Minneapolis was ground zero for the riots and outright lawlessness in the wake of the death of George Floyd. When the dust settled, entire city blocks were nothing but rubble and burned out husks of businesses.
Yet it didn’t necessarily have to be this way.
It seems a local ordinance in the city actually barred businesses from being able to take a proactive step to protect their property.
Yet even in the face of wanton destruction and violence, city ordinances are preventing Minneapolis business owners from protecting themselves and their property. As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the city currently bans exterior security shutters. These are the type of shutters they pull down over a mall storefront when it closes, that would make it much harder to break in and loot it. They also prevent windows from being broken, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace.
Why are security shutters banned in Minneapolis? Because city officials say they “cause visual blight,” and “create the impression that an area is ‘unsafe’ and ‘troublesome.’”
Now, many business owners are running up against this regulation as they seek to protect their reopened stores from future flare-ups of violence. (The earlier riots destroyed at least 1,500 Minneapolis businesses.) Liquor store owner John Wolf saw his store looted after rioters broke in through his windows and stole more than $1 million in alcohol. He’s fuming at the city regulations that stop him from protecting his property.
“Times have changed,” Wolf told the Star-Tribune. “I am going to spend millions of dollars to bring my business back, and I don’t want to buy 20 window panes and have them broken the first day. Property owners should have options on how to protect themselves.”
Technically, business owners can apply for an exception to this rule. But it is incredibly difficult to get such a variance approved.
I’m curious, though. If security shutters “cause visual blight” and “create the impression that an area is ‘unsafe’ and ‘troublesome’,” then just what the hell does burned out buildings signal to folks?
You know, just curious here.
I know we tend to talk about guns as a means to protect life and property, and there are times and places for that to be sure. However, you can’t be everywhere. It just makes sense to have some method of securing your property when you’re not there. At home, you may have burglar bars on your windows and/or a security system. You probably have some way to secure your guns when you’re not home as well.
These are all common sense steps to protecting your home if you’re not around. Security shutters would easily serve the same purpose for people’s businesses.
Because these businesses were legally barred from having such shutters, we’ll never know just how much of an impact they might have had in preventing some of the wanton destruction we saw in Minneapolis. Plus, since much of this started in Minneapolis, what kind of impact could this have had throughout the nation?
No doubt, protests would have still been held, but if those wishing to riot had been unable to destroy property, would anything have gone beyond protests?
Regardless, cities should get out of the way of people looking to protect their property, regardless of what tools they feel are best to accomplish that, be it security shutters or a firearm.