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Chauvin Verdict Statement

Less than 24 hours after the guilty on all counts verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvinl, I write this letter with mixed feelings.  I am so thankful the jurors saw the video of George Floyd’s death for what it was–murder. I am so thankful for our community members who have showed up to protest injustices, who provided shelter and medical care to protestors, and who cleaned up our communities. I am proud of the students who organized a walk-out this past Monday, and proud of the difficult conversations many of us had with friends and family.

Simultaneously, I am heartbroken. I am heartbroken that George Floyd had to be murdered for us to see a small shift in the justice system; that Black and brown folks, especially those identifying as male, continue to be at a significantly higher risk of being killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts. I am absolutely devastated that, even while we waited for the verdict in this case, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and, just minutes before the verdict was read yesterday, Makiyah Bryant, were killed by law enforcement. Friends, our work is just beginning.

The truth is that the U.S. policing system was built on assumed heterosexual white male superiority. Yes, there are many good cops who risk their lives to truly serve the best interests of their communities.  However, those upstanding officers are not able to thrive in an environment that continues to protect and uphold the assumed superiority complexes. If we want to protect our Black and brown neighbors, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and the good cops, we need to advocate for police accountability.

Make no mistake, police violence is gun violence. That’s why we’re joining organizations like CAIR-MN, the ACLU of Minnesota, and the Urban League Twin Cities, among many others, in calling for a larger approach to reforming policing in Minnesota. We are asking our supporters to contact their legislators and encourage them to support the proposed police accountability laws (listed below) before the end of the 2021 session.  

Thank you for your continued support of Protect Minnesota as we work to make ALL Minnesotans safe from gun violence.

In solidarity & peace,

Rashmi

Thinking of Buying a Pistol? Doing So Is "Against Medical Advice" and We Urge You to Think Again

Authors: Thomas E. Kottke, MD, MSPH, Protect Minnesota Board Member; Caleb Schultz, MD, MPH, Protect Minnesota Advocacy Fund Board Member

The shooting and bombing at the Buffalo Allina Health Clinic was yet another chapter in our country’s ongoing saga of gun violence. This senseless act, perpetrated on health care workers, is especially horrific for us as physicians because we care for people who have been shot. Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic, healthcare workers were praised as heroes because they went to the front lines of a battle against a deadly viral foe without adequate protection. After the shooting, we wonder whether our next protection needs to be a bulletproof vest.

And what was our community’s response for the healthcare hero victims of the Buffalo Clinic shooting? Thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers?! Such empty words are about as effective against gun violence as they would be against COVID-19.

A tragically common and dangerous community response to events like the Buffalo Clinic shooting has been to buy more guns. It happened after the Capitol domestic terrorist attack and start of the COVID-19 pandemic, too. Maybe it is because folks have a “good guy with a gun” fantasy and believe they will stop the next mass shooter before he kills. Far more likely to happen is one of the following scenarios: 

  • You shoot and kill yourself either accidentally or in a moment of despair; 
  • You shoot and kill a member of your household, either accidentally or in a moment of anger; 
  • a member of your household, perhaps even a young child, shoots and kills you, a parent, a brother, a sister or a visitor to your home; 
  • a member of your household takes your pistol to school or work and kills or shoots someone or many;
  • an intruder disarms you and shoots or kills you or another member of your household with your own pistol;
  • an intruder disarms you and holding your own pistol to you at gunpoint commits egregious acts of violence against you or another member of your household
  • an intruder targets your home for robbery to steal your pistol and then uses it in a crime, killing someone in the process.

History and the best available science shows that each one of these scenarios is far more likely to occur than you confronting and stopping a mass shooter. So, think again, change your mind, and decide not to buy a pistol.

If you decide to ignore “doctor’s orders” and buy a pistol anyway, please do the following:

  • Attend a firearm safety course and pay attention
  • Buy an RFID biometric pistol lockbox (about $100) and keep your pistol in it at all times.

Everyone you come in contact with will be safer as a result, but still less safe than if you did not buy a pistol in the first place.

Statement on the Trial of Derek Chauvin

March 4, 2021

Next week, our community will watch as the murderer of George Floyd goes to trial. Protect Minnesota calls for justice in this case, and we assert as an organization that Black lives matter. This one case is emblematic of so many other Black humans who have been killed by police violence, and by the systemic racism in our country and here in Minnesota that denies justice for their deaths. Breonna Taylor, Laquan McDonald, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Jamar Clark, Philando Castile, and so many others have lost their lives to the white supremacy that is still alive and well in our country―the white supremacy that let Derek Chauvin believe he had the right to kneel on the neck of George Floyd until he suffocated to death.

There is no doubt that police violence is gun violence. Whether or not a gun was directly used in the violence enacted by a police officer, the fact that police in this country carry guns into every situation they walk into introduces the threat of gun violence wherever they are involved. We know who the communities are that face the threat of this police gun violence daily. Black communities are over-targeted and overpoliced, discriminated against at every level of the criminal justice system, and are fatally shot by police at twice the rate of their representation in the population.

There is no gun violence prevention movement that doesn’t also call for an end to police violence and an end to systemic racism in our criminal justice system, because systemic racism causes gun violence and police violence. Join Protect Minnesota in calling for justice for George Floyd; join us as your neighbors in demanding a reform to policing and an end to the endemic white supremacy that led to his death.

Statement on Anti-Asian Violence

Protect Minnesota condemns in the strongest terms the surge of anti-Asian violence and hate crimes across the country. Everyone in our community deserves to be safe from violence in every form, including gun violence. Xenophobic, racist rhetoric that villanizes Asian people and spurs on acts of violence against them has taken that safety away from Asian communities. White supremacy plays a central role in allowing lies to be told about Asian Americans by those at the highest level of government, and in the fact that violence against Asians has been overlooked by so many for so long.

A vital step in ending these attacks is to speak out and acknowledge the reality of their existence. In 2020, there was 150% increase in reports of anti-Asian hate crimes in the country’s most populous cities. We encourage our members to seek out Asian voices, stories, and histories to stand in solidarity with the Asian community, and to emphasize the full humanity and dignity of Asian people. We demand that our government officials condemn anti-Asian violence and put appropriate measures in place to stop its continuance. We commit, in this and every situation, to calling out racism and racist acts whenever we see them.

Events

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Safe Firearm Storage Advocacy in Minnesota

Thursday, April 22, 2021, 7:00-8:00pm

Doctors for America is teaming up with Protect Minnesota and Be Smart for Kids to provide training and resources to physicians and medical students about how to promote health when asking about firearm storage – during a pandemic.

In this free, one-hour virtual conversation, you will learn how you can help get training provided on safe storage in your own clinic or residency program.

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