After a high number of shootings over the first five months of the year, citizens are demanding to know what officials are planning to do in an effort to stem the violence. A recent Star Tribune article implies that many critics are dissatisfied with the city’s response to the tragic violence. The story includes these disturbing details: “In roughly the first five months of the year, 123 people have been shot in Minneapolis — 97 of them on the North Side — compared with 65 during the same period last year.”
Many of the shootings have been linked to gang rivalries. But the victims are often innocent and have no affiliation with gangs. Furthermore, even the gang members are often victims of circumstance: social inequities, poverty, racial tension, poor education, broken homes…these are often part of the environment that fosters gang membership. Though turning to the police for solutions seems logical on the surface, any honest analysis of the violence problem in the city must acknowledge the Herculean efforts needed from politicians, citizens and law enforcement officers to make a difference. This complex problem will not be solved with simplistic ideals.