Article by: Paul Walsh
All they are saying is give peace a chance.
A nonpartisan and independent think tank in the nation's capital has crunched reams of data and says that Minnesota ranks among the most "peaceful" states in the union.
The "United States Peace Index," released Thursday by the Institute for Economics and Peace, ranked the states based on five "absence of violence" indicators based on statistics collected by the federal government: homicides, violent crimes, percentage of population incarcerated, number of police officers and availability of small arms. (underline, my emphasis added - DG)
Leading the way in peacefulness, according to the institute, is Maine. Next are: New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, North Dakota, Utah, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa and Washington.
At the other end of the list, Louisiana brings up the rear at 50th.
The institute says that New York, California and Texas have been getting more peaceful since 1991, while North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana saw the largest declines.
The index found that a state's ranking is strongly connected to factors such as high school graduation rates, infant mortality, access to basic services, employment, poverty and teen pregnancy. But factors such as median income and a state's partisan political leanings had no discernible impact on a state's peacefulness, the institute added.
In presenting its findings, the institute said that a more peaceful nation could save many billions of dollars and create more than 2.5 million jobs.
For more information, visit http://www.visionofhumanity.org/.
I like Walsh's writing in the STrib; but it made a particularly interesting contrast with this story in the same edition, in part also written by Walsh:
The well-dressed man waved down the Red and White Taxi cab at a major intersection in south Minneapolis early Thursday and gave the driver an apparently bogus address in the north metro.We here in MN may be one of the 'safer' states, but it seems to me we still have quite a lot of gun violence in comparison to other places - say the UK - in comparison. I found it interesting that availability of small arms was a factor considered for the first article. It does seem that countries with less availability also do have less gun violence... and not a big increase in other forms of violence in compensation for the lower availability of fire arms. Reducing fire arms does seem to be a factor in reducing violence (especially from fire arms).
It was about 5 a.m. He smelled of alcohol but didn't appear drunk, said Pat White, general manager of Red and White Taxi. The driver thought the man looked like a professional going home after a late night at the office, but in minutes the cabdriver had a gun pressed against his head. The suspect ordered the cabdriver out of the car and then led authorities on a 40-minute chase across the metro before being shot and killed by police.
Authorities provided few details about the case, declining to discuss a possible motive or the last moments of the pursuit in which the suspect faced off with six law enforcement officials on northbound Interstate 35E just south of Forest Lake.
It's unclear how many of the officers fired their guns and whether the suspect fired his gun or threatened the officers.
Dave Bjerga, superintendent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said authorities would not reveal much more until the officers -- three State Patrol troopers, two Brooklyn Park police officers and one Minneapolis police officer -- were interviewed.
"There's a lot of information that needs to be collected here, and in fairness of everyone involved in this incident, we need to make sure that the information is accurate and complete," he said.
Authorities are reviewing camera footage taken from squad cars.
The suspect's identity has not been released, pending an autopsy and notification of relatives. An ambulance carrying his body left the scene of the shooting about 10 a.m. as investigators searched the area for evidence, closing the northbound lanes of I-35E until early afternoon.
No one else was injured.
According to White: The cabdriver grew suspicious of the suspect because he knew the address was fake. The driver asked the suspect how he intended to pay, and the suspect said with a credit card. They were in the Lowry Tunnel on Interstate 94 when the suspect then suddenly pressed a gun to the driver's head, ordered him out, robbed him and took off in the cab.
"He told him to get out of the car or he was going to kill him," White said.
Authorities pursued the suspect across the metro until the stolen cab hit spike strips authorities had laid across I-35E at 80th Street in Columbus, sending it into a ditch. Police shot and killed the man while approaching the vehicle, according to the state Department of Public Safety.
A gun allegedly used by the suspect was recovered at the scene.
Authorities said the pursuit reached high speeds but declined to say how fast.
"We are fortunate, and in fact the public is very fortunate," that no one was hurt, Bjerga said. "It's quite a lengthy chase."
The cabdriver, who has been with Red and White for a few months, is doing fine, White said.
"He was in very good shape physically and mentally," White said. "He did everything right. He was calm and collected."
The driver, a Minneapolis man in his early 30s who was not identified, spent the day at home after the incident but planned to return to work Friday, White said.
All of Red and White Taxi's 52 cabs have an emergency button that when pressed freezes all computer screens at the company's Franklin Street office, warning of a "driver emergency." The cab's location is also mapped automatically so dispatchers can call for help. The carjacking Thursday occurred so quickly that the driver did not have time to react, White said.
The officers were placed on standard administrative leave, which is routine practice.
It is not a desirable 'freedom' to have more violence, and more weapons. It is just stupid.