Two days ago a man was shot and killed for his wallet two blocks from our home.
He was shot once standing, and then once he fell to the ground, was shot two more times in the head.
The blood remains in the snow and the city seems confused in how to remove it. Usually the Fire department comes and washes it away, but that would cause an ice slick. A bobcat came out and shoveled it into a pile but now doesn't know where to dispose of it.
And so a heap of bloody snow remains in the street as a vivid reminder of the fear we live in on the Northside.
Not one news media covered the murder.
That seems to be the piece of information that those of us who live here are holding onto.
I am apart of a social media group called North Vent. It is a way for all of us who live in NoMi (North Minneapolis) can communicate and share information. You can hop on North Vent as soon as you hear gun shots, sirens, or see smoke, and everyone starts sharing what they know. It's almost a modern day community watch program.
Social media has dramatically changed how much information I now have regarding the in's and out's of crime in NoMi.
I am thankful for information because having information gives you understanding of where it is safe and not safe to go. For instance, I have come to discover that the leader of one the strongest Mpls gangs just moved two blocks away from us. I learned about the illegal after hours club that got shut down just over a month ago three blocks from our house. We know when they are doing drug sweeps on the street and whose responsible for the latest shooting. People here keep watch and share information so we all can stay informed and safe.
What has struck me more than any of this however is getting an inside look into how people feel about living here.
For all the good and hard stuff that happens here, I am not quite sure what to do with the feelings of helplessness that the general community has.
Comments such as, "If anyone approaches you, give them whatever they want and run the other way. It's your only hope of not getting shot at, and even then it's possible."
or, "People don't understand that when you live here, you are afraid to get out of your car and just walk up to your house. You wonder if today is the day that your house was broken into. You fear that at any time, you could get jumped or killed just for being on a bike." (There was a young man shot and killed this summer riding his bike to a neighbor's house to deliver a meal. It unsettled the community greatly to say the least.)
I know those thoughts. I have those thoughts.
But now I know that I am not alone. I am in a community of people who all live afraid and have surrendered to living in fear.
There is an undercurrent of anger towards the government and police officials because the crime continues to get worse, and so often, the outside communities don't hear about it.
We feel left and forgotten. When men are shot and killed and in our streets and no one knows about, it sends a pretty loud and clear message.
You are alone in fighting this.
When a community of people who have been hurt feel that they aren't seen or cared for, they get angry. Anger never makes things easier.
Anger makes things violent and creates communities of fear.
And then here we sit.
Crime running high. People who are afraid then turn frustrated and angry. Justice becomes the platform. Taking things into our own hands become their job, because people have to pay for what they've done.
You tuck inside and hide. You protect yourself and those close to you. You keep your head down, you stay smart and plan when you leave your house.
Fight or Flight.
Those are our options.
16 armed robberies last week alone. One ending in murder, and no one knew because the news never covered the story.
17 now. We watched a man got robbed at gun point in front our home this morning.
We live in a culture of fear.
The comments of desperation are getting louder.
It makes me nervous. Not knowing what is coming.
And so we pray.
We pray for guidance, for answers, for peace, for safety.
We aren't sure what else to do.
Is changing a whole community and culture based on fear possible?
I don't know.
I really just don't know.