennepin County Board in 1999. He served a term as chairman of Minnesota’s Democratic Farmer Labor Party in the mid 1990s. Last month he came in a distant second in a crowded field running for Minneapolis mayor, though it wasn’t for lack of trying. There might be a left-wing cause or canard that Andrew hasn’t supported in the course of a long public career, but I doubt it. He’s a liberals’ liberal.

Andrew is back in the news this month because he was assaulted last week in public at the Mall of America by two teenage girls, one 17 and one — Letaija Shapree Cutler-Cain — 18. They were protecting a teenage boy who had stolen Andrew’s iPhone off a table at the MOA Starbucks. The trio had been casing the Starbucks all afternoon to assess the potential for a robbery.

Andrew gave chase to the teenage boy who lifted his phone. As he followed, the girls jumped him and pulled out a baton with which to pummel him. “I’m going to kill you! Let me go or I’m going to kill you!” Cutler-Cain yelled as she dug her fingernails into his face. Andrew took nine stitches in his head as a result of the beating.

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The New York Daily News has a good article rounding up the facts of the story as of this past weekend. Yesterday Cutler-Cain made her first court appearance on charges arising from the incident and the 17-year-old was charged in juvenile court. KARE11 reports on Cutler-Cain’s court appearance here. I would like to know why the authorities aren’t moving to have the 17-year-old certified for prosecution as an adult, but that’s a story for another day. [Correction: A commenter notes that the authorities are seeking to have her certified for prosecution as an adult (story here).]

Andrew’s phone was recovered at the Mall. Where is the thug who lifted it from Andrew? Cherchez l’homme. That too is a story for another day.

However you look at it, this is an appalling story. The theft took place in broad daylight at a highly trafficked spot in Minnesota’s most highly trafficked mall. Andrew describes himself as a target because of his age, but, as I recall, Andrew is a tall, imposing man. He was nevertheless jumped by one girl while another beat him with a deadly weapon and Andrew was left to fend for himself. Perhaps real men don’t shop at the Mall of America, or patronize Starbucks, but that doesn’t exactly suffice for an explanation. Andrew says the patrons were too scared to help out. As it turns out, Andrew must have been the manliest man in the vicinity.

All this over an iPhone which, at best, might have a street value of a few hundred dollars. (Here is an article on the trade in stolen smartphones.) In all likelihood, however, wouldn’t the phone would have had the updated iOS7 operating system with security features making it more difficult for anyone but the owner to use the phone?

Irving Kristol famously described a neoconservative as a liberal mugged by reality. In Minnesota, however, the liberal’s not for turning. In the immediate aftermath of last week’s events, Andrew reverted to type. Andrew told the Star Tribune he would remain involved in the case and try to help his attackers.

“They’re damaged kids, and maybe they’re too far gone, but I think there’s redemption for everybody,” he said. “So we’ll try to find a way for them to get in a place where they can turn their lives around.” Prison would be perfect.

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