Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, is chair of the Minnesota House of Representatives committee that focuses on "public safety." That means he wields a lot of power on laws regarding criminal justice, guns, and police.
It also means his letters to the Star Tribune are more likely than the average civilian's to get published in the paper's Op-Ed section. Even if they read like they were ripped from your uncle's Facebook page.
Cornish, a former game warden who briefly served as a deputy sheriff in Blue Earth County, submitted an opinion piece that reads like a direct response to the sad case of Jamar Clark, the 24-year-old black man killed, while unarmed, during an altercation with Minneapolis police last year. That, or the Star Tribune's recent powerful, heartbreaking series on Minnesotans who've been killed by police.
Cornish's editorial is a little... what's the word the college kids are using now? Problematic. That's it.
It's pitched as a response to calls from "some advocacy groups" — a reference to Black Lives Matter, the NAACP, the ACLU, and many other parts of the alphabet — that want to cut "the use of force by police." Cornish clearly doesn't think this is the cops' responsibility. He offers a list of suggestions for how civilians could reduce the need for cops to rough them up or shoot them.
They are these:
There's sort of a logical fallacy with that first item there. Some people "come into frequent contact with police" not because they're "a thug," but because they live in the wrong neighborhood and look like what some people think of when they think of "a thug." And when those people think of what looks like "a thug" they don't picture an old white guy.
No one's arguing with No. 2 except pharmaceutical companies. No. 3 — "Go home" after 2 a.m. — would be a tough one for the all-night diners and grocery stores, but we imagine Cornish is writing about a certain sort of "street" you're not supposed to be on late at night.
The Fourth and Fifth Corn-mandments are basically telling someone how they should be peaceably, willingly arrested. Not everyone's so good with authority, though. And some are already afraid they're going to get beat up by the cops.
No. 6? We're cool with No. 6. So long as it extends to the guys who wear badges, too.
In the sign-off to his list, Cornish writes that he and his eight siblings were the grandchildren of a guy who did time in the Stillwater Prison, and none attained a college degree. Despite this disadvantage, none "turned to a life of crime."
Rather the opposite, in Cornish's case. He's the biggest cop booster in the Legislature by some margin, and will side with the police/prosecute/prison lobby on just about anything that comes up, or that they bring up... with the exception of guns. If cops want fewer guns on the street, to lessen the risk to civilians, or, say, to cops, they're shit out of luck.
That is: The guy holding the gavel on the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee thinks the best thing we can do for "Crime Prevention Policy," and lessening the tension between police and people, has nothing to do with having fewer guns on the streets, and everything to do with you taking your hands out of your pockets.
What do you think it is that cops are afraid might be in some "thug's" pocket, Tony?
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