Gang Fight at the Mall of America

This afternoon gang violence erupted inside the Mall of America. Details are still sketchy, but apparently members of rival gangs got into an altercation in or outside of the Nike store at the mall. One or more of the participants pulled guns, and a number of shots were fired. Apparently at least one person was wounded, but no one stayed around to talk to the police. As of this moment, there is no report of an arrest.

This video shows the first of what I understand to be the beginning of the gunfire.

This one shows normals fleeing the central entertainment area after gunshots were heard. Many of them are young children. Newspapers will report that the only victim was a gang combatant, but these people are all victims too. As are the store owners and employees at the Mall.

The incident prompted a massive law enforcement response. There is a Bloomington Police Department precinct station under the building. I once had the opportunity to tour it as a member of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Community Advisory Board. It is an impressive operation and they take security seriously. As they should: the MOA has long been seen as a possible target of terrorism, and Stephen Hunter wrote a good novel about an Islamic terrorist attack there.

What happened today was less serious, but it is impossible to overstate the impact of this sort of lawlessness on the affected businesses and on the quality of life of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people.

One more thing: one of the Mall’s problems is that it is a stop on the local light rail system. Few people ride the trains, and many fewer pay to ride them. They are a magnet for low-level crime and generally disgusting behavior. Among other things, the trains funnel criminal elements into the Mall of America. The Twin Cities metro area would be vastly better off if the entire light rail system, which serves hardly any useful purpose, were dismantled.

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