Monday, August 18, 2008

Taking Action Against Violent Crime

Like many of our Humid City readers, I am still reeling from the recent murder of Jessica Hawk, a kind and loved Bywater resident. As commentary began to come in from her friends and family in Ohio, I found myself trying to explain exactly how such a horrible event could be seamingly shrugged off by city officials. No answer is forthcoming. I also wondered why lesser violent crime, like the brutal hit and run that crushed Dave Gordon's leg (half owner/operator of Funrockn & Pop City), could go unanswered, while the police know the actual location of the vehicle involved, and the address of the perpetrator. A young woman, a fellow artist, in fact, who lives not far from me in the Marigny, has alerted me to another situation, in which two young men are attacking bicycle riders in the marigny/Bywater area. These are her words: "Friday night around 11, I was biking home. At the intersection of St. Claude and Frenchmen, there were two black boys on bikes. One looked to be about 16 and the other one no more than 14.They were on low rider new looking bikes. One had on a blue baseball cap, over sized white t-shirt, and long blue jean shorts. The other one was wearing a dark jersey of some type. They said nothing as I rode by them but one of them threw a heavy metallic thing at me and hit me in the spine in between the shoulder blades.They laughed and took off. I thought it was an isolated incident until I talked with a friend who said that I am the 7th person she has heard of to be attacked in the Marigny/Bywater area. They have all reported two boys about the same ages. They seem to only be targeting people on bikes.One guy was smashed up against the head with a slab of concrete and then they punted his head. They did not rob him, but I am afraid that someone is going to be killed soon. I was not robbed either. The intent seemed to be to hurt me and go. I reported it to the police, although they were less than interested." This then, seems to be the connective tissue between all of these stories of violence. As citizens of these neighborhoods, we are sometimes singled out to be hunted by local thugs, run down in the streets, attacked for no reason other than entertainment. The response of the police force is shockingly simple. They can't do anything about it without citizen involvement, and we we become involved, they still do nothing except put us at further risk, going so far as to ask a local woman to identify Dave Gordon's assaulter in front of a large group of his friends, knowing he would not be taken in to custody. New Orleans has a Metropolitan Crime Commision, which oversees corruption and malfeasance of local government. I believe that these recent failures by the NOPD, at least in our neck of the woods merits their action. I urge each and every one of you to make contact, and let them know how you feel about living like fish in a barrel. Mr. John Humphries has been receptive about hearing these complaints. Please be polite & concise. The Metropolitan Crime Commision can be reached by phone at: 540 524-7000 or toll free at 888 524-7001. The email address is: Simple letters can make a huge difference in large numbers. I've also received an email from Baty Landis at SilenceIsViolence, letting me know that many citizens are outraged, like myself (read my posts about this), about Mayor Ray Nagin accepting an award for bravery and recovery from his millionaire developer friends. We are planning on assembling for protest. The Award Ceremony takes place Friday Night at the Ritz Carlton, at 7pm. I urge all who are interested to meet there for the Silence Is Violence protest at 6pm sharp. This is a chance to make our collective voices heard. Contacting the Metro Crime Commision about the failure of our local police is a chance to tell your individual story. Please, do whatever you can to help make a difference. The life you save could be yours or that of one you love. Lord David Skull Club New Orleans

No comments: