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Report: Gun violence costs Minnesota taxpayers the bulk of $764 million each year

REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

Your precious Second Amendment rights are kind of expensive. In the Strib, Karen Zamora writes, “An April shooting at a law office on St. Paul’s Cathedral Hill exacted a tragic toll, cutting short the promising life of 23-year-old law clerk Chase Passauer. The crime also had major economic repercussions. The costs of the investigation and incarceration, workers’ compensation payments and burial expenses added up to roughly $7 million — $2 million of it footed by Minnesota taxpayers. Those figures appear in a study released Thursday by the self-described bipartisan advocacy group Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense. The report focuses on the high, sometimes hidden economic cost of firearm crimes. Taxpayers pay a vast majority of the $764 million directly associated with the average of 922 shootings that kill or injure Minnesotans every year, it says.”

Here’s a good one from Tom Howard of the Billings Gazette. “A former oil company executive from Minnesota has been ordered to repay $6.5 million in ‘ill-gotten gains,’ plus a fine and accrued interest, in the wake of a stock manipulation scheme involving a North Dakota oil loading facility for which he and business associates reaped an estimated $32 million. An Oct. 31 order from the federal Securities and Exchange Commission puts Michael L. Reger on the hook for nearly $8 million for his involvement with Dakota Plains Holdings, a Minnesota company that owns the oil terminal in New Town in northwest North Dakota.”

On her Bluestem Prairie blog, Sally Jo Sorensen connects the dots. “Could the article be about former Northern Gas and Oil executive Michael Reger, whose giving to Minnesota Republicans and its allies (the Minnesota Jobs Coalition and the Republican State Leadership Committee) we chronicled on our March 2015 post Merchants of Daudt I: flipping the MN house on the rising plume of North Dakota oil money? Yeah, it’s that guy. … We’d wondered where Reger, who contributed $71,250.00 to Minnesota Republican candidates and friendly commitees between 2006-2014 (MN CFB searchable database here), had washed up, as he disappeared from Republican campaign finance reports this cycle.”

Contained, apparently. The Forum News Service says, “No additional deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease from samples collected this fall in southeastern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Nearly one-third of all deer harvested during southeastern Minnesota’s first firearms deer season and the first three days of the second season were tested for CWD. Only two of the 2,866 deer tested returned positive results. Both were harvested about 1 mile apart west of Lanesboro.” And while we’re at it, if we’re getting over this politically correct thing, is it OK now to say deer were “killed”, or do we have to stay with “harvested”?

Bye, bye Macy’s. Says Adam Platt at Twin Cities Business, “Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc. has informed the City of Minneapolis and key downtown stakeholders that it intends to close its flagship store on Nicollet Mall in 2017, and that it has no plans to maintain a retail presence there, according to multiple sources who requested anonymity. These sources say they have been asked to maintain a veil of silence until the company is ready to announce its plans, lest a public announcement accelerate the closing or imperil redevelopment of the site. City officials believe Macy’s is close to a sale agreement to a developer, but asbestos-removal concerns have delayed it.” I’m pretty sure I’ve been in it in the past ten years.

Did the kid get permission to sleep in the next morning? Loren Nelson for the Minnesota Hockey Hub reports, “Morris/Benson senior goaltender Tony Bruns is so accustomed to facing insanely high numbers of shots each game that he brushes aside mass amounts of flying pucks as effortlessly as a northwoods outdoorsman swats mosquitoes. In his four seasons as a starter for the Storm, Bruns routinely has made 40, 50, 60 and even 70-plus stops in a single game. So he didn’t even entertain the notion he was in the midst of what is believed to be a state- and national-record performance on Saturday in a season-opening 12-0 loss to Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato. On the bus ride home, Bruns, who had mentioned to Morris/Benson coach Jeremiah Day that he had never been so sore after a game, glanced at the scoresheet and saw his save total. Ninety-eight.” His buddies might need to clean up their defense.

Where can you go to get away with sexual assault? A Minnesota campus. Maura Lerner of the Strib says, “Nearly 300 complaints of sexual assault were reported to Minnesota colleges or universities in 2015, and 79 resulted in disciplinary action greater than a warning, according to information made public under a new state law. The report, released Thursday, is the first of its kind to publicly track the outcome of sexual assault investigations on Minnesota campuses. It shows, among other things, that only 56 percent of the 294 sexual assault complaints resulted in a formal investigation on campus. Many cases were dropped before an investigation could be completed, the report found, in part because victims chose not to cooperate.”

OMG, Wisconsin. Says Tom Scheck for MPR, “Two Republican-backed political groups are asking a federal court to stop a statewide recount of Wisconsin’s presidential election votes that launched Thursday. They claim that Wisconsin election officials won’t have enough time to process the recount by the federal government’s Dec. 13 deadline. Missing the deadline, they argue, would violate Wisconsin voters’ rights to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. ‘The Due Process Clause protects fundamental rights, such as the fundamental right to vote when state legislatures have chosen to allocate presidential electors based on the outcome of the popular vote’, the complaint said.” Translation: We’ve got enough dark money to throw a dozen lawyers at this thing.

Oh, this sets up a political clash. Says Ricardo Lopez of the Strib, “State political leaders gearing up for a contentious budget battle at the Capitol next year expect a modest surplus to be reported Friday, when budget officials unveil their twice-yearly economic and budget forecast. The budget number is a closely held secret until forecast day, but legislative leaders predict the surplus will likely be in the neighborhood of $729 million — the amount left on the bottom line after the last legislative session. The report’s release sets the stage for a political clash over tax cuts, health care spending and a renewed push for road-and-bridge funding.”

Nice digs. Someone should have made a long, public, self-righteous commotion about the grandiosity and waste of it all. Brian Bakst at MPR reports, “A tangible sign of the coming shift in Minnesota Senate power came Thursday when ascendant Republicans moved their furniture, file folders, knickknacks and wall-hung taxidermy into the prime spots of the Senate Office Building they long railed against. A 34-33 seat advantage, pending a recount next week that begins with their candidate ahead, gives Republicans the probable majority starting in January. The move was a foregone conclusion no matter how the election turned out, because the old minority Senate offices across the street are slated to be re-purposed. Republicans refused to join DFLers in a move to the new Senate-only building in January 2016, saying the $90 million structure was unnecessary, and it would be cheaper if they remained put. ‘We saved a marginal amount of money,’ said Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound.”  

Hey, if you want to turn this around what you do is threaten to move to Mexico and see how much the gubmint suddenly kicks in. Says Dee DePass of the Strib, “Midwest factories shed jobs for a fifth consecutive month in November. The Mid-America Business Conditions Index, which is conducted by Creighton University and covers Minnesota and eight other states, rose to 46.5 from 43.8 in October, the university said Thursday. Even so, regional producers failed to rise above the critical mark of 50, which signals growth, for a fifth month. Minnesota did not escape crushing production trends that are impacting the entire region. While the state had performed better than peer states during the past few months, the state index matched the regional one at 46.5, dropping down from 48.7 in October.”

If you want a cruise down memory lane, or at least down Hennepin Avenue circa 1978, with Dave Moore at the wheel, check out the old WCCO-TV clip up at TCMediaNow.

Re-applying is pretty much a full-time job. Says Christopher Snowbeck for the Strib, “For the second straight year, more than 300,000 people covered by state insurance programs will need to find a new health plan to manage their care. Minnetonka-based Medica says it will not renew its contract as an HMO for most in the Medicaid and MinnesotaCare programs due to mounting financial losses. The insurance company gave notice in a Nov. 30 letter that’s prompting the state Department of Human Services (DHS) to find other insurers that can fill the gap that’s coming in May. It’s another example of health insurance upheaval following months of discord in Minnesota’s individual market, plus the promise of sweeping change at the federal level.”

Wait a gosh darn minute! Everyone and Megyn Kelly knows Santa Claus is … white! Says Liz Sawyer for the Strib, “This week, for the first time in the Mall of America’s 24-year history, a black Santa will greet families for annual Christmas photos. ‘This is a long time coming’, said Landon Luther, co-owner of the Santa Experience, which has run the intimate photo studio at the mall for 10 years. ‘We want Santa to be for everyone, period’. The mall offers a free, wait-in-line-with-the-masses Santa, as well as the book-an-appointment Santa Experience, which this year added a second location at the Bloomington megamall. The appointments require purchase of a photo package.”

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Max Hailperin on 12/02/2016 - 07:26 am.

    Getting away with sexual assault

    Your headline about the campus sexual assault statistics is a cheap shot that misrepresents the truth. Although we have some new statistics supporting the already known fact that on-campus sexual assaults often go unpunished, nothing in this report suggests that campuses are particularly good places to get away with a sexual assault. As it happens, many sexual assaults off campus go unpunished too — even more than on-campus. Getting away with sexual assault on-campus is less easy than off-campus, contrary to your headline’s implication. Off-campus assaults can generally only be punished through the onerous criminal justice system, whereas on-campus assaults can also be punished through the more balanced campus disciplinary system, which is how 79 out of 300 came to result in punishment. This rate of 26% needs to be put in context of the criminal justice system’s rates if you want to portray campuses as the place to get away with sexual assault.

    So, let me provide a start on that context. The Office for Victims of Crime reports (based on 2011 data) that only 34.5% of rape/sexual assault cases handled by police were “cleared” meaning that they ended with the police *either* making an arrest *or* with them closing the case for a reason such as a victim choosing not to cooperate or declining to prosecute. (That leaves 65.5% that were essentially left without any resolution.) Of the 34.5% that were “cleared,” only 59.2% resulted in an arrest as opposed to the matter being dropped. That amounts to 20% of the original reports ending (from a police perspective) in arrest — which is the start of the pipeline so far as prosecution, trial, conviction, and punishment. I don’t have the statistics ready to hand on those later stages of the pipeline, but they definitely whittle down the numbers yet further, such that even less than 20% the reported rapes and sexual assaults are being punished. Put that up against the post-secondary institutions providing disciplinary sanctions in 26% of reported sexual assaults, and you see that that those trying to get away with sexual assault should stay *off* of Minnesota’s campuses.

    • Submitted by Bill Phillips on 12/02/2016 - 11:07 am.


      Well, some of Mr. Hailperin’s comments are on point for how our society fails to deal with sexual assaults, but the vague “disciplinary action” in 79 of the 300 actions in on-campus assaults doesn’t really compare to a criminal conviction, and shouldn’t be the basis for any statistical analysis. Without knowing more about the respective “disciplinary actions,” or even how many of those were referred to the “onerous” criminal justice system for legal action, it’s impossible to determine whether those actions have any effect on offenders, or are just a slap on the wrist.

      • Submitted by Max Hailperin on 12/02/2016 - 04:34 pm.

        See the original article

        Mr. Phillips will find there the number out of the 300 that were referred to local law enforcement.

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