The Wallet Hub survey noted that Louisiana has the 4th highest crime rate per capita in the nation. It is even worse in the area of violent crime as New Orleans has often been listed as the murder capital of the nation.
Without public safety, there is a feeling of constant stress. With crime so prevalent, people are not safe on the streets, at home or at the workplace. In New Orleans, restaurants are robbed, drivers are regularly car jacked, and murder, armed robbery, rape and other violent crimes frequently occur throughout the city.
For example, last weekend, on Easter Sunday, there were six shootings in New Orleans, with seven injured and one killed. This carnage is typical of the weekends in New Orleans, but, sadly, it is also commonplace in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and other areas of the state.
In response to this crime, in 2017, the Louisiana Legislature did not act by increasing criminal penalties, but, with very flawed reasoning, decided to lower the incarceration rate. A series of bills was passed that led to 1,900 prisoners being released on to the streets of Louisiana in November of last year. There was very little rehabilitation offered or job training for these prisoners, just a mass release from incarceration. Not surprisingly, soon thereafter, 76 of these hardened criminals were arrested again, some for serious crimes such as armed robbery.
A better strategy to reduce stress in Louisiana would be to keep prisoners behind bars and create safe streets. Another way for stressed citizens to deal with the crime issue is to defend themselves, their families and their property by purchasing firearms and becoming trained on how to properly use them. Incredibly, the Chairperson of the Louisiana Democratic Party, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans) tweeted last weekend that she supports the position of leftist former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and wants to repeal the Second Amendment. This position is opposed by the vast majority of Louisiana residents who strongly believe in the right to bear arms.
Carter Peterson’s position is also dangerous for residents of high crime areas such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge where there are not enough police officers and too many criminals preying on innocent people. Louisiana residents need the extra protection of defensive firearms to protect themselves since police are not able to provide adequate presence and the response times are slow.
There is also a revolving door criminal justice system. Unfortunately, liberals on the bench like Judge Trudy White of Baton Rouge are notorious for reducing bail for hardened criminals. In November of 2017, White reduced the bail from $88,000 to $9,000 for a career criminal, Albert Franklin, Jr., who used his freedom to kill firefighter and reserve police officer Christopher Lawton in a Walmart parking lot. Such incompetent judges and rampant crime increase the stress level of law abiding citizens.
Making matters even more stressful in Louisiana are the usual practices of political corruption, wasteful spending and a lack of focus on priorities. Regular hurricanes cause stress in Louisiana, but it made worse since the issue of coastal erosion has not be adequately addressed by our political leaders.
In Louisiana, even rainstorms can cause stress. In below sea level New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu was too focused on his selfish personal political agenda and spent considerable time and money removing Confederate monuments, instead of being concerned with more critical issues. His lack of oversight of the Sewerage and Water Board was a major factor in the serious drainage problems that were discovered in that agency.
As a result, a minor rain storm last August caused massive flooding throughout the city. Needless to say, that was a very stressful event for the people of New Orleans and it was made worse because the Mayor was not in the city during the flooding, For two days, he refused to leave an Aspen Institute conference even while the people of New Orleans were dealing with a catastrophe caused by his incompetent management of the Sewerage and Water Board.
No wonder the people of Louisiana have stress as poor political leadership leads to adverse consequences. The moral of this sad story is that elections have consequences and the wrong choices can led to plenty of problems, including plenty of stress.
Jeff Crouere is a native New Orleanian and his award winning program, “Ringside Politics,” airs locally at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and at 10:00 p.m. Sundays on PBS affiliate WLAE-TV, Channel 32, and from 7-11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990-AM & www.Wgso.com. He is a political columnist, the author of America's Last Chance and provides regular commentaries on the Jeff Crouere YouTube channel and on www.JeffCrouere.com. For more information, email him at [email protected]