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.
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.
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