post by John Hoff
Click here for PDF showing the Facebook discussion.
"Always making friends, aren't you?" said the sarcastic title of an email I opened this morning.
Attached to the email was the PDF, linked above, of a Facebook discussion set off by yesterday's blog post about eleven "straight" guilty pleas by Antonio Timberlake. The pleas to robbery charges were announced in a press release by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.
The Facebook discussion in question took place on the page of Jamica "The Driver" Holden (who goes by Jamica Ripskitz on Facebook) and mostly centers around visceral dislike of Johnny Northside.
The discussion is illustrated, at times, with amusing (though crude) internet memes. My personal favorite is the root vegetable shaped like...
What I find interesting about the discussion is that Jamica's anger is mixed with a kind of pride; pride in the "fame" this blog gives to certain criminal elements in our community, this as a kind of unintended side effect of writing about matters of public concern like, well, half a dozen young people breaking into a senior citizen's house on Thanksgiving.
This socially deviant pride reaction only serves to underscore a point made in a community-wide discussion during the previous mayoral campaign about half a dozen "crime families" living in North Minneapolis. Some Minneapolis families are surely passing down a "culture of crime" to their children. Taking pride in your family's criminal prominence, instead of being ashamed, is surely part of a "learned culture of criminality" passed from parents (and uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins) to innocent little children...who then grow up to become "turd burglars" and go to prison.
You'd THINK part of that teaching of "negative family values" would involve holding out for a plea bargain instead of taking eleven "straight" guilty pleas. Is there some mysterious, hidden calculus in the criminal justice equation I don't understand? TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, OH THIRD GENERATION MASTERS OF PETTY CRIME!
Though former city councilman Don Samuels did not win the previous mayoral election (he sure did win a school board seat, though) the issue of half a dozen "crime families" remains an important matter of public concern.
Normally, I would just shrug off this kind of Facebook discussion but I actually want to take this golden opportunity to APOLOGIZE to Jamica "The Driver" Holden, formerly Jamica Timberlake. You see, in a previous blog post I made an unkind remark about her hairstyle. This was not my finest hour (audio tribute link) and in light of negative feedback I've received from people I respect, I have come to regret writing those words.
Therefore, I have issued an apology on the original blog post about the hair style remark and removed the remark. I was contemplating doing this for a few months, but this is the first time Jamica's name has come to my attention since that particular blog post...so today is a good day to apologize.
I will say it is a terrible thing that Antonio Timberlake will be facing such a stiff sentence at such a young age. His friends and family are understandably upset. The burning question of the day is how do we turn young people who are on the wrong path away from crime and into more productive pursuits?
I continue to think Don Samuels may have a key piece of the puzzle with his idea about identifying and concentrating resources upon half a dozen particular families who are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the crime. Samuels has spoken of both a "carrot" and a "stick" approach, starting with a "carrot" of special help and assistance with, for example, obtaining education and employment.
We need to find a way to rescue these young people before their lives are ruined like, well, see top of blog post, Exhibit A.