Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gang War Heats Up

The gang war is heating up and The Blade is making the most of it.  Here's a quick look at the latest news from the Toledo Blade: Mayor calls Blade series ‘irresponsible’
Toledo Mayor Bell: Toledo does not have a gang problem...
Toledo Police Chief Diggs: Most of our problems are gangs...
Real good, guys.  Are these two actually on speaking terms?

Why Mayor Bell didn't avoid this whole business is beyond me.  Why didn't he turn over this gang map to The Blade and avoid this entire business, which includes a costly lawsuit?  A redacted version of the map would have served the purpose just as well as the detailed version.

Then since the Mayor has to give the press something, he starts a tap dance routine.
Mr. Bell on Monday first said Toledo does not have a gang problem but clarified that it is “no different than any other metropolitan city.”
Meaning what, exactly?  Toledo as a whole has no gang problem, but it does have gangs like every other metropolitan city, it's just that in Toledo we have no problem with out gangs.  Then Mayor Bell tries to clarify:
“It’s a gang problem when someone actually creates an action, but up until then it’s just a group of people meeting,” he [Mayor Bell] said. “When it comes into action, that is when our law enforcement goes and initiates whatever is necessary to make sure people feel safe.”
So this group of people who are meeting, they're meeting to talk about choir practice, right?  Or maybe they want to organize a civic program for clean streets and sidewalks.  And let's not forget it's spring, which is planting season.  So these groups of people are trying to decide who will plant what sort of crops this year, including a cash crop - okay, I didn't write that.

Then law enforcement, when they see people planting stuff, they are going to swing into action to make sure people feel safe.  Feel safe?  Somehow, I do not think the average officer on patrol understands that he is responsible for my feelings.  Feel safe.  Don't you just love it?  I'm going to get hold of Solleks and Partner the next time I don't feel safe and tell them that they have to fix it.

The bird cage liner interviewed Chief Diggs, who decided to talk to them for reasons best known to himself. Now think about this for a second.  Imagine you're a regular sort of guy.  You are generally law abiding, meaning that from time to time you may do things you shouldn't, but you've never done anything real bad.  No violent crime, in other words.  So one night, one way or another, you become involved in a violent crime, maybe as a victim, maybe you lost your temper and pasted somebody a nice one, whatever.  Now the police want to talk to you.  Up until right this second, how much time have you spent talking to the police?  Outside of the occasional traffic violation, have you ever spent any time at all in an adversarial relationship with the police?

Yeah, me neither.

So when the police want to talk to you, just talk you see, who do you think will control that conversation and direct the outcome, you or the interrogation team?

So when the paper, the daily rag, calls and wants a few words with the Chief, just to talk you see, nothing really important or anything, just to satisfy a little curiosity, well... who do you think is going to control that interrogation conversation, Chief Diggs or an experienced newshound?

So according to Chief Diggs:
“Most of our problems are gangs, guns, and drugs,” Chief Diggs said. “It’s all related. ... Are gangs more violent today than they were back in the ’80s around here? Absolutely.”
Which is likely a partial truth.  The real problem is violent crime.  If gang related shootings were eliminated, the violent crime rate in Toledo would fall.  Likewise if some recreational substances were eliminated, violent crime rates would take a nosedive.

I think the real problem is a lack of information.  Clearly the criminals don't know that the law strictly prohibits them from possessing a firearm of any kind.  Maybe Toledo could start some sort of community outreach program to inform criminals that they are no longer allowed to keep firearms, and that will be that.

My own experience leads me to believe that if you want better results for a particular job, the thing to do is consult the people who actually have to do the work and see if they have any ideas about improvement.  Chances are they have a few.  If you work your way up the administrative ladder one more step and repeat the process, you'll get a few more viable ideas.  That's not likely to happen in Toledo, but that's how I'd begin.

Meantime I think I'll try getting hold of my own police department, the Sylvania Township Police, and see if they'll tell me which gang I'm supposed to belong to.  I may also remind them that they are responsible for my feelings.


CWMartin said...

At least one of yours is admitting to it. It took 25 years for anyone to admit it here. I really fail to see what is gained by politicians to deny that a problem (that they are not directly responsible for causing)exists.

Older School said...

Step #1...Admit the problem (Who would know better about a gang problem?)
Step #2...Elect a new mayor (He's obviously not paying attention.)

Step #3...Let law enforcement do their job! That means they need help enforcing mandatory sentencing.

Oh wait, that would be wishful thinking on my part, wouldn't it?

Mad Jack said...

CW: Likely because it gives their opponent to point at them and declare that the streets aren't safe, the current politico at the hog trough is soft on crime and education is paramount to the solution.

This would have never happened had I been elected, and will never happen on my watch. So vote for me, and the streets will be safe for you and your family.

Mad Jack said...

Older School: Yeah, wishful thinking. Especially the part about the mayor.

I actually had some hope when Bell took office. Foolish me.

As for the police, some of them are grossly underpaid and even more unappreciated.

Then there's the judges. If we could somehow force the judges to live in the same neighborhood as the criminals for a few months - say, maybe, six months or so, then I think we'd see some serious reform and sentencing.