|Lower the black population of New Orleans, lose the title of "Murder Capital of America"|
It's a city where a new documentary, Shell Shocked, depicts the very community the world saw on display when it was flooded with the waters of Lake Pontchartrain in 2005. Though the black New Orleans Times-Picayune columnist, Javris DeBerry, is incapable of writing it, we will: the level of depravity in the black community of New Orleans would shell shock even the most hardened bigot
[New Orleans 'Shell Shocked' documentary examines grim reality of murder through the eyes of children, NOLA.com, May 2, 2013]:
The images are disturbing. Young boys in New Orleans neighborhoods point assault rifles at the camera. Teenagers brawl in a classroom. Bodies lie on the streets. A mother looks into the camera and admits she sometimes asks strangers if she can hug them because they remind her of her murdered son.
In a city long known as America's murder capital -- in 2012, the murder rate in New Orleans was 10 times the national average -- many residents say they can't help but grow numb to the daily shootings throughout the city. But a new documentary that premiered this week, "Shell Shocked," aims to cut through to viewers' hearts by presenting New Orleans teenagers' grim realities in their own words.
"I would say a gun is way easier to get than a textbook down here," says one teenage boy. "A textbook is more expensive to get to. You gotta get online and order it, you can't just walk into Walmart like that."But who is making New Orleans so violent? Why are we shell shocked, when the videos, images, and stories coming out of Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans showed a community equally ravaged by the so-called 'black community'?
Well, here's your answer [In New Orleans, Dysfunction Fuels Cycle of Killing, New York Times, 2-5-2007]:
The killing is integrated deep into the community. Residents say the routine nature of the violence stifles a sense of outrage, for reasons of physical and mental self-preservation.
“Last week I buried one on Tuesday, and the one who killed him was buried on Wednesday,” said the Rev. John C. Raphael Jr., a burly former policeman turned minister who has campaigned against the violence here. “And I buried another one on Friday. And the one I buried Friday, somebody shot part of the family later that night.”
Mr. Raphael posts signs on telephone poles that say “Enough!” at murder scenes; often, neighbors are reluctant to let him do so.
The police blame drugs — drug debts, or drug deals gone bad, or grabs for drugs, mostly crack. Many of the drug gangs dispersed after the hurricane and have since regrouped, ending the brief lull with a greater intensity of infighting now concentrated in fewer neighborhoods.
On the street, a 10- or 12-year old can get up to $30 for being a bicycle lookout, and teenagers can get up to $1,000 for helping to move drug stashes.
But apart from the drug trade, those living with the culture of violence say that often all that is needed to set off a deadly shooting is a misdirected look, an epithet or a turn down the wrong block into an alien neighborhood.
Most of the violence involves black men killing other black men. Out of the 161 homicide victims last year, 131 were black men. Most of the suspects were also black men.
When the pattern of black-on-black violence is occasionally broken, white fear and outrage are redoubled. This happened earlier this month after the killing of a white filmmaker, when thousands of people marched on City Hall to demand change, a majority of them whites.
The small showing of black marchers saddened Mr. Raphael, the minister. In the 2006 murders, he said, “99 percent of them were black-on-black, and we did not march. As a community, we could not bring ourselves to respond to that.”
Some cite the inexperience of Orleans Parish district attorney Eddie Jordan, who took office without ever trying a case in criminal court. Others cite inadequate case processing on the part of the New Orleans police department. In one quadruple murder, for example, a police report was a total of three pages.Shell shocked yet? How about reading some of the solutions to the problem [To Lower Murder Rate, New Orleans Focuses on Police Force, New York Times, April 1, 2012]:
The district attorney's office faced a severe crisis of confidence under Jordan. Dozens of former employees were recently awarded a $3.7m judgment in a race discrimination claim filed in federal court in 2003. The former employees (who are white) claim that Mr Jordan (a former federal prosecutor who is New Orleans' first black district attorney) fired them because of their race. Mr Jordan asked New Orleans' city council to add the amount of the judgement to his office's 2008 budget so the sum can be repaid. Mr Jordan's office also warned that if it does not receive help, his office could be "forced to close" and will be "without sufficient assistant district attorneys to prosecute approximately 2,500 cases, which are currently awaiting trial."
As the year comes to a bloody close, it seems that New Orleans is nearing the tipping point where it may become so violent that it is no longer livable at all. Certainly, the current murder rate is so high and the city's population so low (around 250,000, well below pre- Katrina population of about 500,000) that a significant chunk of the city is already simply being killed off.
In New Orleans, murders follow a distressingly similar pattern. Almost 90 percent of the victims are young black males; more than 90 percent of the perpetrators fit the same profile.
The vast majority of assailants have a criminal record, and 40 percent have a prior arrest for illegal firearms possession. In about four of five cases, perpetrators and victims knew each other.
“A lot of this is young people with no conflict resolution skills,” says Police Superintendent Ronal W. Serpas, who was tapped by the mayor two years ago.Easy access to firearms is one cause. The city plans to begin a gun-buyback plan that had a modicum of success in Baltimore and elsewhere. The mayor and police chief are urging municipal judges to increase the bonds and require ankle bracelets for those charged repeatedly with illegal firearms possession; statistics show that such offenders are most likely to commit murders. Success has been limited.
S.O.S. is right; not Saving Our Sons, but S.O.S. and being shell shocked isn't enough at this point.Mr. Landrieu stresses the need for a holistic approach, involving businesses, the faith community and nonprofits, as well as government. A major initiative, started six months ago, is S.O.S., or Saving Our Sons. Its activities include mentoring at-risk young black males, conflict resolution programs and midnight basketball, with the participation of the New Orleans Hornets, the city’s professional team.
The National Guard isn't enough.
A Wall of Murder that Father Bill Terry keeps (his church is a few blocks from the French Quarter) isn't enough.
But what is enough to save the city of New Orleans? The book Melding Police and Policy to Dramatically Reduce Crime in the City of New Orleans by Dr. Kevin A. Unter offers the answer. In the concluding chapter of the book (sub-headline: Measuring the Impact of Socio-Economic Variables), Dr. Unter writes:
Just as with the inclusion of police-specific variables, the sociological variables included in this study were drawn from existing research on crime reduction. The only variable that shows some explanatory power is the percentage of the black population in New Orleans -- the models suggest that crime will increase as the percentage of the black population in New Orleans increases. This finding is nonetheless problematic given the various interpretations that can be attached to it, but FBI statistics indicate that much of crime is intraracial in nature and a greater percentage of black population New Orleans would suggest more black victims. (p. 166)Problematic?
The greater the percentage of blacks in New Orleans, the greater the murder/crime rate.
So the smaller the percentage of blacks in New Orleans, the smaller the murder/crime rate.
Right Dr. Unter?
We'll be reading New York Times bemoaning the black violence in Orleans Parrish again in 2017, 2020, and 2030; we'll be reading articles in The Guardian pointing out how blacks fire all whites once they assume some role of political leadership (be it in the judicial or executive branch of the city) in the city of New Orleans; and the next time a hurricane strikes the city, we'll see the same underclass population shell shock the rest of the world with a brief display of the type of behavior found in their communities on a daily basis.
The only sane policy for the city leaders of New Orleans is trying to peacefully remove the black population of the city. If not, the black community will continue to ensure a war-zone like atmosphere in the city, spreading mayhem and bullets in neighborhoods that could be redeveloped for huge profits.
Because like it or not, gentrification is coming to New Orleans.
And the solutions that have thus far been implemented and tried (be it firing all whites in the district attorney's office or midnight basketball) have failed.
It's time for new, dynamic ideas.
It's time to quit being shell shocked.