Why’d it hap­pen?

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES - Mike Master­son Mike Master­son is a long­time Arkansas jour­nal­ist. Email him at mmas­ter­son@arkansason­line.com.

Events in states far re­moved from our own some­times seem to beg for com­ment purely for the sat­is­fac­tion of know­ing I’ve put my opin­ion on pub­lic record.

That’s just what hap­pened July 15 in Minneapolis. There, po­lice say, 31-year-old po­lice of­fi­cer Mo­hamed Noor, a So­mali-born Amer­i­can, col­lege grad­u­ate and re­ported “di­ver­sity hire,” while seated in the pas­sen­ger’s seat along­side his part­ner in their pa­trol car, shot Jus­tine Ruszczyk Da­mond, a 40-year-old Aus­tralian na­tional and bride-to-be who had sum­moned them to in­ves­ti­gate a sus­pected crime in a nearby al­ley.

So what hap­pened? News ac­counts said Jus­tine ap­proached the cruiser’s driver’s side door in her pa­ja­mas about 11:30 p.m. to talk and was shot im­me­di­ately. Both of­fi­cers’ body cams and the cam­era in­side the pa­trol car were re­ported to have been off at the time Noor fired his fa­tal bul­let through the driver’s side win­dow into the woman’s ab­domen.

As of dead­line at week’s end, the Minneapolis Po­lice De­part­ment (who, along with that city’s mayor, were pub­licly re­joic­ing two years ago be­cause Noor had been hired as a So­mali of­fi­cer) wasn’t talk­ing.

Can’t say as I blame them con­sid­er­ing the mas­sive ram­i­fi­ca­tions and rip­ple ef­fects this stun­ning act caused.

Noor’s pres­ence on the po­lice force in light of the way Da­mond was so need­lessly slain raises le­git­i­mate ques­tions. Why was this for­mer prop­erty and ho­tel man­ager hired? It ap­pears to have been a po­lit­i­cal move to pacify the na­tion’s swelling So­mali pop­u­la­tion Min­nesota has in­vited in. The 2010 cen­sus shows about 25,000 of an es­ti­mated 85,000 So­ma­lis in the U.S. live in Min­nesota, most ar­riv­ing as UN refugees in re­cent years.

The con­ser­va­tive news out­let World Net Daily re­ported that Noor is one of five So­mali of­fi­cers hired through the Minneapolis de­part­ment’s af­fir­ma­tive ac­tion pro­gram. The city re­port­edly has had a dif­fi­cult time re­cruit­ing mi­nor­ity can­di­dates.

A story pub­lished in the United King­dom’s Daily Mail said Noor had told friends (whom the news­pa­per later in­ter­viewed) that he was star­tled to see a woman ap­proach­ing them in the dark af­ter hear­ing a loud bang and thought she might be armed. So he shot her.

The news ac­count also said Noor told friends that he felt iso­lated for his race be­cause he is “an im­mi­grant, a Mus­lim and not white.” The Min­nesota Bureau of Crim­i­nal Ap­pre­hen­sion is­sued a state­ment three days af­ter the shoot­ing say­ing Noor was re­fus­ing to be in­ter­viewed, the Mail said. Noor also had two open com­plaints filled against him when this hap­pened, ac­cord­ing to news ac­counts.

This slay­ing has the un­for­tu­nate po­ten­tial to be­come far more ma­lig­nant when you con­sider the ob­vi­ous cloud it in­vari­ably casts over so many good and de­cent So­mali refugees in the na­tion to­day. But the ugly thing is what it is. And in­no­cent oth­ers un­for­tu­nately will feel the ram­i­fi­ca­tions from this sin­gle rash act.

Noor al­ready has been cast in some me­dia as the “Killer Cop” from Somalia who for a rea­son po­lice couldn’t or wouldn’t ex­plain killed the beau­ti­ful yoga in­struc­tor who’d needed his help. The whys lin­ger­ing over that life-al­ter­ing mo­ment will swirl around the is­sue for as long as he and his fam­ily live.

I no­ticed some me­dia ini­tially steered clear of re­veal­ing Noor’s cho­sen faith. The fact is that he is an ac­knowl­edged Mus­lim. And that fact can’t help but fuel ques­tions, sus­pi­cions and un­in­formed gen­er­al­iza­tions in light of on­go­ing ji­hadist vi­o­lence in Amer­ica and many other na­tions world­wide. To not ac­knowl­edge this fact about Noor is to choose avoid­ance and de­nial over pre­sent­ing facts to the pub­lic un­der the twisted ra­tio­nale of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness.

And any news­pa­per I know that pur­pose­fully doesn’t ex­plain fully what it knows as fact be­cause of a purely ide­o­log­i­cal need to feel pro­tec­tive of any spe­cific group earns nei­ther cred­i­bil­ity nor trust from its read­ers.

So, with­out facts from the Minneapolis po­lice to sep­a­rate ru­mors and sup­po­si­tion from truth, so many ques­tions are left to dan­gle with­out even one worth­while ex­pla­na­tion. And this is one po­lice shoot­ing that badly needs hon­est pub­lic ex­pla­na­tion and a rapid res­o­lu­tion even with­out the con­spic­u­ously miss­ing bused-in ri­ot­ers and loot­ing.

Out­house over well

Yes­ter­day in my on­line col­umn I lamented the loss of com­mon sense across so­ci­ety with sev­eral ex­am­ples. And some­how, I man­aged to over­look the most ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple of all.

It re­quires zero com­mon sense, as in nada, for a state’s gov­ern­ment to quickly and qui­etly al­low a hog fac­tory con­tain­ing up to 6,500 swine to set up a mega-raw-waste-pro­duc­ing fa­cil­ity within the pre­cious Buf­falo Na­tional River wa­ter­shed only six miles above this eco­nomic and recre­ational boon to Arkansas and its peo­ple.

This il­log­i­cal move is akin to the ap­palling lack of com­mon sense among those who would build their out­house for a very large fam­ily above their well.

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