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.