Formerly suspicious sides start to unite.
The bad news is that Allen County has already recorded 23 murders, just one less than in 2011 with more than four months to go. The worse news is the probable cause of the spike: “Gangs,” Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York told The New-Sentinel’s Kevin Leininger. “Homicides and shootings are up, and the majority of it is gang-related . . .”
And it isn’t comforting to note, as York does, that the gangs aren’t necessarily “well organized enterprises with out-of-town ties” but often a “rag-tag bunch of mostly disgruntled twos and 20-somethings who dabble” in crime and drugs. Anytime there is a gang shooting, a reprisal is likely, and the longer the paybacks continue the more innocent bystanders will be hurt. Two children have already been caught in the crossfire this year.
The silver lining, if there is one, is that people are so fed up that there seems to be a thawing in the relationship between police and the neighborhoods where the crimes occur. This isn’t a case of mutual respect and admiration yet, but some of the hostility-inducing mistrust and suspicion has been toned down.
“People are getting involved because they’ve had enough,” said York, who said he is also working with religious leaders to promote nonviolence. Anyone who remembers the bitter hatred directed a few years ago at the Metro-Squad city-county task force will understand that we might have reached a milestone of sorts.
The city’s goal should be to turn the milestone into a turning point. Police say they know who the bad guys are and are building the cases to get them off the streets. Well and good, but there will always be a fresh supply of bad guys. The only winning strategy is to create neighborhoods where they are not welcome and cannot flourish.
It isn’t fair to put the whole burden on neighborhood residents. But police can’t be everywhere at once. To be effective, they need partners willing to look out for their neighbors because it is in their self-interest.
We'll take nice over nasty
Critics who have lamented negative TV political ads now seem flabbergasted by the “oh, so, nice” autobiographical ads of gubernatorial candidates Mike Pence and John Gregg. At least one spot “had some pundits in Indiana and Washington scratching their heads in search of its point,” The Associated Press reports.
Really? No substance is possible in a 30-second or 1-minute ad – there is no time for details, let alone nuance. So an ad must create a lasting impression in one of two ways – a vicious, exaggerated portrait of the opponent as evil incarnate or a warm and fuzzy self-portrait of the lovable and caring hero. Given that we’ll get our facts from more reliable sources and that there is no escaping the ads, we’ll take warm and fuzzy over mean and vicious, thank you.