Murders in Our City: An urban holocaust rooted in history; played out in culture; a voiceless dirge.
What follows is a litany of the victims of violence since the first of this year. In a Facebook string prompted by a most excellent man, James Patton Walsh, two sets of ideas seemed to have emerged regarding murders in New Orleans. One saying that this holocaust is a result of historical bias, historical disenfranchisement, historical poverty; the other idea is that the contemporary culture is a violent one and as such children are raised in a violent ethos; further the introduction into community of crack is also a major contributor. I would like to suggest that all are contributing facts and that there are many more factors it’s not just one thing – indeed the easy access to violent media and the use of media as a palliative for children coincide with the introduction of cheap and destructive drugs such as crack exacerbating the cultural milieu of children. Yet, that is a national phenomena and does not adequately address the local phenomena (but it does set a stage). It is equally true that the powerful voices of reconciliation and non-violence seemed to be hushed; Cornell West suggests that churches have abrogated their roles in communities that seek and must have a voice in the voiceless valleys of poverty and marginalization within the greater community. Where is our voice now? It is very likely true that a police force will have limited long term effect on New Orleans’ urban violence because of the very intimate nature of that violence; just now officials are recognizing the nature of such. Yet, that cannot be a red herring that diverts an aggressive and appropriate response. Evident and dedicated community policing is a must (because we are social creatures – these are social crimes – personal trust must be built). We must stop talking about resources for children and make it happen; funding of successful grass roots programs, church programs, and virtually any program that will take youth off the streets and present excellent modeling behavior should be of the highest priority. It seems to me that a massive shift in culture is required and that can only be engineered with massive resources efficiently delivered without a political agenda but an agenda of compassion and respect for the profoundly high value of life itself. So, read this litany; join a grass roots or local youth oriented program; share resources financially and socially. It is only we who can change this urban holocaust; we are all implicitly, if not explicitly, to blame. Equally, we can be the causal factor for change.
1/1 Harry Howard 34 M Shot Orleans
1/3 Percy Pruitt 19 M Shot Orleans
1/2 Al Williams 33 M Shot Jefferson
1/4 name withheld 34 M Shot Orleans
1/7 Michael Johnson 21 M Shot Orleans
1/7 Willie McClure 47 M Shot Orleans
1/7 Eric Robinson 41 M Shot/Burned Orleans
1/6 Keian Ester 11 M Shot Jefferson
1/8 Joseph Evans 41 M Shot Orleans
1/8 Joseph Elliot 17 M Shot Orleans
1/10 Tiffany Frey 36 F Shot Jefferson
1/10 Lamar Ellis 21 M Shot Orleans
1/12 Reyland Berry 60 M Shot Orleans
1/12 Keishuane Keppard 20 F Shot Orleans
1/12 Troy Leslie 37 M Shot Orleans
1/12 Kerry Johnson 41 M Shot Orleans
1/16 Albert Springer 61 M Shot Jefferson
1/17 Gerald Barnes Jr. 21 M Shot Orleans
1/18 Gerald Andry 49 M Shot Orleans
1/18 unidentified M Shot Orleans
By my count 9 people were shot, including a 12 yr. old girl, in New Orleans yesterday, January 11, in four different shootings. All survived. I continue to pray for the police, the Landrieu administration, and our neighborhood leaders to find a solution to the violence. The first step is always prayer; prayer conforms the spirit and fortifies the mind and body for action. But, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17.