Yesterday a reader sent us this story about a man with Alzheimer’s getting lost in the Seward Neighborhood of Minneapolis. I see that Seward is described as “vibrant” here—always a bad sign (code for diversity is strength). I also see that I’ve written about Seward before, here, when three Somalis were murdered (by Somali thugs) in a Somali market there in January 2010.
So, here is the story posted on a website entitled, e-democracy.org. I am well aware of the fact that this same thing could happen anywhere there are too many thugs with time on their hands and a confused man with a billfold full of money who come in contact with each other.
I just thought I would relay a recent experience, not that I think anything can be done, but so the neighborhood can put a face on some of the statistics we read about.
A week ago this last Thursday (10 days ago), my father was visiting from out of state. He has visited us many times in the 15 years we’ve lived in the neighborhood, and he enjoys taking walks down Milwaukee Ave. Unfortunately, he suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and this time he could not find his way back to our house. He did have a cell phone, but there was no charge on it.
He called the house to say he was lost (we’re not sure what phone he used), but my daughter answered and told him to call me at work, as her mom was out and I would be the one who would know where he was and how to get home. Unfortunately I never got a call, but I’m not sure he can remember the number any more.
At any rate, he was missing for 3-4 hours. He somehow crossed Franklin Ave., we think to go to the Holiday station. He ended up walking down 9th, behind Holiday, and along the freeway. At the corner of 9th and 24th Avenue (which is two blocks from where he started!), he ran into a group of young Somali men hanging out on the corner. He engaged them in conversation, and at some point, asked if he could use one of their cell phones, which they agreed to. He didn’t get through to anyone because we were all out looking for him (I know, bad idea, but we weren’t thinking very clearly). He had phone numbers on a card in his wallet and when he took out his wallet, they observed that he had a lot of cash ($800 in twenties, I know, I know, another bad idea, but he was planning on giving a cash gift to his granddaughter who was getting married that weekend.)
They knocked him down and he hit his head on the concrete causing 2 or 3 big bumps, bruises and scratches. He had a big bruise on his hip as well. Luckily, I was riding my bike around looking for him, and I saw the cop car and ambulance, went over to investigate and found him before they took him off to a hospital. We took him to HCMC to have a CT scan done on his head to make sure everything was ok. He will be fine physically, but he was pretty shaken up, and this event seemed to be a big set back in his ability to deal with his Alzheimer’s.
There were a lot of things he did wrong, but it still pains me that my father was seriously injured while visiting me in Seward neighborhood. I know the people who did it were taking advantage of an opportunity, and didn’t stalk him, or necessarily plan it in advance, but there were a handful of women outside who witnessed the event yet would not give any descriptions to the police. [Somalis do not report on their own kind—ed]
The only conclusion that I can draw is that if Seward is going to be the landing spot for large numbers of immigrants, some of whom don’t have the necessary skills to get a good job or to find a way to exist without turning to crime, then maybe we need add’l resources to help mitigate and buffer the effects of this crime. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-immigrant, but I am anti-crime, and if crime is emanating from this community, then we need to focus more on the reasons why and try and do something about it. [More resources, what does that mean? More taxpayer money thrown at the problem? Maybe its time to just turn off the Somali immigration spigot, but it may be too late—ed]
I love living here and while I consider it a very safe place to live, I’m not sure my father will ever come back again, and for that I’m sad and regretful.
Just wanted to give some background to what will be noted as an assault in the crime statistics.
Khadra would probably tell us that Seward is part of the Somali colonization strategy.
Addendum: For some reason this post has generated a lot of traffic to RRW. So, assuming some of you are new to the subject of Somali refugee resettlement, see this old post which is still daily on our list of most visited posts about how many Somalis have come to the US through refugee resettlement.