The number of cars driving by with increased noise due to the loss of a catalytic converter is a common occurrence on St Paul’s Eastside. On any given day, nearly at any given time, if you see a group of people all getting on the light rail and moving toward one end, it is almost assured someone is set to whip out a piece of aluminum foil pull out a tube and start smoking something. The dual stabbings by the handyman resulting in one victim dying in the children’s playground at the Duluth and Case Recreation Center while children were present is the most recent event.
The wanton disregard for public recrimination is seen nearly every evening, when kids, and adults ride around in small minibikes on city streets, or in unlicensed offroad vehicles around Payne Avenue at dusk and after dark. The lawlessness is clearly evident, but what is not present are cops out of their cars walking the street. The lack of beat cops who are in tune with the community are the fundament missing factor because a cop behind a closed window of an SUV is oblivious to the happenings around him/her.
In the post George Floyd world, cops are not willing to take undue risks, they are not pinching juveniles for smoking joints at the bus stops, vaping on buses or smoking crack on trains. We have referenced this before and called out the Metropolitan Transit Police Chief Rick Gates in our article Why Doesn’t Metropolitan Police Chief Rick Gates, Do His Job?, but as the problems grow and become more rampant it is clear at all levels there is a lack of enforcement and accountability.
Today, Ramsey County Sherriff Bob Fletcher sent out a four-page letter to the state legislature calling for action.
We believe there must be a systematic approach to this nearly post-COVID time where we address the mental health problem, which were likely always present in our society, but became exposed after lockdowns, face masking and lack of social interaction. The self-medication as evident from the increased liquor sales, lower arrests for nuisance crimes because people were inside and when people were allowed out, the social media driven incidents where people act out in virtual anonymity.
In this computer age where nearly every person has a computer in their pocket more powerful the computer system on board Apollo 11, we have a better means to track perpetrators, gather social data and if people get out of their devices, they can, relate to one another.
The loss of our social interaction during the pandemic made it easy for people to isolate from each other and social distancing keeps us apart. The lack of human touch, closeness and intimacy is having an adverse dramatic societal impact.