Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - Yesterday, over the course of just hours, 8 people were shot in New Orleans. Three died, including a 5-year-old girl attending a birthday party. The 10-year-old celebrating his birthday was shot, but his injuries are not life-threatening. Also, during that shooting spree, a 33-yr-old mother of three was shot and killed in the crossfire as she apparently drove to the birthday party. Two other men were killed in separate shootings in the Bayou St. John area and Mid-City.
If each of yesterday’s shootings had occurred on separate days, we would not be as outraged as we are today. And that defines the problem. There has been an acceptance, a tolerance if you will, of crime and murder in New Orleans. As a city, we have collectively turned our backs on this growing problem and now we are forced to face a problem that is out-of-control.
If bad people shot bad people the world would be a better place… but when bad people shoot at other bad people, good people are killed. When a 5-year-old is shot and killed at a birthday party on a sunny afternoon in New Orleans, we have reached the tipping point. And to further define the problem, today, a 13-yr-old was arrested in connection with one of yesterday’s other murders.
We can talk about improving education, unemployment and a host of other social and political issues, but the lowest common denominator of the crime problem in New Orleans is the lack of parenting. Children are having children because they were raised in a home where children saw their parent(s) having sex in front of them, or in a nearby room. Children watched their parent with a revolving door on their sexual activity. What do you think that teaches children?
The other problem is the entitlement mentality in this country. Not just the idea that an individual is entitled to financial assistance from the government, but the idea that individuals are entitled to drugs, territory, a gun and entitled to instant gratification in resolving all conflicts.
As a city, we can no longer accept some things just because “that’s the way it is in New Orleans.” This is a great city, but this city has an ego that often forbids it from confronting some of our real problems. If these casual shootings were taking place in prominent neighborhoods around the city, there would be an immediate demand for change. I don’t know what that change would look like, but there would be absolutely NO tolerance for shootings. And yet, as a city, we accept the problem because it’s not in ‘our’ neighborhood. If we call ourselves human, that must change.
By the way: ESPN’s Colin Cowherd is still wrong about New Orleans not being a good city for families. New Orleans is a wonderful city for the families that come here to visit. Our challenge is to make New Orleans a wonderful city for the families that live here.