Feb 182014
 

jewel bush

As the celebrities and athletes who came to town to party during the NBA All-Star Weekend board planes heading back to their posh lives — after they Instagram images of themselves looking fabulous and doing fabulous things like eating beignets and shooting hoops with underprivileged youth — New Orleans remains as bloody as ever.

This week in violence, counting backwards:

On Monday, four people were shot in separate incidents across New Orleans –- near City Park, Gentilly, Uptown, Lower Ninth Ward. No one died (by the time of this writing) but two of the victims were critically wounded.

On Sunday morning, a New Orleans Police Department officer shot a man four times at a corner store in Hollygrove. There was some confusion about whether he was shoplifting. The details are sketchy. Eyewitness accounts vastly differ from that of the cop. A man is a dead.

On Saturday, the murder scene was in Gert Town.

On Friday, two cyclists were beat with aluminum bats while riding along Esplanade Avenue. No one died but a fractured jaw is one hell of an injury.

On Thursday, there was a murder-suicide near the Fair Grounds, a fatal stabbing out in New Orleans East and another murder in the Carrollton area.

The headlines are scary — random acts of violence, retaliatory acts of violence, domestic violence, police violence — though not altogether strange here. It’s violence as usual in New Orleans, and the rest of the world for that matter.

Everywhere I turn there’s a tragic story, where a young person’s life was cut down. Sometimes by other young people. Sometimes by police officers. Sometimes these young people are murdered twice; first walking home in the rain wearing a hoodie drinking tea and eating candy or in a parking lot listening to music — yes, perhaps too loudly, as if that should even matter — and then again during a trial where the character assassination ensues.

The “reasons” (excuses) run together: He was big. I was afraid. I stood my ground. He smoked weed. He was a thug. She threw eggs. It was a prank. I don’t care. I was mad. She was only 15. Doesn’t matter. Didn’t she know that I don’t play? I have a gun. I can shoot. I will. You in the head even.

Jordan Davis looks like Trayvon Martin looks like Wendell Allen looks like Oscar Grant looks like Keith Atkinson looks like Adolph Grimes — young, black and dead.

George Zimmerman looks like Michael Dunn looks like what justice looks like in a stand-your-ground state.

Florida looks like what Mississippi looked like what Bull Connor’s Bombingham looked like 50 years ago looks like what it means for David Warren to be acquitted for Travis McCabe to be back on the force in New Orleans with three years of back pay.

Mardi Gras parades are going to kick into high gear soon; and I’m afraid because here, after the fun, after the overflowing liquor is consumed, people get humbugish and shots usually ring out once the party is over.

Or during the middle of the day. Or after the second line. Or because that’s what happens in New Orleans. We throw a good party. A good repast.

Be safe, or as safe as you can, in New Orleans — this violent, beautiful, little place.

jewel bush, a New Orleans native, is a writer whose work has appeared in The (Houma) Courier, The Washington Post, The Times-Picayune, New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, and El Tiempo, a bilingual Spanish newspaper. In 2010, she founded MelaNated Writers Collective, a multi-genre group for writers of color in New Orleans dedicated to cultivating the literary, artistic and professional growth of emerging writers. Her three favorite books are Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Catcher in the Rye, and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

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  • Mike Flood

    When mentioning the shooting by NOPD on Sunday morning in Hollygrove, why not mention the stolen .45 that the deceased had?

  • MonkeyTown

    …yes, and they also look like Melvin Clay (who murdered a Marine in the FQ after the Marine Corps Ball), and Byron Johnson (who shot a Garden District home owner in the chest and stole the iPad from his daughter while her daddy lay near death in the front yard), and the animal who shot war veteran Sgt Jospeh Anderson (right after dropping off his kids at his mother’s house in Marerro). Murderers come in all shades of colors…not just white. Miss Bush not all white people are racists and not all white people think like George Zimmerman (he should be in jail btw) or Michael Dunn, or bomb churches….give it a break and write something original for a change.

  • kwabena rasuli

    Fratricide is the order of the day in inner-cities throughout. While not the only reason, we still must look at the content of the musick that is forcefed to our youth it’s undeniable influence! For example, new Orleans own lil shame (wayne)’s song- along with 2 slave Chainz, “rich as f**k.” the songs starts off with, ‘ak on my nitestand.’. he later raps about shooting it out with 5/0 and spraying rusty n*gg*s like wd-40. Overstand that our children listen to musick’ of the sort constantly. It’s a wonder why we are not experiencing even more violence with all of this poisonous propaganda!
    In Chicago 98% of the 423 murders were so-called minority and the two radio stations that play musick’ for our children are full of self-hating, misogyny and violence content. We must Clear The Airwaves of this poison!

  • Book

    You Covered a lot here!

  • UncommonSense100

    What’s the point in this article? You wrote something to tell us that violence is still happening and that people are still making excuses for it. Is that something we don’t know? Why are you bringing up George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn? Are you suggesting that the crime in here in NOLA are people like them pretending to defend themselves? The majority of the crime here is poor on poor… neighborhood on neighborhood… black on black.

    But what is actually disturbing people in NOLA is the acts of violence that are perpetrated by young people on random victims with no logical reason. No one has an explanation other than these kids are wrapped up in a culture that random violence is encouraged.

    If you really want to help, why not talk about the real causes and not the excuses? Education system is broken. There’s no way up and there’s no way out. Community leaders and church leaders are non-existent or full of excuses. Families are broken apart. Neighborhoods are in disrepair and left in shambles. Leaving zero tax base to support the community. Children are raising children. There are no family meals because people don’t even know how to cook. There’s a lack of access to healthy foods. There are no safe parks. There’s no safe places to play. You then have unhealthy people filling up our emergency rooms and/or not getting proper healthcare.

    You want to pontificate on character assassinations because of Zimmerman and Dunn and because of the racist comments that are thrown about carelessly, recklessly, and hurtfully by others. But you don’t acknowledge that it comes out of fear. Fear of random violence that occurs more frequently here than almost anywhere else in the United States.

    As a minority man, all these excuses hurt, but the real problem is that we won’t comprehensively deal with what ails NOLA. Are you helping matters any by writing an article that race baits? Do you honestly think you’re being sly when you reference police officers, Zimmerman, and Dunn… when most violence is perpetrated by young black males with zero guidance, zero support, and zero help?

    • Mike Flood

      UncommonSense100…Very well said.

  • Owen Courrèges

    I’m going to chime in on the whole “stand your ground” issue because it’s being invoked indiscriminately. All a “stand your ground” law does is repeal the “duty to retreat,” so a jury cannot find a person guilty who is claiming self-defense purely on the basis that they could have retreated from a threat. That’s all.

    The duty to retreat is part of old English common law and doesn’t normally exist in civil law jurisdictions, including Louisiana. Basically, Louisiana has always been a “stand your ground” state.

    The duty to retreat places people who exercise self-defense in a difficult position and thus fell into disfavor. Accordingly, most other states have eliminated the duty to retreat through stand your ground laws. Britain itself has eliminated the duty to retreat (although it replaced it with a nebulous “reasonableness” standard that’s problematic to apply in criminal cases).

    The fact remains that the state can defeat a self-defense claim by proving that a defendant was not responding to a threat or was using disproportionate force. If the state has not met its burden on that point, a person shouldn’t be convicted simply because they could theoretically have fled safely.

  • juan

    please do an article on the number of white on black cime in the US versus black on white crime. the numbers are very easy to find from the FBI. but we all know you wont do it because the numbers 1000% contradict anything race baiting you’re trying to portray in this article. there’s a great book about the increase/covering up of black on white crime by the media in this country called “white girl bleed alot”

  • G in Uptown

    Jewel, why don’t you ever come debate the merits of your work after you are challenged in your articles?

    Everytime your articles discuss racial issues, the pseudo-intellectualism and emotionalism becomes rampant. You are routinely challenged and proven to be rife with flawed approaches in your commentary.

    But you don’t come on and rationally, and logically refute the challenges. Why is that so?

    Is it because in the arena of rational thought, logic, and real numbers, you know you don’t have those tools in your debate?