A concealed carry ‘success’ or ‘failure’? (5×8 – 10/25/11)

Is the ‘good samaritan’ good, sex and the Halloween costume, the tablet and the power news user, this week’s Northern Lights, and the beauty of the abandoned building.


It took a number of years — certainly more than the concealed carry opponents had predicted — for a killing with a legal weapon during the commission of a crime that has renewed the debate over the fine line between self-defense and revenge. Opponents of the law said blood would run in the streets and road rage would be settled with gunfights. Neither has happened.

But in the latest incident last week, a still-unidentified man chased Darren Evanovich, 23, after he apparently pistol-whipped and robbed an elderly woman in the parking lot of Cub Foods at Lake Street and 26th Avenue. All we know is shots were fired during the chase and Evanovich is dead and the shooter, who had a legal firearm, is being called “a good samaritan.”

WCCO reported last night the family of the dead man begs to differ (click link to view video).

“How can a person play judge, jury and executioner and God, who gave the person the right to be God,” Mary Evanovich, the man’s mother, said.

Without more information about the last seconds of the chase — was Evanovich given an opportunity to surrender? Did he try to kill the man who was chasing him? — it’s unclear whether the incident is a matter of the law gone right or gone wrong.

Meanwhile, concealed carry legislation becomes law in Wisconsin next week. Here’s an FAQ on the new law there.


Halloween is becoming the national ‘holiday’ to dress girls and young women up in inappropriate attire. Whatever happened to scary?

“It’s not just a phenomena of Halloween,” Shannon Terry, a sociology instructor at Minnesota State University Moorhead, tells the Fargo Forum. “The objectification of very young girls and sexualization of young girls seems to be pretty prevalent in U.S. culture right now.”

She’s taken her “sociology of gender” class on field trips to costume stores and says she’s found too many witch costumes with cinched corsets for 6-year-old girls.


The Star Tribune next week will start charging people for reading content online, David Brauer reported yesterday.

Despite protestations against charging for what once free, people with tablets are quite willing to pony up, a study out this morning says. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism finds only 14% of tablet news users have paid directly for news content on their tablets. “Another 23%, though, have a subscription to a print newspaper or magazine that they say includes digital access. Thus, the percent of these early tablet news users who have paid either directly or indirectly for news on their tablet may be closer to a third. That is a much higher number than previous research has found more broadly of people paying for digital content.”

The research says tablets are making people more informed. Half of those tablet users surveyed say they now spend more time getting news than they did before they had their tablet.

Have you met the MPR iPad app yet? Oh, and everything here is free.

Related: The man who coined the term “artificial intelligence” and insisted that a machine could simulate every aspect of intelligence has died. John McCarthy saw the future in 1955.


If I’d looked out the window the last few nights, I might’ve seen an incredible display of the Northern Lights.

Here’s what it looked like over Wisconsin…

You know it’s a great display when you get red. They got red in Michigan.


I only met Judge Lloyd Zimmerman once, but found him unusually unassuming and charming. So nothing in his New York Times op-ed appears to surprise anybody who knows him. In 2004, Zimmerman officiated a wedding by phone of a woman whose betrothed was dying in a hospice. That evening, the man died.

His dying wish was to marry Donna, his life partner of 38 years. She was 57. They had talked about marriage over the years but had never gotten around to a wedding. They had even gone so far as to fill out the application from the downtown wedding license center.

Was this yet another case of people irresponsibly leaving things until the last minute? Probably. But I realized in the moment it didn’t matter. People do stupid, human things. I could make this one right.

By law, the couple was required to attest in person, under oath, in front of the wedding license official, that all of the statements on the application were true: that they wanted to marry each other, and that as required by Minnesota law, “we are no nearer of kin than the first cousins once removed; that … there is no legal impediment to this marriage, that neither of us has a spouse living, and that one of the applicants is a man and the other is a woman.”

The judge went above and beyond to be sure the law didn’t stand in the way of love, but he always wondered whatever happened to the woman.

Yesterday, the Star Tribune reports, the judge met her.

“You do a lot of things in your life,” he said. “And this took half an hour, but I knew it was a life-changing experience because it was his dying wish. And it can never happen again.”

It’s the kind of story that makes you proud he’s one of ours.

Bonus I: There’s beauty in the monstrosities of a declining economy, filmmaker Charles le Brigand has revealed in this video of an abandoned grain elevator in New York.

Wired.com has assembled a gallery of videos of abandoned buildings here.

The include an abandoned glass factory, a Navy building, hotel, and beachfront community.

“Once those structures were admired, or at least tolerated with some affection by those whose lives were daily enriched among and thanks to them,” a commenter says. “Will the same be said by those who contemplate the mountains of toxic, irrecoverable trash, that is, the physical waste from the IT age?”

Bonus II: Herman Cain’s campaign manager stars in an Internet commercial that is sweeping the intertubes since being posted last week. And by “take this country back,” he means — apparently — lighting a cigarette.

The ad is so strange that some suggested it was a hoax but CBS confirmed last night that it’s legit.

Bonus III: Fill in the rest of the joke. I’ll start, “A hundred Gary Eichten bobbleheads walk into a bar….”



President Obama is announcing new measures to help people whose homes are underwater qualify for refinancing and a lower monthly payment. More than one in five American homes with mortgages are underwater – that is, their owners owe more than the homes are worth. Today’s Question: Is home ownership an attractive option these days?

Related: Homes are selling fastest in Anoka and Hennepin counties right now. It would take a little less than a year, however, to sell all the homes that are for sale in Scott County.


As President Obama touts his proposal to allow more struggling borrowers to refinance their mortgages at current low rates, The Big Story Blog will look at Minnesota homeowners who are “under water” on their mortgages, and provide some analysis about the state of the Minnesota housing market in general.


I’ll be on — very briefly — with Kerri Miller around 9:50 to talk about the harvest in Minnesota. My post from last week’s visit to the farms of Winona County should be posted by 10 a.m., along with an excellent image gallery from photographer Jeffrey Thompson.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Illegal border crossings between Mexico and the U.S. are at their lowest levels since the 1970s. What policies and conditions have stemmed the tide of illegal border crossings? How is the change affecting towns along the fence? And why aren’t any U.S. politicians claiming victory?

Second hour: In his new book, author and war hero Karl Marlantes writes about combat, what we can learn from it, and what society needs to understand about it. He discusses “What It Is Like to Go to War.”

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: Former ambassador Barbara Bodine on the pullout of American troops in Iraq and the Arab Spring.

Second hour: Live coverage of Governor’s Jobs Summit featuring U of M president Eric Kaler and author Michael Mandelbaum.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: The Arab Spring is just the latest major change in the world Loren Jenkins has covered since Vietnam, as a reporter, and these past fifteen years as NPR’s senior foreign editor. Next week he steps down.

Second hour: Parents and teachers debated the merits of same-sex education for years. Do girls learn more without boys around? Do boys perform better, without girls? Do boys and girls learn differently? A new report adds fuel to the fire.