Thursday, February 08, 2007

Steel Courage

Via the_velvet_rut, the 21st murder in New Orleans started as a fist fight and ended with the loser’s mother giving possibly the worst parental advice ever:
Narcisse said Johnson went home and gave details of the fight to his mom, 44-year-old Vanessa Johnson. She gave her son a handgun and told him to get revenge because he had apparently lost the fight.
Clarence Johnson is 17-years-old and still out there somewhere. The mother has been arrested.

This highlights how our violent crime problem spans more than just one generation. It took generations of neglect to arise and will take generations of effort to solve. But there must be a first generation brave enough to start it in order for there to be a next generation to finish it. Varg has some great points on that.

I count this as the 21st murder because this counts as a murder, too:
Today [February 4], the New Orleans Police Department announced the arrest of 21-year-old George Lewis, a local male, and booked him with 2nd degree murder of his girlfriend’s two year-old daughter. The offense occurred yesterday [February 3] at approximately 4:00 p.m,. in the 1400 block of South Lawn Street.


The Orleans Parish Coroners autopsy revealed the child suffered internal and external trauma to the body as the cause of death. Detective Raymond Ambose, conducted an investigation and arrested George Lewis and booked him with 2nd degree murder.
Shaking or beating a defenseless two-year-old child to death is as violent as a violent crime can get. It is just as cowardly as winning a fist fight with a gun.

So, in 39 days in 2007, we have had 21 murders. That’s about a murder every other day. It is also a murder rate of 98 murders per 100,000 residents. (My formula: 365 divided by 39 is approximately 9.36; 21 times 9.36 is approximately 196, which is the projection for the year-end total murders assuming the current rate stays the same; 200,000 divided by 100,000 equals 2, which assumes a population of 200,000; 196 divided by 2 equals 98, which is the projected murder rate assuming the current rate stays the same.)

What this also shows is the problem is not getting better. In the last half of 2006 (184 days), there were 106 murders (one of the 1/3/07 murders was classified as a 2006 murder). Using the above formula (365 divided by 106 is approximately 1.98; etc.), that comes to a murder rate of 105 per 100,000 residents in the last half of 2006. While 98 is lower than 105, it’s not much lower. And when the first 39 days of 2007 are added to the last half of 2006 numbers, the murder rate is 101 per 100,000 residents.

In light of the high murder rate and where the murders happen, I understand more why a Central City mother tells her child to use a gun to settle a dispute. I understand that it is both a cause of the problem and a reaction to it. Apparently, living in some parts of New Orleans requires courage of steel and, when that is lacking, steel courage.


jeffrey said...

This might be inappropriate. But there is a country or blues song to be written about this. "Mama Gave Me a Gun" Can't you hear it already?

da po' boy said...

Yes, I can hear it. There is a reason why the blues exist.

jeffrey said...

Exactly. I wasn't trying be cute. I'm glad you got that.