More Cops, Less Guns Needed

As I expected, there was a big response to my anti-gun stance in last week’s blog. I know I am, as they say, “spitting into the wind,” but I am fully aware that there are many like myself who don’t see the necessity for guns in this society, particularly in the entertainment neighborhoods of New Orleans, where there are consistent crowds of people, drinking is rampant, and where there is (probably) at least some drug use. I’m speaking out because…I can, and I should; thus, the blogs we publish as “Mojo Mouth” are purely my opinion.

Imagine my surprise and the irony that the day after this edition of Mojo Mouth was published it was announced that Aaron Jordan  (who lives in Jefferson Parish, mostly) has decided to arm himself and other volunteers to patrol the French Quarter. There’s even a Facebook page for these vigilantes!

A few years ago, several people were shot on Bourbon Street. Business took a nose-dive, and it took a long time to come back. People are afraid. The same thing could happen again. It can happen on Frenchmen Street. As a business owner recently said to me: “We are just one crazy person away from ruining Frenchmen Street for everyone.”

The solution is not to arm everyone just “in case” there’s a shooting (what are you going to do, whip out your handgun and shoot back into a crowd?). The solution is to keep guns out of everyone’s hands. That’s my opinion, and I’m not influenced by the gun owners or the NRA’s ongoing brainwash of the public and political lobbying activities. I hate guns. We don’t need ‘em. They’ve caused way more heartache and sorrow than they have joy in our culture, and as the pro-gun rhetoric continues, the gun violence continues to escalate.

In this blog, I’ve also mentioned the noise issues on Frenchmen, specifically the brass band that plays on the corner of Chartres and Frenchmen, and over Jazz Fest, the music that upset the neighbors who live behind Bamboula’s. Finding a place for a brass band to continue to play is problematic without it upsetting neighbors and businesses. The New Orleans Police Department will not enforce any issues regarding the brass bands, as playing music is protected by the first amendment.

But there’s a much bigger problem than noise on Frenchmen, and indeed, in the city as a whole. There are just not enough active New Orleans police to stop criminals, much less to quell a noise problem. The few police that we have on the streets cannot handle the problems. I’ve heard similar stories many times: criminal activity is stopped by a private security guard, or even by the public. The NOPD is called, and they don’t show up. The NOPD is not ignoring your calls; they literally don’t have the staff to cover their beat. The criminal is let go.

Wow.

What the mainstream media should do more of is to cover and hold the city accountable for is its inability to recruit and maintain an adequate police force. The city needs to come up with a workable solution to this problem, because it’s just going to get worse. We can’t market ourselves as an entertainment destination and not have an adequate, trained police force. New Orleans is literally a party city, and we are oriented towards free-flowing alcohol. Mix drugs, alcohol, guns and testosterone (sorry guys, but most of the shootings involve males), and you have a potentially lethal combination. What the easiest thing we could remove from this equation? (Oops, slipped back into my anti-gun stance…).

I’m sure that removing guns from the formula is going to be a long, long time coming. In the meantime, we need to acquire and train a police force, and pay them a decent wage to keep the peace. And, of course, train them to solve problems without the use of firearms, if at all possible.

Take this week’s OffBeat’s Weekly Poll here.

 

 

  • Matthew McKnight

    So you want less guns around, but you want more police officers who can respond to violent acts using the guns they’re carrying?

    Cognitive dissonance much?

    • janramsey

      Who said I want anyone to have guns?

  • bigDrew2003

    Do you realize that fun violence hs not been escalating? Violence has been on a decline for the last 20 years.

  • Mike

    I’m sure the thugs will obey your wishes. Get real. If they thought nobody had firearms on them it would be easy Pickens. The thought their victim might have the means to shoot them will detour the crime.

  • kmsoap

    The proposed French Quarter Minutemen have hit a snag. There is an active arrest warrant for their founder on felony stalking charges. http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2014/06/french_quarter_minutemen_found.html#incart_m-rpt-1

    If you check out their facebook page, you will see a very poor grasp of the concepts of respect and conflict resolution needed to responsibly citizen police. Citizen policing is only effective when based on citizens protecting their own neighborhoods, not when people from outside the community attempt to remake us in their image. Hopefully, this latest news will put an end to this preposterous idea.

    For more facts and figures on the status of our police force, please see this.

    http://www.nolascape.org/nopd/

    The NOPD is in crisis, and there does not appear to be any effective short term solution. What is equally disturbing is that the city continues to budget for a larger force, but citizens in many neighborhoods are asked to pay an additional levy for enhanced police protection. If they can find the officers to staff these security districts, why can’t those officers be dedicated instead to their primary job?

    • BFREI

      Even if Aaron Jordan was all he wanted us to think he was, an organization like this would be a magnet for the questionable. Soon there would be a George Zimmerman in it, waiting for the right moment. Maybe his early exposure will help some people see that.

  • BFREI

    Good for Jan! Guns are the problem, not the solution. They are the symbols of police power. Great symbol, isn’t it? The messages converyed by uniformed police officers’ paraphernalia on show is beneath stupid: guns, tasers, handcuffs, clubs. And we are taught to feel safe because of that display of urban mayhem equipment.

    In the best police forces I have seen, most officers do not carry guns and do not want to. They know it just escalates violence. Some special guard police at embassies and airports have guns, but not .38 pistols – serious guns. Gun licensed officers are selected for psychological stability, and exhaustively trained in marksmanship, restraint and patience. The few street police who have a firearm usually never show it. They know flashing weapons escalates violence.

    Minutemen is the worst idea of the year, but their model is the terrible model of American policing. This is not criticim of the individualls who do the job. It is the image and messages they are supposed to embody. Change that, get rid of the NRA, or relegate them to shotguns and country rifles, blow off the second amendment – or perhaps limit it to 18th century pistols – and recruit police tough and confident enough to take on the job without guns.

    • kmsoap

      There is a time and a place for citizen policing. After Katrina, many neighborhoods that formed groups for their own protection as no protection was coming from anywhere else. By Halloween of 2006, children in my neighborhood trick-or-treated in groups under armed parental guard. It was simply a reality of the time, not a political statement. Until you have the guy who just tried to rape a young girl on your block hiding under your house after the police have given the all clear, or your neighbor is gunned down in cold blood letting her pet out, you’re really not in a position to make that call.

      I understand anti gun sentiment, but realistically speaking, creating a prohibition would only create a black market, which would result in more violence. Do I wish we did not have crime or criminals? Of course. Our catch and release criminal justice system not only fails the public, but fails society as a whole by churning out more criminals. Lots of problems here, and I am not about to give up the right for neighbors to organize to protect themselves until there is a better safety plan in place.

      That said, this group, from outside the community, with their lack of conflict resolution skills and a chip on their shoulder, was everyone’s worst nightmare. I’m glad they appear to be stalled out. How many service industry professionals want to be escorted to their vehicle by an armed accused stalker?

      • BFREI

        You are making my point, Heidi. Think of citizen mutual protection and you think of guns. You think of shooting people. And “they” must be thinking of shooting you. Circular firing squad.

        America’s gun overload is generally in service of oppression – police violence, Pinkertons shooting down strikers, Kent State. And whatever school shootings are – some inexplicable insane reaction to social insanity.

        The United States has a centuries-old tradition of stupid violence and its glorification. Current results are the War on Drugs and on Terror, militarizing police, mass incarceration and chemical companies so disgusted by states’ death penalties that they won’t sell them lethal drugs. We might have to go back to killing that looks like killing.

        The neighborhoods might have no choice. But a better choice might be a way to get the city to do the job. I don’t know what that is, but the neighborhood way is in the direction of gated communications, private police and corporate rule.

        • kmsoap

          Realistically, neither you nor I are a physical match for a gang of young people looking for blood. Like this http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2013/03/police_release_new_footage_of.html
          These things are happening to real people in close proximity to my home. Are you suggesting we return to gladiator days, where victory goes to the strongest?
          The plain fact is that NOPD is not doing their job. They have not been effective since before Katrina, no matter how many cops we had. Fix the NOPD, get the guns away from felons who are already forbidden to possess them by law, and then we can revisit the matter.

          • BFREI

            Of course not. Outside of Bruce Lee movies, neither is almost anyone against a surprise attack from more than one, even if you have a gun. When do you think you are getting the chance to pull it out? How much does it scare people who grow up with gun death, police brutality and half the people they know in prison? Do you thnk they will run away?

            Maybe there is no solution for it, but if all there is to look forward to is more of the dumbass cycle of US state and private violence, the rest of the world is going to watch the decline of the American empire like we watched Medellin in the time of Escobar or Northern Afghanistan in the time of Dostum and Hekmatyar or one of the African bloodbaths. A Clockwork Orange dance of death.

          • kmsoap

            That wasn’t a surprise attack. The victim knew he was being followed from Elysian Fields. He went that way hoping the bar was still open, but they were closed.
            The American Empire and its future is a story for another day. There’s a whole lot more at work there than guns.

  • steve

    In Switzerland everyone has a gun. It is not uncommon to see a grandmother walking down a road on her way to practice using her automatic rifle. The Swiss citizens are a society of sharp shooters. I think the author would look cute with some pearl handled 6 shooters.