“What do you think about the beating of Ray Widstrand?”: I don’t.
“What are you talking about? It was a horrible episode! And it’s getting international attention” – Of course it was. And not only did it happen in my city, but it was like four blocks from where I used to live, out on the East Side. It was a crappy neighborhood 24 years ago, and if anything I think it’s gotten worse. An episode at a gas station out on East Minnehaha three years ago – not far from my old house, in a neighborhood which has decayed immensely since I lived and worked there over 20 years ago – may have been one of the scarier nights of my life (and I’ve had some scary ones).
“Is that a commentary on Saint Paul?” – Yep. When I first moved to Saint Paul in 1987 – the end of George Latimer’s reign, the beginning of Jim Scheibel’s single term – the city felt depressed, in a malaise. Tired.
Afterwards came 12 years of relative “can do!” under Norm Coleman and Randy Kelly – years, when the city grew (some), prospered (by our standards), spent too much but had somethingto show for it.
But since Kelly left? Taxes have boomed. Housing values have plummeted. Crime has risen (not to Minneapolis levels, and it’s fairly concentrated, but it’s worse than it was). The city feels tired, bored, and in a rut – the standard stuff you get from cities with one-party government. The government’s stakeholders get the gold mine, and the rest of us get the shaft.
“Back to the Widstrand case. 50 youths from at least two east-side gangs brawling in the street. At least four people accosting a passerby and stomping him into a coma, with a swelling brain and a minimal chance of survival. Certainly you have an opinion” – Of course I do. I pray he recovers, and experiences a miracle among people with these sorts of awful brain injuries.
“But isn’t this a racial incident?” – Apparently not. No media outlet has mentioned race, so apparently nobody involved in the assault was in any way ethnic.
“You’re wimping out, Merg! It’s time for a Dialog about Race!” – Cut the crap. Race, along with gender and gender orientation, is a subject where “dialog” is nonexistent; where Minnesota’s dominant culture – the radical left – has imposed a structure where the “Dialog” is always between Good (their side) and Evil. Academia, the media, government and government’s influential stakeholders all uphold that framework at every turn.
In other words, the “dialog” about race is the rhetorical equivalent of the “dialog” between Mr. Widstrand and his attackers. It’s a monologue; hell, it’s really more of a rant. And it destroys reason and civil discourse just as surely as mob beat-downs destroy peoples’ lives.
So I’ll leave the “dialog about race” to the ranters and the masochists. I’ll continue as I always have – treating people as individuals rather than labels, and defending myself and mine from those who don’t.
“Speaking of defense – did you say on the radio that you’d take your gun and charge at those 50 people?” – Good God, no. The only people who could possibly take that away from what I said on the air Saturday must have spirochaetal paresis, or have had a massive stroke.
Nope – I said pretty much the opposite. The way Minnesota law is set up, even though the law says you can use lethal force to defend yourself or others from death or great bodily harm, it’s a bad idea. Partly because it’s incredibly dangerous; it’s incumbent on the “good samaritan” to only engage with the people providing the immediate threat of death or great bodily harm, and the danger of shooting someone who may well be involved, but isn’t providing an immediate threat – to say nothing of having a shot pass by and hit a completely innocent person – is just too great. And the county attorney will pick over your response in the most pointillistic detail imaginable. And that’s just the legal danger; there’s also the literal physical danger; while one is dealing with an immediate threat, there’s no telling how many other people will turn into immediate threats to your life and health.
And that doesn’t even get into “Stand your Ground” issues. In Minnesota, outside your house, you have a duty to retreat if reasonably possible to avoid using lethal force. Even if someone’s getting kicked to death? Well, that’s a question that the county attorney will be happy to argue over, and over, and over with your attorney, at $250 an hour, with your freedom and entire future on the line. Will you win? No. Even if you win in court, you’re still going to be $50,000 or more poorer, and that’s even before the civil suits get started, and don’t get us started on the psychological impact.
So no. Assuming adrenaline doesn’t trigger a flight response, I’d hope for the presence of mind to call the police, and to videotape things on my phone if possible.
Now – if Mr. Widstrand had had a gun…
…but he didn’t.
And cases like this are among the reasons people do get their permits and carry firearms with them.
“How about them Twins?”- Shut up.