10 February 2007

Deficient Parenting in New Orleans

The murder of 17-year old Robert Dawson is an incredibly sad and outrageous story of another 17-year old getting into a fight with Mr. Dawson, going home to tell his mother of the incident, and then having his mother tell him he needed to get revenge by killing those responsible. The story has been well told by the Times-Picayune and I am sure everyone is a buzz about it. However, one line in the story caught my eye, actually a quote from NOPD spokesman Sgt. Joe Narcisse "No police department can make up for that degree of deficient parenting.“

I find this statement from the NOPD shocking. The NOPD announced that the 17-year old murder suspect's mother had cocaine in her posession. Granted, this is bad parenting, I guess that is obvious, but it could also be a serious problem associated with drug addiction and the wide availability of illegal drugs in the Crescent City.

The NOPD may not be able to make up for any degree of deficient parenting, but they can and should crack down on illegal drug distribution. This is the root of nearly all of the crime in New Orleans. I rarely feel unsafe in New Orleans in any neighborhood, and that is because I am not in any way involved in illegal drugs. Most of the crime, including murders, have their root in illegal drug trafficking; we all know that and that is why we become most alarmed by murders not directly involving drugs (which are quite rare). The NOPD was not very good at stopping illegal drug activity before Katrina, and they seem to be even worse at it now.

Don't believe me? Most neighborhoods in New Orleans have a street corner or two, or maybe a single block that is owned by teenage thugs that blatantly sell drugs on the street. We have all seen it over and over again. There is one block like that near me. Calling NOPD for action is a joke. They show up in a cruiser 45 minutes after you call (if you are lucky), and drive right by the drug dealing sentinels stationed several blocks away from where deals go down, armed only with Nextel/Sprint phones. These sentinels alert the actual drug dealers that a police cruiser is nearing the location where deals are going down. By the time the NOPD shows up, all is quiet, drugs are stashed under houses and in trunks of abandoned cars, and the police officer comes straight to your door to tell you he/she does not see anything going on. Of course, you would think that the NOPD would understand the logistics of the drug dealers, but it is obvious that they don't. Or they don't care.

Would Robert Dawson, 17, and just returning from Dallas, be dead today if the NOPD had control over the drug trade? I can't say for sure, but if cocaine and crack and pot were not so readily available in nearly every neighborhood, maybe an addicted mother would not have cocaine in her system at the time her son came home from a fistfight with another teenager. Maybe she wouldn't be addicted at all and be caught up in a cycle of buying (and selling?) illegal drugs.

I have an idea for the NOPD: spend more time out of your cruisers and on your feet walking our neighborhoods, arresting thugs selling drugs who control our many of our corners, and shutting down illicit drug distribution in New Orleans. Then maybe you can get into the crime prevention game instead of the crime solving game. And maybe help some other drug addicted mother to be less deficient at parenting.


At February 10, 2007 9:09 AM, Blogger Roux said...


At February 10, 2007 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nationwide, is there ANY law enforcement agency on ANY level in ANY locality who actually is good at stopping illegal drug transactions?

There isn't.

HIghly addictive illegal drug activity is a disease like alcoholism and compulsive gambling.

The whole approach of handling the issue mainly as a law enforcement matter has failed, is a failure, period. That's nothing that should be news to anyone and it's hardly just here, although the storm recovery has added a lot of strain to our social structures and a lot of tension in society.

For years and years president after president have declared war on drugs.

Guess what? There's been no progress but as fools we continue with the same approach thinking that somehow different results will someday ensue. They won't.

For one, pot should be decriminalized, at least. What's the rate of violent crime in the Netherlands where it's legal?

Pot has nothing to do with the violence and should not be grouped with crack, cocaine or heroin, and perhaps if the cops weren't seemingly so intent on going after the petty crap, e.g. individuals just peacefully lighting up a bowl at a concert, then maybe they could actually devote more attention to the real crime.

BTW cops hassling people over petty nonsense is very much a problem that I would characterize the way you are characterizing the local cops not being good at stopping drug activity.

The solution: stop hassling people over petty BS, start building a better relationship between average citizen and cop and then maybe more people would feel OK about coming forward and testifying or at least providing useful leads to law enforcement.

The real problem is how too many people who have too-serious problems have too-easy access to guns and that's why the U.S. is such a much more violent society than anywhere else. This is not meant at responsible gun owners, of course, however we're fools to deny the reality on this issue and to convince ourselves that the Second Amendment is something that's an absolute.

At February 11, 2007 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

while i agree that the d.a.'s office is and has been a huge part of the problem i still think that the nopd has to man up now more than ever.

putting up your hands and saying i give is not the way to go.

this is the time now more than ever to draw a line in the sand and make it obvious which part of the crimanal justice system is broken.

not wring your hands and say your job is to hard.

who ever rises above this fray will be the hero.

we get a new mayor and a new police cheif in three years. keep up the fight.

the rank and file need your support right now.

between jordan and rielly they aint getting it at work.

At February 11, 2007 6:34 PM, Anonymous Carmen said...

For the first time in nine years of living here, there were gunshots on the corner last night: uptown side of Napoleon Avenue, in Broadmoor. No one seems to have been hit, so you won't hear about it on the news.

Today, in the FQ, I got approached by a white guitarslinger who twitched his nose in the Bewitched fashion. Apparently, the gesture regards a cocaine transaction, though I'm not sure if he was into buying or selling. He hightailed it out of my view when he realized he misread the cue. I look street enough, and I was hanging by my lonesome waiting for my people to finish with the Barkus parade.

There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for the cops not to go after illegal guns and their dealers. I don't care how many times you keep arresting the gangbangers and where the fingerpointing goes, if you dry up the supply line which leads to fatalities, there will be less murders. It's harder to smuggle in loads of guns than drugs.

At February 12, 2007 11:06 PM, Anonymous Karen said...

Something about this story feels wrong to me. While this mother may not get any awards for parenting, it seems strange. The way the story was presented ...
And then the all too familiar, This is Hard


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