08 September 2008

Monday Musings...
In light of the recent shootings at the all to familiar corner of McKinnie St. and South Anthony Blvd., I noticed something on one news broadcast that stuck with me.
On the WPTA coverage the other night, they interviewed one black woman about the shootings, and she stated that:"You're afraid to go to sleep at night for fear someone might break into your house".
Now after hearing that comment, I couldn't help but wonder about what level of the "quality of life" this woman is currently existing at.
I'm sure if I asked her if she thought circumstances around her house made living tolerable, she'd answer with an emphatic "NO".
People have said that this station should be shut down. Glynn Hines made the analogy to the O.K. Corral (difference being the Earps shot the BAD guys).
Shut the station down? WTF for?
Don't we ALREADY too few amenities down here, without allowing the criminal element to deprive us of one more?
The STATION has nothing to do with these shootings, other than the fact that it happens to be the business ON the property where the shootings occurred. Closing the station doesn't negate the fact this is a PRIME area for "business" to happen, and vacating the corner only reinforces these criminal activities which will happen no matter WHAT business is located there. The problem isn't the STATION...it's the PEOPLE that congregate in and around it.
But things like this don't just happen at THIS corner.
Ask Phil Marx...
Or ask me...
I'd wager it's been a LONG time since Phil got what most of you consider a "good night's sleep". I know for a fact that if I manage a handful of nights with solid sleep a YEAR...that's something. And it wasn't always like this in MY area.
When my wife and I moved in over 10 years ago, we did pretty well when it came to sleep. But since then, the degradation of living conditions around the neighborhood have forced us to change our manner of lifestyle.
For example, being a light sleeper, I sleep downstairs, with a weapon within reach, in the event that "something" happens. And believe me, with these people around here, you NEVER know what will occur, or when for that matter. These cretins are nothing if not "spontaneous", and you need to be ready to act (or react as the case may be).
I mean how many times have you sat in front of your TV, when for NO reason, a chunk of cinder block comes crashing through a nearby window? Suffice it to say that it's an overly abrupt way to get one's attention.
Now imagine a Molotov cocktail sailing onto your porch, starting a fire.
Again, someone got your attention (and you've obviously got someone else's).
Then ask yourself what the "racial balance" is in YOUR area.
So when the black lady said she was afraid to sleep...there are others of us that CAN relate.
I suppose we can all sleep easier knowing that at least we don't have people trying to kill one another on our properties or at our corners...YET.
One curious aspect to ALL of this (and perhaps more), is that this quadrant of the city receives the MOST resources for public safety. That means we have a (slightly) greater amount of police officers, patrol cars, fire engines, and the like. That doesn't necessarily translate in the manner you think. We also have officers that simply do NOT like patrolling down here (must be the culture shock - aka crime). Other officers gravitate to areas like this. It's not like we LACK "activities" for the officers here...quite the reverse. If an officer wants to be exposed to criminal activity, HERE is your training ground. And I'd bet good money that most rookies cut their teeth down here...maybe that's why they all move NORTH when they're no longer rookies and are off of their probation period (about one year after academy graduation). They see what goes on down here, and rather than remain to make a difference by LIVING here, they head elsewhere.
To some, patrolling here must be a daily grind; the nine-to-five routine, day in, day out. You put your life on the line fr people that have no appreciation for what you're doing, and couldn't care less. And I can see officers having less patience working down here, and more apathy for it's citizens...I really can.
I just thank the maker that we do have those officers that WANT to make that difference. Heaven knows we don't all that many CITIZENS that wish to do likewise, aside from those few of us trying OUR damnedest, and if we actually do have more, then they're flying well under the radar, because I'm not seeing them one damn bit.
So, what can the city do to stop situations like the ones that occur with apparent regularity at McKinnie and Anthony? Right now, not a whole helluva lot, and that's coming from someone who remains optimistic about fighting crime.
The city has opened the door to these thugs over the last two decades, and now they're "In the parlor, sitting in YOUR chair, drinking YOUR beer, and watching YOUR TV". Kinda hard to just shoo them away NOW, isn't it?
And since most of this crime is perpetrated by a certain, small portion of a specific ethnic community, ANY significant "crimebusting" will be met with resistance, claiming "racial overtones". And we can't have that, can we?
We can't place the blame on those with whom it lies, because we're in a PC world now. We have to ALL get along for diversity's sake. So until we change that methodology, we can either all move away (where it will tend to follow us), or we can take a stand here...now, and make the situation better for everyone, no matter what ethnicity.
But it's going to take a lot more people doing something...not a mere handful of concerned people placing targets on their backs for the criminals to aim at.
And there will be decisions that need to be made that might not fly in the face of conventionality. Harsh times call for harsh solutions. That's the nature of THAT beast.
So think about all this, and where we want to take our city, or any city for that matter. We're at a crossroads, make no mistake. And which road we choose will determine things for generations to come.
We can just up and close gas stations, or we can all unify to tackle the root cause of this bane.
Or perhaps we should all "sleep" on it...if we're not fearful of GETTING some sleep, that is.
Our choice should be obvious.

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