Margaret Macneale, Minnesota

A very difficult week in Minneapolis/St Paul MN

May 31, 2020

Categories: Daffodil Enthusiasts, General

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Hi folks – Some of you visited the Minneapolis area in May 2019 for the ADS convention.  You saw we live in a lovely, beautiful city.  Right now – so different.  I apologize that this posting is pretty raw, but some of you have asked how we’re doing.
First, Gary and I are physically safe.  Emotionally, not so great.  The murder of George Floyd last Monday evening at the hands of the Minneapolis police was a shocking gut punch for all of us.  Likely you have all seen the video – over and over and over again.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  The Minneapolis police have taken the lives of unarmed black men way too many times.  It. Just. Keeps. Happening.
On Tuesday many people in our area gathered to protest, and while we were not physically present, we supported them.  Then everything changed.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were horrible.  Even in broad daylight there was looting and fires.  Multiple Target and grocery stores were either completely wiped out by looting, and/or torched.  A police station and a Wells Fargo building were burned to the ground.  It got worse and worse each day, and nights were ungodly.  I personally felt our governor and the local mayors were doing as good a job as they could, but the look-back later will undoubtedly find many areas where critical things were missed.  We have watched every news conference and have been following developments closely.
Governor Walz freely admitted on Saturday morning that the planned law enforcement presence (including some MN National Guard) on Friday night was completely overwhelmed – they didn’t have enough manpower and were overwhelmed by the rioters.  [Note that I no longer call them ‘protestors’.  There are reasons to believe that many are anarchists, some even coming in from other parts of the country for the express purpose of destroying things.  Some vehicles that these folks are driving around in have no license plates, windows are blackened, and the vehicles have rocks and other weapons in them.  Peaceful intent?  No way.]
On Saturday, a curfew in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and most suburbs was imposed starting at 8 PM to 6 AM, and major highways were shut down, and all that continues again tonight.  The entire Minnesota National Guard has been activated (first time since WWII), as well as drawing on some from neighboring states.  There were 4000+ on hand last night, and that will be ramped up to around 10,000 over the next few days (I just heard about 5100 tonight).  The State Patrol and all sorts of other law enforcement were involved.
There were peaceful protests during the day yesterday (Saturday May 30), but a sizable number of those folks chose to violate the curfew.  They had been warned that if they were out after 8 PM, they would be treated as rioters.  The difference in the response to the rioters last night was extreme.  I never thought I would say it, but I loved what I saw on TV as they swooped in, broke up large groups of people, arrested some, etc.  There is also apparently a very active use of intelligence gathering, to identify in advance the rioters’ plans.  It is believed that the rioters are well organized, and are using social media to communicate, disperse, regroup, and wreak havoc on the city.  The most heart-breaking sight is all the burned out and looted small businesses around the city.  Many, many are in the areas which can least afford it – the folks who have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and were already living on the edge.
Where do we live in relation to much of this?  Our home is in Golden Valley, a first-ring suburb.  The closest of the rioting (so far) is about 5 miles from us.  We shop in those areas and drive those streets on a regular basis.  Where I get my hair cut is 12 blocks from the epicenter, and my stylist lives 2 blocks from her shop.  She tells me she hears sirens and smells smoke regularly.  She has been asked to remove her supplies from her shop as there is fear that shop could be torched.
We live about 1/2 mile from a shopping area that could be very vulnerable, though hasn’t been hit yet.  Gary tried to go grocery shopping this morning and multiple stores we use all the time were boarded up.  He finally found one open a little further away, but the shelves were pretty picked over and the checkout lines were much longer than usual.  He could get about 1/3 of the list, and said it was much worse than the beginning of the COVID-19 panic buying.
I am very wary – you could say down right scared, and am having flashbacks to being 17-18 years old in Cincinnati when the riots broke out after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968.  I remember being scared then, and I’m every bit as scared now.
Right now (about 6 PM CDT Sunday May 31) I am seeing on TV that there are massive protests going on, blocking highways that we drive on all the time, and it is suddenly getting really, really ugly.  Everything is happening so fast.  Tonight’s curfew hasn’t even started yet.  Thank you for letting me share – I hope this posting was coherent.
Margaret Macneale

5 Responses to A very difficult week in Minneapolis/St Paul MN

  1. Catherine McKay, New Zealand
    May 31, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you Margaret for sharing. Yes it was very wrong for George to loose
    his life. Stomach wrenching to watch the video on CNN. Very upsetting to
    watch the looting. Hope you will keep safe and bunker down. I looked up
    our hotel was about 11 miles from the situation.
    Hope some positive change will happen.

  2. Leslie Ramsay, New Zealand
    Leslie Ramsay, New Zealand
    May 31, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Margaret,  I  feel for you. What an horrific situation to be in. As if covid 19 isn’t enough to make one feel unsafe. I will be thinking of you.
    Take care Sincerely Lesley Ramsay
    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

  3. David Adams, New Zealand
    June 1, 2020 at 3:03 am

    Leitha and I send our  thoughts and prayers too. Today there have  been  supporting  protests in  NZ  too.


  4. Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland
    Brian Duncan, Northern Ireland
    June 1, 2020 at 3:09 am

    Thanks for the report Margaret from a ‘local’. We’ve neem watching with horror on American TV channels

    Noticing that the police were so under-manned to cope. One fears how it will end and if course it brings back

    memories to the riots, bombings and awful happenings here in Northern Ireland some 20=years ago.

    Keep safe and we trust it will soon be over – and that action will be taken to ensure that it never happens again.

  5. Richard Ezell, Pennsylvania
    June 1, 2020 at 4:48 pm

    What an account! We weep and fear for you. Please stay safe and well and
    keep us informed. Fondly, Rebecca and Richard