Sunday, June 24, 2007


The T-P profiled the Guardian Angels in today’s paper. But that’s not the scary part.

This is:
"Criminals are cowards. They strike where it is easy," Landry said. "Criminals are going to move on if they see the Guardian Angels."

That conviction, however, is not universal. The Rev. Tony Talavera, proprietor of the French Quarter Wedding Chapel, called the Angels earlier this year, asking them to set up shop in the French Quarter. But after meeting them, Talavera changed his mind.

"They won't be effective," he said. "They are wasting their resources here. They aren't even armed. The criminals here are going to laugh at them, then rob them."

Talavera is trying to garner attention and support for a new initiative. He wants Blackhawk Protection Service, a Metairie company that employs lethally armed guards, some recently returned from stints in Iraq, to patrol the Quarter.
I missed this WDSU report, and the excellent point made at the end, which was filed in April:
The company, Talavera said, would be Blackhawk Protection Service. Its employees carry guns and are authorized to hold crime suspects until police arrive.

Blackhawk's plan involves a dozen two-man teams patrolling 24 hours a day.

Talavera said the added protection would combat graffiti, car break-ins, robberies and muggings.

Although Blackhawk said 38 businesses and 15 residents have already signed up, Marianne Lewis said she hasn't joined -- and that no one in the French Quarter should have to foot the bill for added safety.

"We've been paying taxes, and part of that is police protection. To put an additional financial burden on small business owners that they have to come up with any fee per month to keep our employees safe and visitors safe -- that's ridiculous," Lewis said.
These guys aren’t police. Their mission is “to provide physical and tactical security services to our clients with integrity, confidentiality and professionalism.” To their *clients.* Not the people.

Local law enforcement, particularly JPSO, is already starting to look like a paramilitary force. The last thing we need is an actual paramilitary force patrolling the streets.

I am sorry that some French Quarter residents feel the police aren't effective. But, they need to focus on *making* the police effective. If neighborhoods resort to buying their safety, then only the neighborhoods that could afford it would have it.

Also, as a point of reference, there has not been a murder this year in the French Quarter as of today. In fact, the French Quarter has been a murder-free island surrounded by a sea of death. I know this doesn't mean that the French Quarter has been free of all crime. But it has been free of the most violent kind.


Cero said...

Yes. Good points, great post.

Varg said...

I cringed when I read that part of the story too. You got a bunch of drunks parading around down there along with some Pinkerton-types toting guns. Recipe for disaster? Perhaps. Overkill? Certainly.

jeffrey said...

Private security contractors as an alternative to publicly accountable law enforcement.

Why don't these people just go to Don Corleone?

Mr. Clio said...

Black Hawk to the Quarter:

Gee, this is a really nice neighborhood! It'd be ashamed if something happened to it . . .

slate said...

This is a horrible idea, just horrible. BTW, the Guardian Angels aren't all that great an idea either.

Years ago when I lived in SFran, the Guardian Angels arrived. I interviewed Curtis Sliwa and a few of his upper echelon guys. These guys were, IMO, reactionary thugs bent on vigilantism. I can't really imagine that they've changed all that much.

That having been said, Blackhawk in the Quarter would be an abysmal idea.

There is a guy in the Quarter, tall, thin, black and usually substance impaired. We call him the "barker." He barks as he walks down the street. He often accosts tourists, telling the man of the couple how lucky he is to have such a beautiful lady on his arm. He talks and hustles and talks and hustles some more. He can be amusing. He can be annoying. He is definitely not dangerous, and will always back off if the people ask him to. I can only imagine some guy from Blackhawk seeing this guy for the first time.

"Bark, bark bark! Ooo-weeee mistah, you got a FINE woman on your arm! Where ya from? Know how lucky you are? Makes me want to bark at the moon! Want me to sing you a so-----UCGKKKK," Barker is slammed up against the wall, billy club against his neck, arm bent behind him. . . . . .From there the scene gets worse. Use your imagination.

"Sorry, Officers, Judge, we were just trying to detain him until the NOPD got there. He fought us and started barking, and the next thing we knew he was on the ground not breathing."