May 30, 2020: I have lived, worked and travelled a great deal in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area of over 3,000,000 people for most of the last 55 years, and I am not living in fear today, nor have I in the past. This is a time for all of us to open our eyes, especially those of us who are “white”, and there is an opening for us to do so. I highly recommend watching those talks about racism referred to in the original post (below), which you can do anywhere you are reading this. Overnight came a summary of the national scene, Finally Falling Apart, This moment is an opportunity, not a crisis. Yes, it requires change in attitudes and behaviors – our own. We’re up to it.
Wednesday I went down to the State Capitol Grounds to take photos of a monument I’d first noticed on Memorial Day. Here is one of the panels.
After the photo I drove over to the place where George Floyd was killed by police Memorial Day, 38th and Chicago Ave S in Minneapolis. An orderly crowd blocked the intersection. I got within half a block.
I returned home on Lake Street, passing by 27th and Lake, half a block from a restaurant very well known to me, Gandhi Mahal, on 27th, a half block south of Lake Street. Gandhi Mahal was a community gathering place; COVID-19 had closed it, as all restaurants in mid-March. I had to cancel a meeting scheduled there for April 15. I had frequently used it for dinner meetings in the past.
A couple of blocks earlier, about the corner of Lake and Minnehaha, I noticed some young people with signs beginning to gather at the corner. I didn’t realize at the time that nearby was the 3rd Precinct of the Minneapolis police department.
Last night we watched the fire rage in the Gandhi Mahal neighborhood on television. At this moment, I don’t know the fate of Gandhi Mahal; however the block literally across the street from it was consumed in flames when last I watched. [see update at the end of this post.]. This week has been a sickening time for me.
Minneapolis will continue to be dominant international news in the wake of the the George Floyd killing in broad daylight by Minneapolis police two days ago.
I wrote about it at this space Wednesday.
This morning an e-mail from my sister in New York: “My comment is very short. There are things that are just plain WRONG….this is one of them.”
There is nothing more to say at this moment, except to urge every reader to take the time, this weekend, to watch the six talks on American Racism, all linked within Wednesday’s blog. Please take a look again, or for the first time. Watch the talks.
Then reflect, and act. Where do YOU fit in?
POSTNOTE after my walk: I’m a creature of habit. After posting this blog, I glanced at the morning paper. Gandhi Mahal apparently wasn’t damaged. Most of the property damage was along Lake Street, not far from the restaurant and in the “Uptown” area about 3 miles west. Of course, as in any traumatic event, there is shock, and then infinite numbers of opinions, which leads to the very real dilemma left to any one who wasn’t there but has the responsibility of sorting things out. I have my opinion, you have yours. That’s all I’ll say for now, except to urge you to watch the six talks on Racism. Whatever your opinion, this is not an isolated incident in the history of our country.
Here’s an old graphic I like to use in similar situations. We’re beginning the “RECOIL-TURMOIL” phase.
UPDATE 1:15 pm. A friend just called to note that the GandhiMahal Facebook page announced that the restaurant was at minimum damaged by fire last night, though it is still not listed as a fire casualty in the paper. Here is the Star Tribune article. For those on Facebook, you can read more here.
The Minnesota Governors briefing and update late this morning was very useful in identifying the very complex nature of taking action in a crisis of the sort we witnessed overnight, including the opportunistic involvement of anarchists and looters (two specific and not necessarily related ‘groups’ who are unverifiable, and thus potentially ‘false flags’ by those seeking to blame someone). The Governor, who himself served 24 years in the Minnesota National Guard, and who was backed by people like the State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard and others, talked about assorted chains of authority and responsibility in a civil society, from local police and sheriff, to mayors, on and on and on. Nothing is ever as simple as it appears to be in a tweet, or a complaint. Yes, there were mistakes, and there will always be mistakes, but not willful.
Personally, I was witness to this kind of complexity very often in my day to day job years ago. What was initially presented as an absolute right/wrong dichotomy, etc., was never so clear, the closer one got to the actual situation, and actors. I’d simply advise everyone to be careful about a rush to judgement, and assessing blame, though it is very tempting.
COMMENTS (additional comments at end of post)
from Laura: Prayers for a city to be healed.
from Adam: I really appreciate the visual you shared. Quite insightful.
from Jermitt: Thanks for sharing your personal experience with us.
from Mary, who lives in the area: It is my library postoffice, Aldi’s, police station and bike tire pump.
from Darleen: Yes, the police officer is rightfully charged and the 3 officers with him or close to him would have been wise to tell him to stop as a compassionate request for human lifeI did not see the event the night it happened. I watched some of it today and did see the knee on the neck. The officer was out of order. The autopsy did not indicate that death was caused by strangulation. The trial will definitely be interesting.
from Fred: Thanks, as always, for your perceptive commentary. We just might be seeing the start of a “long hot summer”—late 1960s style. It is tragic. Our Dear Leader just offered a unifying statement noting that cities being hit are run by Democrats. I remember the night Dave and I took the wives to attend a dinner at Gandhi Mahal with you. It honored your German-author friend.