Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Welcome to The Killing Fields


The recent murders on Lester are causing people to sit up and take notice. One thing that is FINALLY being reported, is that these people where criminals. It has even been reported that there was a gang affiliation, though the media hasn't delved into that much. Here's what I can say about this situation. It is a tragedy, but it is a predictable tragedy. When you have a criminal justice system that believes more in time-out than time-in, this is what you get. Three of the four deceased adults had serious criminal records. The men should not have even been at home when this killing took place, they should have been in jail.

Here's a rundown on each of the deceased:

1. Cecil Dotson was arrested five times, as an adult. His latest charge was for armed robbery. He was also a gang member.

2. Hollis Seals was arrested 16 different times, as an adult. His latest charge was for carrying a pistol (live by it...)

3. Shindri Roberson AKA Alicia Stevenson was apparently a prostitute, as she has been arrested for prostitution at least three times and also for selling drugs, and other such charges. She had been arrested 7 times.

4. Marissa Williams doesn't appear to have any charges. She just made bad choices in men and friends. She had to get an order of protection against one of her suitors.

It has been reported that Cecil Dotson's brother served time for Murder, is a gang member, stabbed someone while in jail, and pulled a pistol on Cecil last month.

Why is anyone surprised about these violent deaths, given the environment? When will the legislature wake up and pass a bill that keeps repeat offenders off the streets? Does anyone want to bet that the person or people responsible for killing these victims has been to jail several times, is probably a gang member, and needs to punished one last time?

Much has been said about what the MPD can do or has done. New York has been cited as the model, and it is. However, the MPD is implementing new strategies and has been doing Blue Crush, which arrests a lot of offenders, for the past year or more. Soon, the Real Time Crime Center will open and there will be new strategies. One of those is the implementation of "Gun Shot Detection" cameras. These cameras will be deployed into areas that have a history of gun-play and they will only record when they detect a gunshot. They will be monitored by staff in the RTCC. We will be developing databases and software that gives officers the information they need, when they need it. Even so, this will not cause the criminals to stop. Only the courts and the legislature can do that. We can load the jails, and they will continue to spank their hands and turn them back out, until the public has had enough.

I don't mean to come across as harsh or pessimistic, but I'm more surprised we haven't had more of these type situations, given the laissez-faire attitude of both the courts and the legislature. It's time people got upset enough to contact their legislators and demand the sentencing laws be fixed. If our thugs weren't propelled back into the community so easily, we might not be such a dangerous city!

I'm sorry for the kids that were killed and the family members who have lost relatives, regardless as to whether they were criminals or saints. I'm also sorry for anyone who has to live in that environment. What chance do those kids who survived have of becoming anything but a criminal? I'd say it's not a wager I would want to make. What's the answer? I believe the answer is multifaceted, and one that requires the good men of the black community to step up. It's time to decry thuggery and to push kids in the right direction, not towards wearing gangster clothing, flashing gang signs and listening to gangstah rap. Who will step forward and lead the community? Any reverends out there who are actually more concerned about people, than politics? If so, step up and do what God commands.

6 comments:

Trung said...

well said, amen. The truth is the laws of this country is too soft on criminals. Until we have laws that actually punished the criminals by punished I means put them to work when they in prison to earn their meals and health care. Let the criminals pay not the tax payer. I think the prison system in America is a joke. For example, prisoner have 3 meals a day, free health and dental care, cable/satellite tv, gymnasium, access to library and computer, and that is just to name a few.

Anonymous said...

This is the same attitude that has been displayed through out our history. We have a record number people in jail. Yet all you people can think of is handing out more jail time. Without giving life sentences out to everyone who commits any crime this plan will always fail. When you run a rap sheet that spans 20 ears your are giving an example of your short thinking when it comes to rehab. Now we sell out the contracts to corporations so they can basically run a slave labor for profit. They are not working and paying back society. They are working for a large company who has won the bid to house X amount of inmates in exchange for some captive labor at chinese wages. You folks who think people in jail have it made are the same clowns who think that people who are bums have it made because they don't go to work everyday.
I have an idea for you one idea wonders. Let make jail more violent and take away all the perks. Lets send them there to cement rooms with no toilet paper or any thing. Then only the most violent and craziest survivors will make it back out..... Then when your facing one of them on a 'mental' streak achieving new levels of violence and crime.... you can again blame it on the 'system' being easy and come up with more brilliant ideas....

John Harvey said...

Anonymous said, "Yet all you people can think of is handing out more jail time. "

What do you mean by "you people"? Haha, I love it. I've been waiting to say that for years!

Well, I see you don't like my plan, but you might if you read it. I don't advocate locking people up for long periods of time. I advocate modifying behavior by creating a system that starts out with the first conviction resulting in probation, the second, one day in jail, and subsequent convictions a doubling of each previous sentence. That will NOT max the jails out, but it might modify the offender's behavior - which is the stated intention.

You, on the other hand, offer no solutions. You only talk about what will not work. I have offered what I think is a workable, cost effective solution.

When you have a viable solution, feel free to post it. I'd love to read it. Meanwhile, I don't have time to talk about what doesn't work, I've already seen what doesn't work. I'm looking for things that do work.

Anonymous said...

I have a suggestion for you: How about different sentences, even different jails, for violent offenders vs. nonviolent offenders, no exceptions.

In my experience, many drug users, even dealers, aren't violent; but the violent ones are some scary pieces of "work". Those who hurt others physically need to be locked down. Those who feel the need to make money unlawfully, well, they need to learn something else... but 10-year jail sentences for that are not right. Also, the violent offenders are the ones making jail such a horrible place for rehabilitation and a place that spawns more repeat offenders, in my opinion.

-N

Anonymous said...

REGARDLESS OF WHAT TYPE OF BACKGROUND THESE PEOPLE HAD, THAT STILL DOESN'T MEAN WHAT WAS DONE TO THEM WAS RIGHT. AND AS FAR AS GIVING THE OFFENDERS MORE TIME IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE SITUATION. SOMETIMES REPEATED OFFENDERS ARE THOSE WHO JUST DON'T CARE, AND YES, THEY DO DESERVE NOT TO BE ON THE STREETS. BUT "MAJORITY" OF THE TIME THE ONLY REASON THEY BECOME REPEATED OFFENDERS IS ONCE THEY MESS UP FOR THE FIRST TIME,THEY AUTOMATICALLY BECOME THE "TARGETS". AND IT DON'T MATTER WHAT TYPE OF CHANGE OR PROGRESS THEY HAVE MADE IN THEY'RE LIFE, AS LONG AS THEY GOT A RECORD THEY WILL ALWAYS BE CLASSIFIED AS THE "CRIMINALS". WHAT IF GOD GAVE TIME FOR THE THING WE'VE DONE AGAINST HIS WILL...................

John Harvey said...

I don't recall anyone saying these people were given what they deserved. What I said was, "they were the authors of their own destruction." They participated in a violent lifestyle, and they knew what the possible outcome could be. I know it sounds easy, but if you life a gangstah lifestyle, you have to expect a gangstah demise....