Heartbreaking vignette from the recent Times-Picayune article:
Schaffer lay on a stretcher with his arms folded, shirtless and wearing jeans and construction boots. Nearby, a huddle of bereaved family members wept and cried out in anger. A shoeless boy of single-digit age stared at the body on the stretcher. "That's my brother," he repeated over and over. He did not cry.Yes, his brother was just released on parole for a narcotics charge. But, the child did not see a “bad guy” when he looked at the body on the stretcher. He saw his brother.
A murder is hard to prevent, unless you know it is going to happen. I can safely assume by the murder rate that NOPD officers are not psychic and do not know when and where murders will happen. So, how do you effectively prevent them?
One way is to look at every person as a potential murderer and act accordingly – more “boots on the street,” more cameras on the streets, more guns, more traffic checkpoints, a cop on every corner.
Or, you can look at every person as your brother or sister. Think, “What do I want my brother and sister to have?” and make sure every person has those things, be it food, education, health, opportunity, hope, etc.
The solution to our violent crime problem is not a law enforcement solution. We have plenty of laws and enough enforcers. As much as I want the criminal justice system to function after a crime is committed, I would much rather the crime never happen in the first place.
Sure, a functional criminal justice system is a deterrent. But, is there a better deterrent than not having a reason to commit a crime?
This goes back to valuing every life as equal.
Once again, my goal:
NOLA will have the lowest per capita murder rate in the United States for cities with populations between 250,000 and 300,000.And some solutions:
Better and more effective policing strategies (problem-oriented policing), a city which provides functioning social and municipal services (health care, education, electricity, water, maintained streets, flood drainage, doesn't wrongly demolish your house), and a community that values every life as equal from birth to death.We can do it. It will take a “no excuses” attitude and a lot of work. And it starts with us, which is why I am digging Rising Tide 2.