Elderberry Jam

June 1

The young people that are fueling these these, the reporters call them protests, and although the intent is about change that label doesn’t seem right to me.  Gathering is too generic.  They are so earnest, almost spiritual at times, but not doctrinaire but peaceful.  20,000 people almost silent on an interstate bridge?  Then a tanker truck comes steaming down the closed road and no one gets killed!  I feel like I’m in some kind of Steven King novel.

I’m recapping conversations here.  Some of us oldsters are arrogantly thinking, this is their  Vietnam protest, we did that, now it’s their turn, good for them.  That thinking is flawed.  This is not that.  First of all, it’s multigenerational, but most of all, it’s so much more focused on the issues of racism , of immigrants, of justice and police unfairness.  And its nuanced, people are living it, it’s not rhetoric about a war thousands of miles away, it’s about their own lives, I’d like to say our, but this 72 year old straight white American born guy, can only understand so much.  I love them, but they are teaching me, they are leadership, I am supporting.

That’s another thing.  We felt more isolated 50 years ago.  Much of the older generation did not share our urgency at the immortality of what our government was doing.  My parents were the exception, but many of my friends were estranged from their parents.  Not so much this time.  From my 93 year old uncle to supportive guardsmen there is no generation gap on support for the young people.  This, in spite of the ugly violence and arson and destruction.

In Minneapolis no one has been killed by the guard or the police.  I know this is not true in other cities, but the response of the Mayor of Atlanta to the police misconduct was amazing.  The elected officials still jump to the tune of the large capitalists.  I think the major fear among them is that Target, Wells Fargo and their like will not reinvest in the city, and the burned out buildings and lack of services will linger and lead to well, their worse nightmare, more poor people and fewer upper middle class.

I think they should chill.  We can rebuild the city, and if we can really figure out how to have a public safety system that keeps people safe then something amazing will happen.  See the problem, we will discover is the gap between resources.  The reason there is intractable crime is because there are people that are hungry while others have private jets.  We will see the connection, that causation with racism and fear of immigrants.  Some people are homeless, or have 15 people in a small apartment while others live in mansions.  To solve the police problem we will need to address what is called income inequality.

Opps I should not. have told you.  Please disregard the previous point.  Let’s just reform the cops.


May 31

It’s morning under martial law here in Minneapolis.  The National Guard can shoot marking rounds and rubber bullets (if you hear “light em up” prepare for pain) if you are sitting on your own front porch.  They can slash the tires of all the cars in a parking lot, and arrest journalists but, hey it’s the fog of war.  Be glad they didn’t bomb a hospital, these things happen you know.

The Gov assured us they were being brought in to protect the city from the “outsiders” not from us.  That lie didn’t even last as long as Tonkin Gulf.

Mayor Carter admitted that his statement that 100% of the arrests in St. Paul were out of state was wrong, it turns out that 100%  were Minnesotans.

Then Waltz said that 80% of the people arrested were out of state but the Star Tribune reports it is the opposite.  In spite of all the rumors of Klan, militias and boogaloos, we have yet to arrest one to be paraded before us, and have no doubt about it.  If they had one, they would parade.

No, the demands on the Governor and Mayor to get the city under control from the business community have been listened to.  And they have met their enemy and it is us.

When an angry person with lack of impulse control throws their cellphone and breaks it, or breaks their television or a piece of pottery, do they feel better?  Maybe momentarily, but then they don’t have a cellphone or a TV or a piece of pottery, and whatever made them angry is still there.

The work is building a peaceful, cooperative, socialist community where we can keep ourselves and each other safe, healthy, and growing.  Burning neighborhood businesses does not move us towards that.  Mutual aid and organizing does.

We learned a lot.  I didn’t know a DOS attack worked on the police.

We learned that we can protect ourselves.  The neighborhood watches, communications have been good.  The Indian Community has shown us all that we could protect our own businesses homes and families and say thanks but go away to the National Guard.

We have rebuilding to do.  No pharmacies at all.  I could do mail order for my drugs, that’s if we had mail service.  No liquor stores so there’s another solution made more difficult.

The biggest winner it looks like will be Amazon, as a lot of stores, from corner stores to Target are gone.  Did Jeff Bezos pay the arsonists?  Now that’s a conspiracy theory that makes sense to me.


May 30

Our neighborhood met to plan safety and mutual support for tonight.  We don’t need the Army.

we brought in our garbage containers, hooked up hoses, signed on to the neighborhood google doc, dug the moat, the alligators and Piranhas have just arrived, the water balloons are loaded in the catapult.

We are ready for the siege.


May 30

Good morning my loving community.  Take a deep breath.  The first thing required in a war is to dehumanize the enemy.  Make them other, call them terrorists, out of town folks, not “legitimate” protesters.  We’ve seen it before.  Some of it may be true, not most of it, and it doesn’t justify martial law.

I am of the generation that saw the guard kill us at Kent State and Jackson State while the Governor called for more of us to be shot.

I believe that public safety does not come from a badge and a gun, I was hoping that the Mayor and the Governor would seek alternatives to armed force to respond to the anger of this week.  It is not to be.

Fear is a powerful way that the people are controlled.  No one wants their neighborhoods burned.  The dumpster fires on 31st that dominated the news last night were scary, my paranoid mind thought almost designed to be.  Fire trucks five blocks away and homes so close.  Obviously meant to terrify.  Still overwhelmingly only commercial buildings damaged.

So now we return to the rule of the iron fist, we see the liberal Mayor and Governor, calling out the largest deployment the National Guard on civilians in history, oh and if that’s not enough, they’ve talked to Trump’s pentagon for additional Military police.  These, we are told are the forces of righteousness and good.  Oh the police are our friends again.

So am I afraid, you bet your ass I am.


May 29th

I urge everyone who has been in crowds in the last few days to get themselves tested.  Please.  Take care of yourself.  You are a precious part of our city, we need you around for a long time.  ❤

The police have not been under control.  The history of the city government trying to control the Cops that I have been part if goes back to the Fraser-Belton administrations in the 80s.  I don’t know before that, bue Eddie probably does.

The sad fact is that the collective bargaining law, the civil service system, and the political power of Police Unions have stymied every effort to rein them in.

We had a civilian review board, but the legislature stripped subpoena power, and enforcement power, so they only could make recommendations to the Chief.  Then when the chief tried to fire or suspend officers, the administrative law judge overturned it.

We put is a residency requirement, and the legislature and the court overturned it.


May 29th

Hello everyone!

Thank you to everyone for checking in. Sadly Gandhi Mahal has caught fire and has been damaged. We won’t loose hope though, I am so greatful for our neighbors who did their best to stand guard and protect Gandhi Mahal, Youre efforts won’t go unrecognized. Don’t worry about us, we will rebuild and we will recover. This is Hafsa, Ruhel’s daughter writing, as I am sitting next to my dad watching the news, I hear him say on the phone; “ let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail”. Gandhi Mahal May have felt the flames last night, but our firey drive to help protect and stand with our community will never die! Peace be with everyone.  #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd #BLM

MIGIZI Communications is gone. My family and many others build this Native organization that has served the Native community for over 40 years. Archives are there. Yes, it is just a building. But to the Native community this is territory, a home we still had here. Our lands stolen. We built this place for all people and many communities were loved, educated and thrived at MIGIZI. I’m heartbroken. My sister has worked there for about 40 years. My mother is a founder. I worked there on and off for 13 years. Countless other Native and non Native people worked there. I’m just heartbroken.

I salute Mayor Frey’s decision to order the police that there would be no loss of life during the protests.  The result of this was a lot of property damage.  The police no doubt hate it, the criticisms will be huge.  It took courage make that call, and I say it was the right one.

I hope he owns up to it.

I also hope he continues to show  courageous leadership, and empowers the community the start a process to redefine what a system of public safety looks like.  One that as much as possible isn’t inherited from a legacy of slavery and colonialism.

I stand ready to assist in this effort.

David Tilsen


May 28th

The precinct has been breached

The police have not been under control.  The history of the city government trying to control the Cops that I have been part if goes back to the Fraser-Belton administrations in the 80s.  I don’t know before that, bue Eddie probably does.

The sad fact is that the collective bargaining law, the civil service system, and the political power of Police Unions have stymied every effort to rein them in.

We had a civilian review board, but the legislature stripped subpoena power, and enforcement power, so they only could make recommendations to the Chief.  Then when the chief tried to fire or suspend officers, the administrative law judge overturned it.

We put is a residency requirement, and the legislature and the court overturned it.

I urge everyone who has been in crowds in the last few days to get themselves tested.  Please.  Take care of yourself.  You are a precious part of our city, we need you around for a long time.  ❤


May 27

So what do I think about the looting at Target, the fire at Auto Zone the acting out?  Well if Minneapolis is a large family then these are our kids and I guess I’m one of the elders, although not one of those in charge.  I guess we need to have some room for this kind of anger.  I mean our city employees just murdered a citizen, and we have a system that makes it very hard to keep it from happening again, and they may not be help accountable.  Even if they are charged and convicted, the system that hires and trains our employees to kill our citizens will be very hard to change.

So yea the kids are angry, they are acting out. I wish we would all be rational and solve this problem, but we aren’t.  Will their action make it easier or harder for the people in charge to be rational?  I don’t know, sometimes violence wakes people up, sometimes not, I’m agnostic on that, but there is room in my society for it in extreme situations.  Even if it wasn’t for Covid, and my suppressed immune system, I wouldn’t go down there, I have inhaled my share of tear gas and batons and bullets.  I’ll put my body on the line when it makes more sense to me, but still, part of me is with them.  Part of my heart wants the police and the owners of Target and the city council and the legislature to wake up.  We must get the police under control. They don’t understand their mission.  I believe we need a new system, a basic, structural, fundamental change.  No more rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. A new chief doesn’t matter to me. Arrondo is as good as we’re gonna get.  I am ready to put my back into the heavy lifting to make this happen.  Who else is?

Well I just (11::00AM through 1:00PM on May 28) did a drive with my daughter as photographer up and down Lake street, from Lunds to Merlin’s.

My initial reaction was that most of The stores are fine.  There is a lot of graffiti, and a few broken windows here and there.  West of Bloomington the looting seems to be focused on

Electronics (mobile providers, apple Store Uptown,

Liquors stores,

Drug stores

Jewelry stores.

Both Wells Fargo banks seemed untouched, Lunds, Midtown Global had some windows broken.

East of Bloomington, the closer you get to Hiawatha the worse it got.

Mercado looked ok, as did Heart of the Beast Theater.  Engebritson’s was cleaning up from window damage and interior damage.  Then we got the shopping center on the West side of 55 and saw our first real Significant damage, fire trucks on the scene, no fronts to buildings, but structure still intact.

Then we crossed 55, and pulled into the the target parking lot.  Across the street from the police precinct.

There are still no guards or police at Target and there were hundreds of people there, some like us looking and taking pictures, others going in and walking away with what’s they could find left on the shelves, or the shelves themselves.

It seems the owners thought it was easier to write off the whole thing than try to save any of it.

The Cub foods had a couple of  store employees keeping people out but the damage and looting looked to be extensive.

Then moving further west, there were burned out buildings, just shells left, three large warehouses, the autozone, the Wendy’s, the Aldy’s.  The fire department was there still spraying, waterfalls of water coming out of third stories. Terrible smell, heat still radiating from the buildings.

Moving West down Lake we saw more damaged buildings, what looked like an apartment building, many storefronts hit.  This part of Lake Street was hit much harder than East of 55.  Still most restaurants were fine, Sonora, Merlins, Tim Hortons, looked untouched.  Northern Sun looked ok, the library seemed fine.

The McDonalds was trashed, no glass left.  That was the scene of a shooting. Gandhi Mahal had cleaned up by the time we got there but we were told they had some windows broken.

A crowd was gathering in front of the precinct, and we decided to head for home.

We took a lot of photos, both video and still.

Ok, so now they have decided we are bad little boys and girls and we have been sent to our room without supper.  No bus service, no mail service.  We can go ahead and loot all the businesses we want. They don’t care.

Noon today at Hiawatha Target no guards, no police, just people taking what’s left.  Bizarre  Would they do this to Mendota Heights or Woodbury?  I don’t think so.  All because we don’t want a psychopath to be hired to kill us all with our own tax dollars.


May 26

“Ok, I probably should sit back and think before I write about this, and of course I will, but right now my enraged public policy wonk is shouting at me to write so here goes.

You can’t have public safety without trust between the police and the citizens.

Seriously, that may sound like a platitude, but it’s actually a basis for policy.  Police need cooperation from citizens to be successful in their basic mission.  They cannot get that cooperation unless they are trusted.

On the other hand when they do not trust the citizens or, I guess more accurately, ate unsure who to trust, or when and where, they do not engage constructively or at all.

Remember when the former Police chief didn’t even show up for a planned forum at Sabathani because “her safety could not be assured”.  All of the elected officials and several hundred citizens were there.  What message did they receive?  We need constructive work on this.  The current Civil Service law and collective bargaining structure is not helpful to the kind of structural tectonic plate kind of change we need to make here.  Will it take a Federal Judge to change things like it did with school desegregation?  I hope not, for it is too dull and undemocratic of a tool.

What I mean here is we need the thing to change so fundamentally that who we hire who they report to, how they are trained, what they see as there mission has to change in order for us to get what we need.

The change should developed as part of a participatory community planning process that is independent of any government agency, but funded by them.

I’m too upset and angry right now to write more, but the goal should be public safety, not jobs, revenge, or political careers.”

David Tilsen


Public Safety is not something a city can buy, it is a public responsibility.  We have made the mistake of thinking the police can provide it, and they obviously can’t.  They can kill someone who is accused of passing a bad bill, and standing by while Lake Street burns.

As for what happened, let’s not make excuses, but know the context.  Covid-19 and the Governor shut down the entire economy of the Phillips and Longfellow neighborhoods, which rely on hospitality, retail and gig economy.  I have read estimates of 30 to 40% unemployment in the neighborhood with larger for POC young and old community.  We see dishonesty, corruption and support for the rich from the government.

Then the murder of George Floyd, with the protests over the need for Police accountability.

So the hungry, poor, angry, people who haven’t been able to support themselves or their families take advantage, or whatever.

What I am doing is thinking about What kind of system we could have where it would not be the enemy of hungry people in the community.  Do police need to exist to protect the rich from the poor?  Is that why they were created?  I think we need a new definition of public safety.

We need to start over.  Redefine public safety, it obviously isn’t what we have now, and the design a system that is based on something real.  Get rid of all preconceived notions of how we keep our communities safe.  Do we need to primarily hire uniformed armed enforcers?  Perhaps.  Who should they report to? What should their mission be?  How many do we need?  What else do we need?

It is the responsibility of the city government to provide public safety, but the way they are providing it does not appear to be working for many of us.

We are not treated as citizens, we are treated as enemies, that does not keep us safe.

Ask children, if they are walking to a friends house and they see a policeman up ahead in their path, what is their reaction.  ONLY 15% FEEL MORE SAFE!

We need to rethink the current model.  Not just hire different people, not just hire a new chief.



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