Of course, there was another shootout on the Interstate. It marks the third time in the last few weeks there has been a gun battle on the congested roadway. If a commuter can make it to his car unharmed, then drive safely to the parking garage and finally be able to walk to work unmolested, it is a major accomplishment in the city of New Orleans.
The city is still recovering from the brutal Mother’s Day second line parade shooting, in which 20 innocent people were shot. It was just another vicious assault in a city that specializes in horrific crime news.
The beat goes on in the Murder Capital as the natives are too accustomed to such carnage to become continually outraged; however, negative national publicity will eventually start to interrupt the city’s brisk tourism business.
There are multi-faceted reasons for the crime epidemic. Long term answers involve restoring the family unit, breaking the cycle of poverty and fixing a broken public school system. In the short term, citizens need to take action to fix a dysfunctional criminal justice system which features dangerously liberal judges, overworked prosecutors and understaffed police.
A police department that recently boasted 1,700 officers now includes only 1,200 officers. As approximately 120 officers leave each year, the number of new recruits is slim to none.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu says that it will cost $65 million to recruit and train another 300 officers. It would be wise to cut other areas of government and find these funds for it is money well spent. There is nothing more important to focus on than public safety; it is the most critical duty of any city leader.
While the department hemorrhages, murders continue to accumulate in New Orleans. According to Irv Magri, President of the victim assistance organization, Crime Fighters of Louisiana, there have been approximately 5,000 murders in New Orleans in the last 20 years. Of those 5,000 murders, there has not been one case of true justice, for none of the killers have been executed.
Capital punishment is legal in Louisiana, but practically non-existent in New Orleans. The last person sentenced to death in New Orleans was Michael Anderson, convicted of killing five people in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. However, it was eventually overturned and Anderson was sentenced to life in prison. Thus, there has not been a successful death penalty conviction in New Orleans since 1997.
For the most part, juries refuse to render the verdict and for those rare few who have been sentenced to death, there are endless appeals on death row. For example, vicious cop killers Antoinette Frank and Len Davis have spent almost two decades on death row.
Capital punishment is just punishment for those who are convicted of first degree murder. If implemented, it would serve as a deterrent to potential murderers. Criminals would know there are consequences for their crimes. In addition, executions would save taxpayers millions of dollars as room, board, clothing and other amenities would not have to be paid for murderers to sit on death row for year after year.
Sadly, the besieged people of New Orleans should not expect any changes any time soon. As evidence, we just need to examine the case of Don and Antoine Brooks, two brothers convicted of killing three people. In March, federal prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty for these killers. Maybe federal prosecutors realized that Orleans Parish juries are averse to sentencing anyone to death. Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro must realize the same situation as he has been unsuccessful in any of the handful of murderers he has attempted to send to their death via lethal injection.
Despite thousands of murders throughout Louisiana during his term of Governor, only one person has been executed in the state during the term of Governor Bobby Jindal. Capital punishment is legal in the state of Louisiana, but only 28 people have been executed since it was reinstated in 1976.
It is one very expensive reason why crime is such a problem in our state, especially New Orleans.