ANOTHER SENSELESS MURDER IN MINNEAPOLIS, WHO’S NEXT?

Beautiful 17 year old Alisha Neeley

The cold-blooded murder of a seventeen year old girl the other day brings this years murder total to 10. Obviously, for somebody who spent a large part of my life in the Washington DC area, 10 by March 4 sounds like a low number. But, Minneapolis had a total of 19 last year, and now it’s already over half way there after only 2 months. Unless something changes, with the warmer “murder” months to come, this could be a bad year for Minneapolis. What’s happened? Except for one, I believe, all the murders have been ethnic. The sad thing is most are black on black, asian on asian, or latino on latino. It’s a shame the city, the communities, the families, or the faith-based organizations are having so much trouble getting through to these culprits before they turn bad. I think the ethnic communities need to be more forceful in weeding out the bad apples. It seems after every murder, there is a vigil, then a protest, and then a rally to clean up the neighborhoods. It seems nothing really happens after this combination of events passes. This time, the death of Alisha Neeley, is a little more personal.

When I was a kid, Gramma and Grampa lived on the 3500 block of Humboldt Ave. North. I helped them move out of that house in 1973. It was a majestic house, on the highest point of the block. The yard was always perfect, Gramps was so proud of it. He had a large rose garden that was even featured in the Minneapolis Tribune picture magazine in the early 1960’s. It was a great neighborhood. The neighbors lived there for a long time, they all knew each other, they all kept meticulous care of their homes and yards. Pride shown through. There was the huge beautiful park less than a block to the north. It was a great time to live and visit in North Minneapolis. I am so ashamed and saddened by what has taken place there since. The proud sense of family is gone, the pride in home ownership is gone, and the beauty and safety of the neighborhood is gone. My grandparents would roll over in their graves if they saw what has happened to their beloved old home.

We were told last year the police have figured out how to solve the violent crime problem. They started working with the youth of the city to try to discourage them from following the path to gangdom. Violent crime was down, but they failed to tell you it was down all over the country. It might have been a glitch in the national graph showing the year by year growth of violent crime, but it’s back in Minneapolis, with a vengeance!

I love Minneapolis. It’s my favorite city in the United States. Except for the winters, it’s an ideal place to be. Minneapolis is a regional culture center, we are big in the arts, theatre, and professional sports. The city is crisscrossed with many beautiful trails and greenways. It has the beautiful lakes and the river. This city needs to be cherished, not run down and taken over by thugs. This concerns me. Minneapolis is the center for all this great stuff, but people in the suburbs and out-state Minnesota are becoming more hesitant to come to the city.

We need to treat Minneapolis with a strong dose of tough love. The police and the courts need to stop molly coddling these criminals. I’m sorry but if you are older than 16 years of age you know the difference between right and wrong. If you engage in criminal activity, you chose to do that. You must suffer the consequences for your choice of bad behavior. I don’t care if you were raised in the projects and didn’t really have a family, even living on the streets you learn what’s right and what’s wrong. The criminal has chosen this path. The cops need to crack down hard on these people and the courts have got to stop listening to the child psychologists that want to blame their problems on the way they grew up. Tougher sentences are needed and even tougher ones for repeaters. There are so many wonderful examples of great people who have raised themselves through poverty and prejudice to become terrific leaders and successful in the worlds of business, government, politics, and sports. They chose, themselves, to make the best they can of their lives. The city needs to close down slum lords, eminent domain these trashed properties and repair or replace them for resale or rental. You need to put very tough rental property guidelines in place and enforce them, with very stiff penalties for renters or property owners that aren’t in compliance. If you clean up the neighborhoods, maybe neighborhood pride will return and more of the kids will choose to make the right decisions as they grow up.

The saying “you are a product of your environment” has some validity. Growing up in a bad environment still doesn’t excuse a person’s choice of a life of crime, it only makes it tougher to stay on the up and up. That’s where good family practice comes into play. The city of Minneapolis needs to get tough. It needs to start jailing the bad apples for longer periods of time. If the families and neighborhoods won’t take the lead, the city must. I’m tired of the lip service from the city and the pointless rallies by the citizens, Nothing changes. There was a large crowd around Alisha when she was shot, and yet no witnesses? Come on! I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night! The city needs to change the prevailing attitudes of the citizens. If it takes large rewards to get people to give information or testify, give it to them. Minneapolis is doing some good things in terms of buying blighted property and throwing the bums out. They do have active programs to help kids with school and jobs. Now it’s time to bust some heads and clean up the human problems. Set some examples. Let’s take this great city back.

As many of you know, I’m very liberal and very much on the progressive side of things. But, I also believe in personal responsibility and the safety of the streets. I don’t want to hear excuses, I want people over 16 to understand that they will get harsh consequences for harsh law breaking. I want the people who are bringing drugs into the city are going to prison and no attorney can get them off easy. I want people selling firearms in Minnesota to be held accountable for their actions. I want people using weapons in the execution of crimes are going to prison, and no attorney can them off easy. A message needs to be sent to the streets in the city to the drug cartel headquarters in Mexico, and to the gangs. Their activities will not be tolerated in Minneapolis and they will go to prison, I wish we could even imprison the aliens rather than deporting them. Thanks for reading this today.

Cam Obert

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