Saturday, December 13, 2008

Young Somalis Raise Hell At The Carlson School Of Management...Again

Flickr.com Photo

This is happening with greater frequency at the Carlson School of Management and also sometimes at the Humphrey Institute. Groups of Somali males as young as 12...

...enter the building and (there's no other suitable phrase for it) "raise hell." Sometimes the Humphrey and the Carlson get downright scary after dark because of these roving packs of youth with too much time on their hands and too little parental guidance. Lately, the West Bank has more of a "hard vibe," and "Little Mogadishu" isn't the friendly place it was even a couple years ago. (Click here for an informative City Pages article)

Today I happened to be on campus with my 11-year-0ld son, and I left him in a secure part of the building--playing on my laptop computer--while I went to Acadia Cafe to fetch him some French fries. I was cutting through the Carlson when I saw and heard a group of Somalis males having--good grief--an energetic snowball fight INSIDE THE ENTRYWAY.

Hootin' And Hollerin'

Grad students were everywhere studying for all-important finals while these youth hooted and hollered like a bunch of Nodaks who just sold potatoes to Simplot and bought themselves a case of Grain Belt, yee haw.

A security guard--female, Asian, thin, and so small her eyeballs were no higher than my chest--confronted the group of 7 or 8 Somali males, some of whom were as large and well fed as myself.

"You're causing too much trouble in the building," she said, firmly. "Leave the premises or I will call the police." She kept repeating that phrase, like it was in her manual or something.

She was herding them out the door, but they weren't moving too fast and it looked like they were contemplating making a little stand, right there in the entryway.

"I'm a grad student," I said to the security guard. "I'm backing you up."

I stepped into it and told them to leave and I basically herded them out the door. The security guard later told me she was grateful for the help. The youth started grabbing snow outside, making snowballs. One of the young men looked afraid and said, "It wasn't me, sir" as I continued to show them the way off Carlson property. The "nice" young man's badly-chosen companions were laughing, cutting up, trying to act like gangsters armed with--I'm shaking, here--snowballs.

As they crossed the street at the really bad, unsafe intersection that I've told my city officials about, over and over, a bunch of them let loose with snowballs, trying to hit me and also the security guard. They didn't score any hits, though I had to dodge one. The security guard had a poorly-aimed snowball land at her feet, and refused to duck or flinch.

I won't jazz up the story and say they were throwing hunks of ice. These were just snowballs. I suppose throwing a snowball at a security guard under these circumstances technically constitutes assault, but...well, what's the point of being so technical?

I yelled something like, "You think I won't call your parents?"

French Fries, Interrupted

Rather than walk to the Acadia as I'd intended, I let the block cool down for about fifteen minutes, got my kid some milk from a vending machine run by the evil Aramark corporation, and then continued my delayed journey for French fries.

Well, actually, I left my wallet with my kid and just carried cash and my ID. Plus my cell phone, of course. If the pack of youth-gone-wrong were still hanging around, and decided to jump me, I wanted to minimize any personal loss that might occur. But heck if I'm letting thugs (even thugs hardly old enough to shave) keep me from getting my kid his French fries.

5 comments:

Amanjo said...

That is really a shame to hear about Carlson. Back in 2003 during a very hectic semester, I used to sleep there in one of the benches attached to the big staircase during a break from classes from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. I never felt unsafe in that building, and it's unfortunate that people do now.

matt said...

"while these youth hooted and hollered like a bunch of Nodaks who just sold potatoes to Simplot and bought themselves a case of Grain Belt, yee haw."

what a jackassed comment, go to hell. and the article you link to does not even mention north dakota. also, its pretty funny that you seem to have a problem with agriculture yet you continue to live in minnesota. have you ever been outside north mpls and seen your state? every hick i ever met growing up in fargo was from rural minnesota.

Johnny Northside said...

Dear Matt,
The article I linked to, which is a review of "Broken Heartland: The Rise Of America's Rural Ghetto" is very relevant to North Dakota. North Dakota is the heart of the "rural ghetto" phenomenon.

You have a form of casual internet ignorance that is very annoying and very common; and usually centers around lame rhetorical questions revealing little thought or digging beyond the immediate moment of posting.

Have I ever been outside of North Minneapolis? What an idiotic question. First of all, the answer to that is on other pages of my blog.

And even a little bit of searching under my name would reveal I spent far too much time in North Dakota, which is why I have such strong opinions about the place.

What an amazing world we live in, where we write with beams of light and the content we add to the amazing internet might last, theoretically, as long as human civilization lasts. Or longer. And yet some of our thoughts--like yours, Matt--show little more intelligence, little more thought, no more depth--than graffiti on a bathroom wall.

"Have [I] ever been out of North Minneapolis?" Funny. I remember when people were asking me how dare I use the name "Johnny Northside" since I hadn't been in North Minneapolis THAT LONG. Now somebody comes along and asks whether I've ever been OUTSIDE of North Minneapolis to visit the flat, bleak, godforsaken low wage wasteland of North Dakota.

This is indeed a minor milestone. Thanks, I think. And I won't be going to hell, since I already served my time there, and hell looked suspiciously like North Dakota.

matt said...

ouch, you sure told me!! clearly i never should have challenged the wit of johnny northside. i'm flattered, you wrote almost an entire blog entry in response to my comment. it was so well written too, is a native fargoan like me really worth such great and eloquent writing? all that brainpower of yours and you still failed make a point beyond how dumb i am for defending my home state.

you didn't even answer my question, have you seen rural MN outside of the twin cities? please compare and contrast rural ND and MN for me. im very curious as to how they are so different.

apparently people in MN do not drink grain belt or grow potatoes, that stuff is just for hicks from ND right? why is minneapolis called the mill city again?

and anyway, north minnepolis? give me a break! if ND is hell, north mpls is hell's septic tank.

(or more appropriately, detroit and chicago's septic tank...thats where most of their shit ends up)

the fact that you choose to live over north proves you have screws loose. i live in powderhorn, it has all the violence and poverty you enjoy living around but with much more charm. thank god the northside has an einstein like yourself to keep it from falling apart or maybe NO ONE would live there

Johnny Northside said...

Even the tiniest bit of effort of looking through the pages of my blog would reveal I'm not only familiar with rural Minnesota outside the Twin Cities, I'm from there. Duuuuuuuuuh.

But, really, why take the time to make a thoughtful remark which can add to public discourse on the internet, when it's so much easier to let one's fingers ignorantly and spontaneously do the walking on a comment thread and make stupid remarks about, oh gee, have I ever seen RURAL MINNESOTA?

Why don't you check out the part of my blog where I had to chase the chicken out of my new van? Bah-gawwwwwk!!!!!

Yes, there is a part of rural Minnesota where, unfortunately, North Dakota's bleak terrain and barren, boring, binge-drinking cultural deficit slops over the Red River and seeps into the state like...the corn smut fungus, or wheat rust.

Crookston, for example. (Shudder)

Why do I make fun of Nodaks? Because it's amusing. Because they react so defensively and their albino agrarian faces get all red and scrunchy and tremble with pent-up rage they can't really express. But mostly because it starts a substantive discussion going about socio-economic issues:

Chronic, ongoing population loss. Youth outmigration to, yes, the Twin Cities. Crummy wages. Narrow, small-minded small town intolerance. Racism, especially directed at Native Americans.

Oh, yes, sex offenders just a-running loose on the amber waves of grain, like that Joseph Duncan in Fargo, and you really have to wonder how many sex offenders North Dakota has per capita, if you catch my drift, and if it's not, well, really A LOT compared to other places.

North Minneapolis has one huge thing over North Dakota: a bright future. And that makes all the difference in the world. That makes enduring the present difficulties worthwhile as urban revitalization moves forward, (and it does, lord how it does!) because North Minneapolis is vital. It's not going to dry up and blow away in the wind.

North Dakota...I have my doubts.