|Why would anyone fear black people in New Orleans? Seriously? Why?|
And the consultants have calculated that the murder rate in the city's public housing developments is about twice the rate for the city as a whole, which was 76 per 100,000 people last year. That makes the public-housing murder rate roughly 18 times the nation's.
The shooting of a 14-year-old boy has raised many questions, but legal experts say that in a court of law the case will boil down to whether the homeowner who pulled the trigger felt that his life was in "imminent danger," even though the victim had come past a locked gate and was on private property when he was shot.
Merritt Landry, 33, a building inspector for the Historic District Landmarks Commission, was arrested Friday morning after police said he shot Marshall Coulter, 14, while the teen was inside the fenced-in area outside Landry's home in the 700 block of Mandeville Street about 2 a.m. Detectives determined that Coulter, who was not armed, was not posing any "imminent threat" to Landry. Police booked Landry with attempted second-degree murder.
"We are in New Orleans where people are being purse-snatched and shot at on a pretty regular basis -- the only defense here is that he was truly fearing for his life. The question remains: Why exactly did he fear for his life?" said Jeffrey Smith, a New Orleans criminal defense attorney.
|Almost every year, a call is made by leaders in New Orleans (to stop black crime) for the National Guard to patrol the city|
The casual visitor here sees the city's beguiling facades, but, like the rows of boarded-up houses only a few blocks from the elegant ones, fear lurks nearby. Murder is booming in New Orleans.
In 1993, with nearly 80 homicides per 100,000 people, the city's homicide rate led Detroit and Washington, two other high-crime cities, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the first quarter of this year, the homicide rate for the city of New Orleans was up 36 percent over last year, and it was still leading the other two cities' rates. The homicide rate of the New Orleans metropolitan area led all others in 1992, the last year for which Federal figures are available.
The new Mayor, Marc Morial, devoted his first big initiative to a series of crime-fighting measures, including a tough curfew for youths 17 and under.
In a Central City neighborhood where houses need paint and boards sag, behind the barbed wire and "Bad Dog" sign of her aunt's house, Jessie Mae Brady, a neighbor of the 9-year-old shooting victim, said: "Here in New Orleans, you never know when they're going to strike. It pays to be afraid."
Fear has helped double the number of burglar-alarm companies operating in the city since 1980. New Orleans has lost over 130,000 residents since 1960, many of them whites who have fled to the safety of the suburbs.
Fear has also put guns in the pockets and desk drawers of merchants along Magazine Street, made Uptown residents circle the block before emerging from their cars if a stranger is spotted and forced residents of housing projects to sleep on the floor when gunfire is heard.
"Sometimes you think if it's less shots, no one got killed. If it's a whole lot, somebody got messed up," said Emma Brown, who lives in the grim St. Thomas Housing Development. Unjustified Fear?
Mayor Landrieu told the 365 Black Awards attendees:
“If 199 white guys killed each other the world would stop. If the Klu Klux Klan killed 199 black guys the world would stop and people would still be talking about it. But for some reason because it’s young guys killing young guys, they want to put their heads in the sand and don’t want to talk about it. I’m telling you it’s unnatural and it’s not something that we’re supposed to tolerate in this country.”
Illegal immigrants, who flocked to New Orleans (doing the job black people wouldn’t do) and helped rebuild a city black residents of the Big Easy looted in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, weren’t cowards in admitting racial violence [Day Laborers Are Easy Prey in New Orleans, New York Times, 2-15-2009]:
With resignation but no visible anger, more than half told of being threatened or robbed. One man, Armando Cruz, from Honduras, asserted flatly, to nods of assent, “Most of us here have been robbed.”
Many bluntly assigned a racial component, saying that it was “los morenos” — their colloquial term for blacks — who were after them. “When we are leaving here after work, we have to go on foot,” Mr. Billado said, speaking through an interpreter. “The blacks are waiting for us. They’ll beat you up. They’ll take your money.”
Such incidents can occur more than once a week, Mr. Billado said.
The police, the men said, either ignore their calls, admonish them for being in the country illegally or arrive too late at a crime scene to do any good.
“The blacks know when we have cash,” said Juan Guillermo Medina, another waiting worker. “Yes, it’s dangerous. But we have to be here. It’s the risk we run.”