Nearly four years ago, a young boy by the name of Jeremy Galmon was shot and killed after a second line had passed by, a casualty of people using bullets to settle arguments. The fundraising for Jeremy’s family was held only a few blocks from my home, sponsored by members of the community and by […]
Category Archives: Crime
There are two links in this post I urge you to contribute to, one being the fund for the recovery of the Garden District robbery and rape victim, the other for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children. Read on to see why. More and more, I’m finding it cannot be avoided, no matter how […]
At Super Bowl XLVII, Jennifer Hudson and Sandy Hook’s community reminded us that we can do great things, like curb gun violence.
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I’m sensing a recurring trend with regard to our city officials’ modus operandi… Pass the cost on to ratepayers’ bills!
Over an eighth night of Chanukah dinner, I got into a discussion about the horrible event in Newtown, CT, with a friend of mine who taught for many decades.
“Where are the emergency drills in local schools for this kind of thing? Why is the security at the schools here so lax?” she worried.
It was deemed a sad thing that lockdown procedures were even necessary at schools today, but some basic measures like keeping school gates and doors locked from the outside during school hours seem like afterthoughts here. I remarked that just after I learned about Newtown, I went to pick up my son from school and observed a school staff member head for her car just outside a school side gate, get what she needed from her vehicle, then head back onto school grounds without closing the gate behind her. It’s not like it couldn’t happen in New Orleans – it did nearly ten years ago.
“They do keep the main building closed from the outside, with the only access being via a buzzer and an intercom system,” Dan said, “but if you’re a kid or teacher in one of the portable classrooms, you’re on your own,” he finished half-jokingly.
The only drills anyone runs in the schools here are fire drills, and those not very frequently. I suppose, and hope, a lockdown drill or two will be a part of the school year. The trick is trying to give the kids a sense of safety without it feeling like a police state.
At the same time, schools across the country are being so defunded that to jump up and throw loads of money at security for impoverished schools seems cruel and ridiculous. I’d prefer that the long-term solution be more money to education and the proper treatment of mental illness, and better gun control laws…
…but chances are, we’ll be debating this stuff until someone comes into an infant daycare and opens fire.
I’ll admit it: I’m a slacker mom about many things, among them my son’s homework.
Well, considering his attention-deficit diagnosis, I’m not as much of a slacker as I’d like to be. I’m constantly having to remind him not only to do what he wrote down in his assignment book, but to stay in one place and do it. Bribes such as the eventual watching of MythBusters episodes, Angry Birds and Bad Piggies playing time, and dessert upon the completion of homework also enter the picture…but I’ve rarely been uneasy about the subjects he covers in school.
First of all, head here and check out pages 107-108. Take your time. Look it over.
Yes, you all read it right. It’s asking kids for a criminal description.
Okay. It doesn’t say what the crime is. It just says you caught someone doing something illegal and you need to write down a description of the perp for the police. In that imaginary vacuum where crime is a rare occurrence, this isn’t a big whoop, you just describe somebody.
However, New Orleans is anything but a vacuum crime-wise; in fact, this assignment could well be viewed as prep for when something happens. Much as I and many other parents I know do our best to protect our kids from it out there – whether it’s locking our house and car doors tight, making sure that no valuables (or anything that may look like it could hold valuables) are within view in either place, not doing too much alone after dark, or just not watching the local news – we still can’t keep our kids from hearing about it. Crime affects us all here in one way or another. Our neighbors have had things stolen out of their yard. I had a bicycle stolen right out of my foyer last year. Hearing gunshots is not an unusual occurrence, sadly. Trust in the police is a laughable concept. And that’s just addressing the likelihood that an assignment like this will become something more.
As to the actual description of a criminal: shouldn’t it be “alleged criminal,” first off, or does that point out how farcical “innocent until proven guilty” can be? Also, there’s a little something known as profiling that happens even with the best of us. My son chose not to do this assignment and got a zero on it (even after repeated reminders from my husband all through Thanksgiving week to do it), but when he did do it the second time around (which his teacher has him do as practice), he used this episode of one of his favorite shows as inspiration. Something makes me wonder if studies have been done on what types of people 9-to-10-year-olds describe as “criminals” and why. I’m sure if we could hold that mirror up to ourselves, we wouldn’t find it funny or charming…not even if the kids wrote beautiful descriptions of the teacher as a giggle.
I asked my son’s teacher about this assignment. Was she concerned about the content the kids would be writing in their criminal descriptions? Was the content discussed at all or were the mechanics of the essays the only focus? No, this wasn’t about my son’s grade – he didn’t do the assignment and suffered the consequences: a big fat zero (if the essay had involved describing airplanes or snakes, I’m sure the little guy would’ve been ON IT.).
No, she wasn’t concerned.
Yes, they did discuss the content some. The teacher felt that as long as a specific crime wasn’t described, the possibility of controversial content wasn’t an issue.
Apparently, I was the first parent out of all the students in all the 4th and 5th grade classes (this assignment was given to more students than just the ones in my son’s class – it’s prep for the state exam) to raise these questions. Which made me wonder if I was just being a busybody.
My opinion? The fact that I’ve been the only parent to bring this stuff up definitely says something. I just wish I knew what that something was…
…and why it makes me feel sad.
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Attempting to ban loitering at Jackson Square for four hours daily? Mayor Landrieu and City Council, is this really the best that you can do?
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Reprinted with permission from Dr. Perry The One Son Who Got Away By Dr. Andre M. Perry About a year ago, Ms. Chanda Burks met me in my office to discuss establishing a mentoring program for black males through her sorority Delta Sigma Theta. Ms. Burks brought along her adolescent son Jared Michael Francis to […]
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“We need to remember the city government is supposed to work for us rather than just grant some of us the ability to make a living.”
The following piece was originally posted on Nordette Adams’ blog, The Urban Mother’s Book of Prayers on May 30. She has graciously given permission to repost it here.
This is the photo I saw when I visited NOLA.com today. The caption says that a distraught woman is being carried after learning that a seven-year-old girl was shot during a birthday celebration (for a 10-year-old boy) “just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 29, 2012. ” A girl, age 5, and a woman, 33, both died, and the birthday boy himself was grazed by bullets in the face and leg, according to the the Times Picayune, New Orleans’s primary newspaper. Early reports said that in total, five people had been shot, and you may read the full story at the Times Picayune/NOLA.com website. Since then, the death toll has risen.
The photo above unnerved me, but I still recognized that it illustrates one of the concerns of this blog, which is that mothers, wives, aunts, grandmothers–women who want their children and loved ones to survive–are repeatedly caught in the crossfire of rampant violence either as shooting victims themselves or through the loss. The photo, however, did not surprise me because I had already received a notice in email from WWL-TV reporting a “quintuple shooting.” According to WWL, the woman who died was Shawanna “Nonnie” Pierce, mother of three. She was not part of the birthday party; she was on her way to return a rental car.
In the this video , a woman shouts, “Enough is enough!” Who would disagree with her? Coincidentally, the family celebrating the birthday party were interviewed on television just a few years ago during an anti-crime rally calling for an end to the violence. Members said they hoped the rallies worked because something had to be done to stop the violence.
According to WWL, three people died and in total, nine were shot. From the station’s written account, here are some quotes:
“It’s time to end it. Enough is enough,” said Doris Stewart, the victims’ great aunt. “One baby dead, one laying in the hospital trying to survive.”
The mayor and police chief reacted with fury.
“Clearly the cowardice of these shooters must be and will be overcome by the will of the people of New Orleans. We do know that unfortunately when young children are hurt, people do come forward quick, and they come forward with good information,” Chief Ronal Serpas said.
“Both the chief and the commissioner and I and everybody else are calling on everybody who was out here. We’ve got to find these guys, and we’ve got to end this violence in the city of New Orleans,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
The birthday party incident was the last of four shootings on a terribly violent day:
The picture to the left shows Brianna Allen, the 5-year-old who died. She had recently graduated from kindergarten. Brianna’s grandmother also mourns a son who was recently buried.
In other sad news, the City of Chicago experienced a plague of violence over the Memorial Day weekend. There, 40 people were shot and 11 are dead. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel said that there area a “set of economic issues” … and “a set of cultural issues” that feed into the violence that “we are not talking about.” I would say that this is also true in New Orleans, although I know some people get offended when anyone brings up the cultural issues that hurt rather than help. Perhaps we will soon be fed up enough with the cultural issues that factor into our destruction to talk about and address them with power and determination.