The New York Times has a story that's entertaining reading for conservatives. It concerns a mostly white, solidly leftist neighborhood so inspired by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a rogue policeman, they decided to volunteer to become victims, too.
Rapidly the residents of Minneapolis' Powderhorn Park began living in Powderkeg Park.
Almost en masse, the "progressive neighbors have vowed to avoid calling law enforcement into their community. Doing so ... would add to the pain that black residents of Minneapolis were feeling and could put them in danger."
The headline was "A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege." Checking your privilege to those forward thinkers means volunteering to be a crime victim. It's not white folks promising to 'stop snitchin.'' They're promising to never start snitchin'.
It was a bold step into the past.
When one of the first don't-ring-the-cops ringleaders moved into Powderhorn, it was plagued by prostitutes, johns and gangbangers. She told the Times she spent most of her time shooing off "working girls" and calling the cops.
This new experiment in Hobbesian living is characterized by the philosophical thread linking all leftist experiments in utopia. The project is judged by the intent of the effort and not the results. No one is required to take personal responsibility. And in any evaluation of the effort the only moral position is the one taken by the left.
Possibly the neighborhood is nostalgic for grit or maybe there is such condition as criminal naivete. Either way, I want to give credit where credit is due. Normally the procedure for elite leftists is to make other people live up to their high ideals. Meanwhile the elite's money, personal security and gated communities insulate them from any consequences.
Not this time. These leftists are living the nightmare themselves.
Before you could say 'police brutality' vagrants erected a tent city in the park the neighborhood was named after. "The multiracial group of roughly 300 new residents seems to grow larger and more entrenched every day. They do laundry, listen to music and strategize about how to find permanent housing. Some are hampered by mental illness, addiction or both.
"Their presence has drawn heavy car traffic... some from drug dealers. At least two residents have overdosed in the encampment and had to be taken away in ambulances."
Powderkeg Park is no longer a sea of tranquility. One of the pledge-takers lives in fear. She dreams of using a bat to defend herself from home invaders. Sexual harassment stopped another from walking her dog in the park. One's ideological commitment to a false narrative has resulted in her kids being drafted into the cause. Like the dogs, they can't play in the park either because it's unsafe.
This has not caused commitment to lag. "The women agreed to let any property damage, including to their own homes, go ignored." And if they saw anyone in real danger they decided to call the vigilantes at the American Indian Movement.
Mitchell Erickson could have used an AIM war party. He was confronted by the new arrivals. "Two black teenagers who looked to be 15 ... cornered him outside his home a block away from the park." One pointed a gun at Erickson and demanded his car keys. Understandably rattled, he gave the thugs his house keys instead, so they went down the street and stole another social experimenter's auto.
Erickson forgot his commitment to social justice and backslid. He called the police. He atoned for his lapse by pledging "not [to] cooperate with prosecutors in a case against the boys."
Days later he was still riven by regret. " I regret calling the police. It was my instinct but I wish it hadn't been. I put those boys in danger of death by calling the cops."
And there you have the leftist mindset. A rare combination of condescension, noblesse oblige and racial stereotyping.
No one is responsible. Everyone's a victim of circumstances beyond their control. Drugs too cheap. Work too early. School too boring. Otherguy did it.
The real irony for this collection of calamity volunteers is that if they would only agree to be baptized they could personify the weak, meek, generous, forgiving Christians the secular world demands believers become!
What's confusing is why a Times' reporter who peddled the lie that "scores of police killings [are] part of a systemic problem of the dehumanization of black people by the police" would let facts that weren't all butterflies and balloons into the story?
Then it dawned on me. The Times must not consider white men with a gun shoved in their face, white women being MeTooed and white folks in general losing access to their neighborhood park to be negative at all.
Copyright 2020 Michael Shannon, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of "A Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times." He can be reached at [email protected]