After last night, the reputation of New Orleans as a Halloween destination will be tarnished and instead will be associated with uncontrolled violence. Even in a city that has earned the horrific title of “Murder Capital” of the nation, it is almost unimaginable to hear about so many people being shot in one night.
In January of 2007, thousands of people took to the streets of New Orleans to rally against violent crime. Mayor Ray Nagin promised action, but nothing happened and the violence continued unabated.
Today, it is past time for rallies and marches which produce almost no positive change. Other long term solutions such as improving public education and fostering an environment for two parent households take many years before any real change occurs. These perennial problems have beset New Orleans for decades and will not be changing any time soon.
The only immediate solution is a massive influx of law enforcement personnel and a tough “law and order mentality” in our criminal justice system. The liberal judges who allow criminals to roam our streets are doing a tragic disservice to the vast majority of good law abiding people in our community. The criminals who are committing these crimes need to pay, not the helpless victims. Too often police are arresting criminals, who are being prosecuted and then set free to commit more crimes. It is disheartening for our police officers to arrest someone only to see that person back on the streets several days or weeks later.
It is time to demand that the Governor deploy the National Guard in high crime areas and key tourist destinations like the French Quarter. To keep tourists coming to New Orleans and employing so many local residents, it is mandatory that the “crown jewel” of the city, the French Quarter, is safe, which is not the area’s reputation after last night.
Today, New Orleans is facing a crime crisis as more gang violence and brutal criminal families like the Telly Hankton clan are threatening the very foundations of our criminal justice system. In recent weeks, the Mayor and District Attorney have been threatened and are receiving extra police protection. The brother to a key witness in the Telly Hankton trial was killed, sending a message that crime is king in New Orleans. A truck was brazenly driven into the front door of the District Attorney’s office, sending another clear message. In total, the sheer audacity of such actions is breathtaking.
It is time for the good people of New Orleans to say “enough” and demand immediate action. No more press conferences, platitudes and rallies. The whole criminal justice system needs to get tough with criminals and judges who are too lenient need to be thrown out of office by the voters.
It is time that we showed less mercy for the criminals and more mercy toward the ever increasing number of victims in New Orleans. Let’s put the criminals on the run and not the law abiding citizens of New Orleans.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m.weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at [email protected].