Saturday, July 22, 2017
And from the multicultural center of Minnesota we have this heartwarming story of multiculturalism in action
A law-abiding unarmed woman makes the mistake of calling 911 and, when the responding officers arrive, they shoot her dead. The American media's reflex instinct is that this is an out-of-control murderous police-brutality story. To be sure, it's more helpful if the victim is black or Hispanic, but in this case she is female and an immigrant, albeit from Australia. And certainly Down Under the instinct of the press would also be to play this as an example of a country with a crazy gun culture and the bad things that happen when innocent foreigners make the mistake of going there, even to a peaceable, upscale neighborhood. Or in the shorthand of the Sydney Daily Telegraph front page:
In both Oz and the US, the next stage of the story would be cherchez le cop - lots of reports of a redneck officer with a hair-trigger temper and various personal issues.
But there's a complicating factor. It's so complicating that The Washington Post finds itself running a 1,200-word story on the death of Justine Damond without a word about the copper who shot her - nothing about his background, record, habits, behavior. Not even his name.
Because his name is Mohamed Noor. As Tucker Carlson pointed out on Fox News the other night, the reason you know the officer's identity is significant is because the Post went to all that trouble not to mention it.
Mr Noor was born in Somalia, and these days, aside from being home to the fictional Lake Wobegon, Minnesota is also home to the all too real Little Mogadishu - mainly thanks to generous "family reunification" from a country that keeps no reliable family records. (Last year, I had a Somali minicab driver in London who was planning to move to Minneapolis "because my brother lives there. Well, he's not really my brother," he added cryptically.)
If you take seriously Sir Robert Peel's dictum that "the police are the public and the public are the police", then, if your town turns Somali, you're going to need some Somali policemen. And, just like Garrison Keillor's radio tales of old Minnesota, the new Minnesota also requires its heartwarming yarns. In the deft summation of Michele Bachmann (a favorite guest on The Mark Steyn Show) Officer Noor is an "affirmative-action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis".
Mayor Hodges doesn't wear a hijab because she's Muslim (yet) but to show she's cool with it - and, if you're not, you're a bigot. Yes, it's a bit hot under the hood and it cramps your peripheral vision, but the new Minneapolis is all about embracing discomfort:
Running for re-election in November, Hodges said the city must embrace the discomfort of transformation, a theme of her campaign, and work tirelessly to create "One Minneapolis" that "works for everyone," and where everyone contributes to making the city work for everyone else.
She invoked the metaphor of the seed, breaking apart to make way for new life, to describe what's happening in Minnesota's largest city.
"Minneapolis, our shell is cracked. And from that will come the full flower of our potential, whatever we are destined to be," Hodges said. "To some, who can only see this moment, it may indeed look like complete destruction. In reality, it is transformation."
So don't worry, it may look like "complete destruction", but any moment now we'll be in full bloom. For her, the recruitment of Mohamed Noor, the ninth Somali officer on the force, is a good-news story, about the glories of "embracing the discomfort of transformation".
For others, including those on the receiving end of his ministrations, Mohamed Noor is a bad-news story. A few days before he shot Justine Damond, a complaint was filed in federal court by another Minneapolis woman, who also called 911 and claims she was assaulted by Noor. Disinclined to embrace her discomfort, she has instead sued.