Like beads on a string

This morning’s StarTribune carries a number of stories Views from the Edge ties together like beads on a string. The string is our culture’s addiction to violence.

Bead #1: Madison students protest shooting [Section A,  p. 1 & 5, reprint from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and local Madison high school students marched to the State Capitol where “about 1,500 protested the death of Tony Robinson, 19, who was shot and killed by a Madison Police Officer Friday night.” Tony Robinson was black; the officer is white.

“Madison Police Chief Mike Koval issued an apology on his blog,

Reconciliation cannot begin without my stating ‘I am sorry’, and I don’t think I can say this enough. I am sorry. I hope that, with time, Tony’s family and friends can search their hearts to render some measure of forgiveness.

Protesters honored the urging of the Robinson family that protests be peaceful.

Bead #2: U of Oklahoma kicks fraternity off campus for racial chants [p. 3, re-print from the New York Times]

No sooner had that nation observed the 50th Anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” in Selma, Alabama than University President David Boren shut down the local chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma. Boren ordered members of the fraternity to remove their things from the frat house by midnight at which time the house would be closed.

The closing came after videos showed a group of young men in formal attire “riding a bus and singing a chant laden with anti-black slurs and at least one reference to lynching.”  A student group calling itself the Unheard Movement had posted the video on YouTube and identified the men as members of the local SAE chapter.

The video contains this message: “This video contains language that is offensive, disrespectful and unacceptable. Even after 50 years after the events that occurred in Selma, Alabama, we will have a reason to march. We as a people have come a long way, but yet still have so far to go.”

Bead #3: Boy shoots girlfriend, kills self  [Twin Cities & Region Section, p. 1]

The 14 year-old girlfriend, who’d been shot in the chest and face, was later alert enough to tell investigators her 15 year-old boyfriend had been “playing” with the gun when it went off accidentally.  After the gun went off, the distraught boyfriend ran outside with the handgun. He was found face down with the gun nearby. According to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office “there are no additional suspects being sought and no specific concern to public safety with regard to this incident.”

The string: American culture’s addition to violence, racism, and guns, and the increasing number of Americans who are joining “the Unheard Movement” to say “Enough!”




5 thoughts on “Like beads on a string

    • Thanks, Mona. It struck me reading the paper today. I didn’t include the 47 U.S. Senators who wrote to Iran and several other stories that could have made the cut. The stories are there every morning, as you know too well. Perhaps one could say that America’s addiction to violence and guns is “exceptional”.


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