SCENE:  Mitch BERG is waiting in line at Sorrento Cucina in the Minneapolis skyway.  He sees Avery LIBRELLE coming around a corner.  The thought of trying to slip away into the crowd visibly crosses his mind.    But the lure of Sorrento’s delicious sausige  conflicts him long enough that LIBRELLE notices him.  


BERG:  Hey, Avery.  What’s up?

LIBRELLE:  With the incoming Democrat House of Representatives in Saint Paul, we’re going to stick it to all you gun-lickers!

BERG:  Huh.  Yeah, I see that the incoming Speaker, Melissa Hortman, says that even though Minnesota has one of the lowest murder rates in the United States, and perhaps the lowest murder rate among states with a top-20 metro area, she’s going to make “gun violene” her #1 priority.

Not the educational achievement gap.  Not economic development in the Iron Range.  Not even anything that’ll have a meaningful impact on urban crime.

LIBRELLE:   Merg!  Don’t you read the papers?  Mass shootings are going on all over the place!  Our schools are charnel houses!  Our malls and gay bars are abattoirs!    Everywhere you go, you are in danger from mass shootings!

BERG:  The rate of spree killings isn’t correlated with the presence of civilian firearms – although it is correlated with “gun free zones” – but schools are the safest they’ve been in decades as re overall gun crime…

LIBRELLE:  I don’t care about overall crime!  Mass shootings are a constant factor of life!  They can hit you any time!  They can’t be predicted…

BERG: …other than being in “gun free zones”…

LIBRELLE:  …and any time you leave your house you’re in constant danger of being gunned down by a white guy with an AR47!

BERG:  Huh.  Now, it’s academic to me, since all my guns fell into Mille Lacs over the summer – but it things really are that dire and serious out there…

LIBRELLE:  They are!  They are!

BERG:  …then it’d be prudent and common sense to decide to carry a firearm to defend myself and those around me from this apparently constant and imminent threat.

LIBRELLE:  Good Lord, Merg – you’re so paranoid!

BERG:  Clearly.


10 thoughts on “Paranoid

  1. Mitch,

    Two snarks (and I’m only kinda serious about the 2nd, not at all the first):
    1. They say one sign of insanity is not talking to yourself but rather answering yourself.

    2. An argument with a made-up opponent is one which you probably aught to win, it’s certainly not a challenge.

    On a more serious note, if so-called “gun free” zones correlate to an increase in shooting sprees, why are schools safer?

    Second, how can Minnesota be safe given where are Murder-apolis per your past articles. If you want to point out irony and hypocrisy, hope you don’t mind if I point them out, too?

    Last, you see economic development in the Iron Range as one of the top three problems in the state? I see it as a problem but hardly as important as the increasing disparity between those in charge of economic engines and those working hard in work-a-day jobs. I see the unaffordability of college as a serious issue, I see cost of health-care as an incredibly important issue. The Iron Range’s economic plight is certainly a concern, but not one I’d have put in the top three..

    And the fact that you didn’t identify any of those items which I identified as critically important is the root of the issue. You don’t see economic disparity and hardship as a leading issue. You see crime, you see outstate development, you see the poor academic performance of the poor, which I’ll make a leap and say you think that they and teachers are to blame, more than the lack of economic mobility, rather than a lack of social/structural mobility as the driver.

  2. Sorry Mitch, but you stepped into one of my pet peeves.

    The homicide rate only counts the number of people who actually die (as a percent of population)…..and is subject to all kinds of manipulations, especially in metros like Minneapolis.

    The difference between a homicide and an aggravated assault is often little more than an efficient 911/EMT response and an effective emergency room.

    It is not uncommon at all for gunshot victim to bare the scars of previous multiple gunshot events – especially in gun-free zones like Chicago.

    A better metric would be to compare weapons used in assaults across states and metro areas. I would hope that the result would be even more stark than relying on homicide numbers.

    Comparing weapons used would also separate out shotguns, .22’s and lever-action Marlin 30-30 from the ferocious and fearsome looking weapons like the common coyote plinking AR15.

  3. To say that last part more clearly (hit submit too soon), sociological studies show economic status has FAR more to do with success than race, or geographical region. I see that as at the root of our educational challenge, I see a lack of enfranchisement, a lack of hope, as a main challenge. The root of that is economic disparity, economic opportunity, you don’t see that intentional divide, that effort by those who have to ensure they continue to have, that they don’t have to pay living wages, but instead off-shore, that they don’t pay for pensions any longer, that part-time workers are preferable so that they can avoid paying benefits.. Trump claims he’s created all these jobs, whether he has or hasn’t, I heard a great response, someone speaking to a GOP senate candidate responded to the point about all the jobs with, “Don’t tell me about all the jobs, I know about all the jobs, I have two of them.” It is that which I see as reflecting the inadequate chance of making a decent wage, with health care, and to pay for your kids school, if you come from the “wrong side of the tracks”, and it seems to me, you do not.

  4. The rate of spree killings isn’t correlated with the presence of civilian firearms

    I would love to see a study correlating mass shootings with the increasing depiction of Hollywood actors and actresses mowing down innocent civilians. Ever seen Westworld?

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I know the old line, “my cousin’s kid plays Call of Duty and watches Hostel I and Hostel II none stop and he hasn’t killed anyone…..”

    Yeah, yeah, yeah and my dad smoked a pack a day until he was 87…. so why can’t we smoke in bars?

  5. Greg – when people tell me what they see on television doesn’t influence behavior, I ask them why commercials during the Super Bowl cost $10 million dollars per minute.

  6. Exactly, Joe.

    I remind my liberal friends that the NRA teaches how to shoot at paper targets, Hollywood teaches how to shoot at people.

  7. The Mega-bus runs daily from Chicago to St. Paul, drops off economic migrants seeking better welfare benefits at the Union Station, across the street from the Ramsey County welfare office. It also carries their baby-mommas and other criminals looking for a place to hide out for a while, same as in the 1930s.

    It’s ridiculous that Minnesota Democrats are so heartless, so cruel, they make mothers with children spend their precious dollars on bus fare and vending-machine food. These aren’t invaders, they’re just people seeking a better life.
    Why force them to make the trip? Why not send the money to them in Chicago? Reduce the low income housing demand here, eliminate classroom overcrowding, improve school test scores, reduce crime . . . just pay the Danegeld and never have to deal with the Danes. What’s not to love?

  8. “you see the poor academic performance of the poor, which I’ll make a leap and say you think that they and teachers are to blame, more than the lack of economic mobility, rather than a lack of social/structural mobility as the driver”

    Peevee, you ignorant 1/4 wit. I grew up in a family of 5 kids; no father. We were on welfare for several years. We lived in the hood where our racist Negro and Mexican neighbors jumped me and my brothers every gawddamn chance they got until we learned to travel together and fight as a team. Both of my brothers have scars from being stabbed. We were as poor as anyone else in the hood, we just stood out because of color of our skin.

    The one thing we had that most of our neighbors didn’t is a mother who beat education into us. She checked our homework, she talked to the teachers, she told us that unless we liked the way we were living we had better get damn good grades because there wasn’t any money for college. She made us fear poverty; and it worked.

    For some reason, all of us graduated high school; on time. 3 of us earned our own tuition and went to college. All of us live comfortable upper middle-class lives and our kids had the choice of college or trade school

    Being poor is the result of fecklessness, not the other way around. Minority kids fail because too many of their teen age parents don’t give a shit about them; we were lucky, we had one dedicated parent that did.

    So do us all a favor. Take your inane leftist socio-economic bullshit, bake it crispy and eat it.

  9. To build on what Swiftee said, if economic disparities explained crime, crime would be just as high among poor Asians as it is in other cohorts. News flash: it ain’t. It correlates pretty darned well with having single parents who don’t care.

    Sorry, Peev, but you have once again showed your total ignorance here.

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