Anthony Titus

A couple of evenings ago, 16-year-old Anthony Titus was headed out for a party on foot with his mother’s consent. Well, as is becoming a more common occurence in North Minneapolis, Titus was gunned down and killed in the alley on the 2900 block of Fremont Avenue North. He represents the 26th homicide of the year in Minneapolis, well ahead of last year, when the total for the year was 19! Which year is the fluke, last year or this year? I submit to you readers last year was the fluke. It was a part of a nationwide reduction in violent crime, that could be attributed to many factors.

The Minneapolis Police Department wanted to take the credit last year because of their implementation of early intervention programs to keep youth from becoming “troubled youth”. That’s fine, and it is a program that needs to be worked hard, consistently, and with all eyes vigilance. But, I submit the problems in these troubled areas of Minneapolis run much deeper and have long enough histories that require a tremendous amount of research, attention, and calls to action.

Here’s what happens in the aftermath of every one of these senseless murders or serious assaults, sexual or otherwise. The immediate neighborhood rallies to a candle light vigil, city leaders proclaim the horrible waste of a life is such a shame, candles, wreaths, flowers, and memorabilia are left in a makeshift memorial to the fallen person. That’s it! I want to know where is the out cry to attack this problem with full force, all hands on deck. There are deep-seated problems in these communities that require more than a march of neighbors and spirited speeches by community leaders and activists. Though they claim the Titus murder was not “gang related”, the reason there are guns in the ‘hood is because of the firm foothold the gangs have in the area. I grieve deeply every time a catastrophe like this happens in my beloved Minneapolis. I grieve for the family, the neighborhood, and the city. In the present situation in North Minneapolis and other areas of the city where the gangs and street thugs are in control, the kids really have no shot to break out and go on to higher education and a better life from where they came.

It’s time for the city to take action and here’s how to do it. I’d like to see the criminal justice system take control. Felons, bad characters, people who look at cops crossed eyed should be stripped of their rights and cleaned out of the neighborhoods. Arrest and jail them all, the courts need to be very hard on them. Send them away for a long time to think about how they have disrespected human life for too long and now they will get a long time to think about it in prison. Next, implement a strong and pro-active drug abuse and user program. Hang big rewards out for those that can get clean and stay clean. Recruit from these people and others to be mentors in the neighborhoods. Put into place aggressive and mandatory mentoring programs, force kids teetering on the brink of going bad, to get involved in community programs. The city needs to, with the help of social welfare administrators, to usurp some parental rights to make sure troubled kids and potentially troubled kids are placed in programs to head them in the right direction. The school system needs to stop molly coddling kids and parents that can’t get with the program. It’s time for Minneapolis Schools to OFFICIALLY fill the role of parenting, life guidance, civility, obedience, and human decency and personal responsibility. Remember, kids are like sponges, they soak up all information that comes their way. Do we allow them to soak up the right things imparted by community programs, schools, responsible parenting, or do we allow them to soak up the garbage from the streets? The Minneapolis Public Schools have got to enact a set of very strict dress and conduct codes. Mandatory uniforms would be my first recommendation. This takes the pressure off of kids to be”stylin'” and their parents to pay for the clothes, shoes, and bling it takes to be part of the street in crowd. No more gang colors, no more wearing ball caps in public buildings, no more wearing saggy baggie pants, and no more girls wearing the low slung tight pants with the “T” of their thong exposed. If a kid has tattoos, they must be kept covered and a contract with their community program signed to remove the tattoos at no cost to the kid. Tattoo removal is a must to be enrolled in school and community programs. Minneapolis will maintain special schools to move kids to that are having trouble behavior-wise in their neighborhood schools.

This program may not pay dividends immediately. By changing the attitude of the kids and their parents, over the course of time, the “thug gangsta’ attitude” will be supplanted by a can-do self-improvement attitude that eventually will move the neighborhood ahead and these kids into higher education, better jobs, and the ability to get out of the ‘hood and get on to things and places better. Sooner or later, with the residents and the city regaining control of the neighborhoods, the areas will become great again. The properties will be improved and businesses will return. It all starts with early age intervention, tough criminal justice moves, and consistency.

My reasons for this personal feeling for Minneapolis as a suburbanite? Simple. When I was a boy, my grandparents lived on Humboldt Ave, N., between 35th and 36th. A young lady was gunned down and killed on the corner of Humboldt and 35th. That’s way too close! When I was a kid, we’d visit Granny and Gramps and stay for days. It was a great neighborhood. My brother Chris and I would walk to the neighborhood stores to get a bottle of pop and baseball cards. I believe the one we used to patronize was on Emerson and about 35th. We used to play ball at the huge park just to the north of Granny and Gramps’ house. I learned how to swim underwater in the wading pool at that park! My Grampa, my Dad, and my Uncle Tom tell great stories about how great growing up in North Minneapolis was. The neighborhood boxing matches, the hard-working folks that had such pride in their homes, North High School was well-known nationally as a great academic school. I remember the night I picked my Dad up from the Swedish Institute where he attended his 40th North High School re-union. The success stories were amazing, the accomplishments of him and his classmates were awe-inspiring! The only African-American in his graduating class happened to head the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA Medical Center! I could listen to my Dad, my Uncle, and Grampa tell stories from the North side for hours on end. That’s the North Minneapolis I want back. With a tough consistent series of programs and actions, it can become great again. Mayor Rybak, I got my wish, you are still our mayor, and a damn good one but, for this one you need to put on a full court press. I hope you can pull it off. The future vitality of the city depends on it. If I can help, please let me know. Thank you Mayor, and thanks to the rest of you for today’s read.
Cam Obert



  1. Oscarson Says:

    So should the parents now start paying schools child support if they are going to be doing the job of “Parenting”?

  2. gma tildy Says:

    get for real!!!!! you remember what you want to remember i see lots of the white european demons with tatoos and pants sagging what does that have to do with the meth heads that are destroying our neighborhoods? i say ours because when most of my ancestors were forced into this country and treated like animals we became part of your swedish ancestors who used to live on the north side. everything negative that a slave learned was shown by your ancestors. dont play innocent. tell your children and grandchildren some positive about the black or do you say african americans or what do you use when you speak of us? tell them about the inventions that came from us that you use everyday or do you even know? I respect ryback too! go lay down somewhere!! you seem to need a nap and a wake up call!!

  3. youandmedoweagree Says:

    Does it matter how I refer to African-Americans, whether it is as blacks or african-americans. This is not a color or race issue. It is a socio-economic issue thaqt starts with whats right versus what’s wrong. Don’t lay that racist shit on me, I understand the situation. It’s about gangs that have taken over portions of the city and the judicial system is not doing a good job coraling it. Bad people are just plain bad. They need to be off the streets and in prison. This is what has destroyed the neighborhoods, it’s bad people who have no respect for anyone, including themselves. Once this societal litter is thrown in prison, the clean-up and re-habilitation can begin. It’s time to give the good people, the kids, and the neighborhoods their right to be free again!

  4. Champaigne Christensen Says:

    Rest in peace to my brotha man, This is just to crazy & I cannot stand everyday that I live by knowing h’sgone. Like Damn, this hurts as bad as when I lost my baby sister. MAN REST IN PEACE PHAT PHAT. “My phattness” 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: