Angela: Bourbon St shooting strikes to the heart of who we are
by Angela Hill,posted Jul 1 2014 4:44PM
We all know the facts. Two guys open fire on each other during an argument on Bourbon Street early Sunday morning - then at least one of them opens fire on innocent people walking by.
We have nine people shot, two seriously, and the two shooters still on the run.
Chief Serpas said there were many police were stationed in the area. He said some were “at arm’s length” to the shooters when it happened. Why didn’t they capture the shooters? What’s the plan to fix this problem?
Is it more police? Is it better police? Is it better training? Is it funding? If so, how do we get more money to pay more cops, to recruit better cops? Do our cops need to be better equipped to handle this wild west mentality? Did the cops on duty that night have protective vests? Should every cop in the FQ have cameras on their clothes?
Is it better strategy, or better strategic placement of cops? Should we block off side streets after 10pm… like Beale Street in Memphis? Should we have one way in; one way out? Should we ID everybody on Bourbon after 10pm?
Is it a leadership problem? Do we need a clearer vision? We keep bragging about all the young entrepreneurs coming to our city; we keep bragging about record tourism & real estate transactions. The quickest way to to run that off; to impede progress; to halt confidence is violent crime, especially in the French Quarter.
Who are we? Are we a cop force that just accepts thugs shooting innocent bystanders, when they’re shooting at each other, and that’s okay? Who are we and what is our future?
Are we the tourism and marketing groups who say "bring your businesses here for conventions," "bring your families here for reunions," "have stay-cations in one of the most historic, fascinating towns in the world," but your child, your mother, your brother, you may get shot? How is this NOT more dangerous than a category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane barreling through the Crescent City?
After listening to authorties in many areas of criminal justice and every day conerned citizens, the conversation breaks down to two main themes.
First off: Is the leadership in the city handling the police shortage correctly? Is our city government doing what it can to beat the low morale that pervades the NOPD? And if it is not, what more should they be doing?
Secondly, and equally as important: Everyone is acknowledging that a primary cause of crime is young people not being raised correctly. We have this problem because parents are abandoning their respondibilities, and nobody is holding them accountable.
These two discussions are not meant to simplify a very complex problem in this city and others, but it is two good starting points on a conversation about what needs to be done in the short run and long run.
I have said this many times: Crime is complex and heartbreaking and a constant battle, but our guests on "An Open Mind" Monday refuse to give up.
Take a listen to the podcasts below with grassroots community anti-crime activists Al Mims and Captain Black, Loyola criminologist Dr. George Capowich, and PANO attorney Eric Hessler.