Thursday evening, I decided to walk down to Snelling Avenue to check out the situation.
I saw broken glass at Lloyd’s Pharmacy, at the corner of Snelling and Minnehaha. I decided to check out the situation.
The situation nearly came to me. I saw a vibrant group of youths carrying bags of merchandise out of the Speedway station across the street, chased by the immigrant family who run the place. The other gas station up the block was in the process of being looted as well.
A small group of twenty-somethings jumped out of a car in rudimentary riot-wear, and ran past me, headed toward the Speedway. They took no interest in me – which was good for all concerned. Take that as you wish.
I beat a hasty retreat home, and rode out the rest of the evening.
The next morning, it looked like this:
Lloyd’s, which had been in this building for 102 years, as one of the last of Saint Paul’s small independent pharmacies, was gone. They’d remodeled last year, adding more lab space and some offices for a medical office – a vote of confidence in the neighborhood.
Here’s what confidence in Saint Paul gets you:
That’s 102 years worth of rubble.
Some wag commented with a sign:
Lloyd’s, and the looted gas stations , were the only visibly damaged bulidings north of Thomas – although it was hard to tell if the stores were boarded up as a preventive measure…
Or repairing damage.
I don’t know.
All I know is that my neighborhood, the Midway – my tough, scrappy, blighted little underdog of a neighborhood – feels gutted today.
Did I say tough and scrappy? Hell yeah. The staff from one restaiurant, immigrants all, climbed up on their roof on Thursday night, vislbly armed, entirely to deter the looters that’d gone over so miuch of the street the night before. I won’t name them here – I don’t want the neighborhood’s many Soy Boys and Karens to try to cancel them for their impudence.
During the day on Friday, University was crawling with people with dustpans and brooms, descending on University to clean up the mess.
They clearned out later in the afternoon, though, as sporadic incidents of looting and violence started to speckle the map. Recovery? Just ending the nightmare seemed a long, hard slog away, given Mayor Frey and Governor Walz’s performance.
Anway – to those of you who’ve been burning down my neighborhood, looting my neighbors’ shops, trying to wreck our lives – the neighborhood where I raised my kids, started a business or two, and have lived for what seems like an entire lifetime?
You want to talk about police brutality? Cultures of entitlement? Systemic racism?
Want to talk anger?
Want to make some changes, over what happened to George Floyd? Hey, guess what – I’ve got huge problems with excessive police power, too. Let’s get things done!
But talking isn’t’ fast or dramatic enough for you? Want to browbeat dissent into submission? Want to vent your inchoate rage on innocent third parties? Want to burn things that don’t belong to you?
Racism, inequality and brutality is oppression. But so is rioting.
And if you want to fight opporession with more oppression?
This is for you .
Go back to taking your rage out on your family, or your professors, or on yourself. Jam your adolescent entitlement someplace nature never intended things to be jammed.
Screw your “revolution” – I brought my own.
I’ll be here long after you move on to other tantrums. I will listen, if listening and discussion is what you want. But I’m not running anywhere.
This is my town, sparky.
This is our town. All the good people, black and white, Korean and H’mong, Turkish and Ethiopian, and every other flavor of humanity God put here. The ones who built this place, and the ones who’ll rebuild it after you’ve had your excellent weekend of fun.
We deserve better elected “leaders”, it’s true. But we were here first, and we’ll be here last.