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.
Posted by John Harvey at 3/05/2008 07:01:00 PM