I never much liked Tony Blair but I always thought his slogan on crime was terrific. It looks like Joe Biden, responding to the surge in violent crime is starting to move in that direction with his speech today and associated policy proposals. It's a very good move.
I also don't much like Thomas Friedman but his column today was useful, particularly these quotes from an activist on the Northside of Minneapolis.
"Minority neighborhoods, like Northside, are being terrorized by gang shootouts and other crimes. Last Friday, a leader there, Sondra Samuels, who runs the Northside Achievement Zone, which works to strengthen education and job opportunities for Black families, called me. (I was born in the Northside and am a donor to NAZ.) She told me that nearby a 9-year-old girl, Trinity Ottoson-Smith, was killed by a stray bullet while jumping on a trampoline.
“We absolutely must commit to addressing racial injustice in housing, health, education, income and wealth, while we also commit to a ‘both/and’ strategy to address public safety,” Samuels said. That means “we need BOTH a radical transformation in the culture of policing AND sufficient staffing of police to keep our neighborhoods and children safe. That means re-funding the police, not defunding them.”
Black residents make up about 20 percent of Minneapolis but well over 60 percent of the shooting victims. Alas, you’d never know that from the public discussion, said Samuels, because these shootings mostly don’t involve white cops.
“For the last year, I and my neighbors have watched Black mothers react with incredulity when their child is killed in community violence and not by a white cop. Their tragedies do not trigger citywide protest rallies, people don’t say their child’s name and there are no citywide demands that this has to stop.”
Yup, she speaks the truth. Biden's response is a good first step to meeting these concerns. I hope it isn't the last.
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