Should We Be Importing Gang Violence?

Let’s start by acknowledging that in the past, we have, indeed, imported gang violence–the Sicilians are an obvious example. Still, that doesn’t make it a good idea. And shouldn’t we expect to learn from experience?

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports discreetly on a recent spasm of violence in Minneapolis: “East African community reeling from weekend violence, demands solutions.” Yeah? From whom?

After the latest spasm of gang violence, Minneapolis’ Somali residents and business owners on Monday stepped up their calls for help from City Hall and police headquarters to help curb the senseless shootings that they say too often go overlooked.

The article provides zero evidence that such crimes are “overlooked,” and ample evidence to the contrary.

On Friday alone, five men of Somali descent were shot in separate attacks, one fatally.

Police and community members pinned the blame for the bloodshed on an ongoing feud between Cedar-Riverside neighborhood gangs like 1627 and Madhiban With Attitude (MWA) and their rivals, the Somali Outlaws, whose territory includes the area around Karmel Mall. Friday’s shootings were a repeat of a familiar pattern: a shooting on one gang’s turf is usually followed hours, if not minutes later by an “eye-for-an-eye” response so as not to appear weak, community members say. Two shootings last month are also blamed on the conflict.

It is a familiar story. The Strib’s story contains a lot of the usual palaver about the need for police-community cooperation, but the more basic question is why such violence is occurring in the first place. That is only hinted at. One thing we know for sure is that the “community” needs more money from the government. Also, more Somali policemen. But there is a problem there:

Some residents shied away from talking about the gang violence because they worry that, much like with the upcoming murder trial of fired Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor for the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk Damond and the recent high-profile prosecutions of young east African men bent on joining extremist groups in the Middle East and Africa, the Somali community will ultimately be blamed for the bad actions of a few.

God forbid that that should happen! Still, couldn’t members of the “Somali community” begin taking responsibility for the massive social pathologies we see there? Maybe that is too much to ask, and certainly there is no political pressure in that direction. Still, Somalis are no crazier than previous immigrant groups. They want safety on their streets, and puzzle over why America, with its seemingly magical wealth–our society is not dominated by violent conflict among warlords–can’t provide it:

Frizell said his officers have been trying to educate community elders frustrated by the nuances of “the judicial system,” and explain why someone arrested for a violent crime could later be released to “wreak havoc on the streets.”

Good question! Maybe the Somalis are beginning to catch on.

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