Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cleaning up the Post-Mardi Gras Mess Part 2 of 2

The bigger part of the mess we now have to clean up is our most intractable opponent: crime.

In case you're living under a rock, there were multiple shootings yesterday. At least 5 by my count.

My twitter feed was clogged today with people who went back to work and were asked by coworkers, sometimes on the other side of the world, "so, you get shot yesterday?" The entire world read about the shootings. We're keeping "the brand out there" all across the globe. Well, I picked up today's Picayune and look:

The only mention of the shootings is a very brief note at the bottom to refer to the Metro section. I understand it was a busy news day, but come on. You're not the only source of news in the world. People are going to find out about it. It was one of the top stories on WWL. Here's Warren Riley's comments on a WDSU video. WDSU could have also done a better job holding the Chief's feet to the fire. Here's a Stormfront puff piece about Warren Riley leading the shutdown of Bourbon Street. Great job, "journalists."

When news organizations downplay the shootings to avoid "hurting the recovery" the only person that benefits is our idiot police chief. The Times-Picayune really outdid themselves today by completely burying the abduction and rape outside Gibson Hall at Tulane. I can't find any mention of the incident in the dead tree edition.

Warren Riley continues to tear Pennington's "model police force" to shreds, but the good news is that NOPD quickly apprehended two suspects (one of which was actually wearing an ankle-bracelet monitoring device!). There are still good cops working hard out there and I salute their valiant efforts. I hope, for the sake of those police, that Warren Riley is removed before he recreates one particular piece of the pre-Pennington force: Antoinette Frank (a cop that murders other cops). The bad news is that someone had the audacity to try something like this. There's always a fair amount of crime around Mardi Gras, but it's rarely close to the parade routes. There's usually too many police/criminals don't feel the need (not sure which) to shoot at the parade routes. The St. Charles Ave. shooting sets a horrible precedent, though. Parade crowds are packed so tightly that even the worst gunman in the world can't help but hitting someone. That's part of the reason concealed carry is specifically prohibited along parade routes. There are so many people that a shooting is almost 100% guaranteed to result in innocent casualties.

We're extremely fortunate that nobody was killed in this incident, but that was purely luck. Next time we might not be so fortunate. Be sure to read how parents were throwing their children over fences to keep them out of the chaos in the first article.

So, now what? We're a poor city with a history of injustice, but there are plenty of places in the world that fit that description that don't have NEARLY the problem with crime, specifically murder, we do. I'm going to propose that our criminals have a very low respect for human life and specifically are very low on Kohlberg's stages of moral development. The best outcome now is to make an example of the suspects, should they be convicted. Charging them with 7 counts of first degree murder is a good start, but we need to try them in a timely manner. The alleged shooters need a competent defense and the DA's office needs to do their job within the rule of law. Justice must be served swiftly.

NOTE- Some edits. See comments.

UPDATE- Make that 6 shootings on Mardi Gras.


Clay said...

Made some minor edits for clarity plus one big one. I originally had this at the end, but I figured it didn't quite fit with the rest, so I deleted it. Here it is, though:

I don't know whether or not the death penalty* is applicable for cases of attempted murder, but the DA should weigh the costs of a death penalty case versus the increased publicity of the punishment.

* I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who oppose the death penalty on moral grounds. I agree that its application has been unjustly applied in the past. I just think there are a few rare cases where criminals who are too dangerous to be kept in jail or there are certain crimes so heinous that criminals need to be made an example of. It also serves as an excellent plea-bargain chip. I'll also note that a local DA's office, especially one as overburdened as New Orleans, can rarely afford the additional costs to fully prosecute a death penalty case.

Pistolette said...

Well put. Unfortunately it's rumored that even Pennington padded his statistics. Even if we don't believe that there is no denying that the conviction rate wasn't much better back then either. This 'war' needs to be fought on several fronts: a combination of better public education, more competent police, and a more aggressive DA. We need to help prevent those kids from turning to this life, but if they do we need to be swift and heartless in our punishment so that there is actually a deterrent.

Clay said...

Padding the stats or no, he took us from 421 murders to fewer than 200, and this was when we had 450,000 people in Orleans Parish. We can't even keep it under 200 with half the population and the city depopulated for a week for an evacuation. You can pad stats, but you can't hide bodies. That's why they're the only reliable crime metric left.

Tim said...

I try to be pacifist, I really do. But I agree that there is an appropriate place for the death penalty. Probably not here, not for attempted murder.

I do think there should be mandatory jail time and hard labor for violent criminals.

And I'm shocked by the whole scenario. What kind of person brings a gun to a Mardi Gras parade? I mean, what kind of lowlife, sub-humans are we dealing with here?

So sad, so sad.