Friday, April 25, 2008
The Work of A 911 Vigilante Is Never Done
Late last night there was disorder on my own lovely U of M campus, as cement ashtrays were tipped over and smashed, newspaper boxes hurled into the street, the milk crate basket on my very own bike kicked loose and left lying on the sidewalk in front of Williamson Hall...with the probable suspects, some rowdy privileged pukes, continuing their idiotic rampage in the general direction of Washington Ave. SE.
I got the campus authorities right on it. I relayed all my information, but since I didn't OBSERVE the vandalism itself (I only HEARD smashing sounds) the suspects will probably slip out of it with nothing but a bad scare.
Well, I did my duty. I did SOMETHING. At least I TRIED. Even without arrest, that kind of detention and questioning will have an impact, or so I hope.
After doing as much as I could do, including calling in the concealed location of the fourth suspect who had almost gotten away (but hung near to keep his three detained buddies under observation, the dummy) I conceived of an opinion column I could write for Monday's Minnesota Daily...
...tying some of these issues together.
Send the 'party patrol' to North Minneapolis
Most of the same things I do in North Minneapolis (with the exception of replacing torn-off city boards) I have done in other parts of the Twin Cities. I carry loads of spray paint in the trunk of my vehicle, and I paint over graffiti...sometimes while I wait for a load of laundry. I drag dangerous hunks of debri out of the street. I clear clogged storm drains with my bare hands.
It's not a chore. I LOVE DOING THIS STUFF. I luxuriate in thoughts of the positive social impact my little acts might be having, the tiny increments of perceived safety and social order now taking root in the gray matter of human heads walking by, after I paint over some graffiti. (There is so much more graffiti around the campus than on the North Side. Stupid wannabe gangster frat boys wearing electroplated "bling" over polo shirts)
When my little son is with me, (but NOT at my property in North Minneapolis, not YET) I might say something like, "Hold on a minute, we have to take care of this. We have to be good citizens."
That is my constant phrase: good citizens. Now my son will tell me about something he did...perhaps some dangerous condition he pointed out to an adult...and he will ask, "So I was a good citizen, right?"
Two days ago, I called in a kicked-over Qwest utility box in Dinkytown. (Those asinine privileged college punks AGAIN! ARG!!!) A month ago, I got some suspects arrested for busting into a kiosk selling cell phones at Mall of America after I dropped off my 10-year-old son from my weekend visitation. A month ago, in the Midtown area of St. Paul, I called in a fist fight--actually getting off the No. 16 bus to deal with it.
I saw a suspect detained, pressed right up against a wall. I was happy.
It is not a chore. It is not drudgery. The sight of flashing police lights, the badges, the LAWFUL AUTHORITY miraculously summoned by calling 911 (only when it is clear one actually SHOULD, though)...it is a rush.
It is, in fact, addictive. I stick my nose into sketchy developing situations, getting close enough to observe. And maybe I can't solve those situations with my own power or what little authority I have. But I can do this: I can call 911.
So it was late when I left campus to do the customary night patrol of my block. Part of me felt like just going to my "undisclosed location" in St. Paul and saying "to heck with it." But I went. I know 3 in the morning is when police 911 response times are super fast, and I was hoping to ensnare a drug dealer or a prostitute.
More in next blog entry, above.