The needler in the haystack.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Gangs & Violence: A West Ender's view


Ran into a friend, an old-time Plainfielder, over the weekend. Like me, she lives in the West End.

Being of a certain age, she does not get her news from the Internet, relying instead on old-fashioned face-to-face encounters with neighbors and friends, supplemented by the Courier News.

Out to get her lottery tickets, she had not yet read the papers.

"What's goin' on," she asked.

"You know the Rev. Al is coming to town?" I said.

"Really," she replied, adding without dropping a beat, "Who's paying for that?"

"Don't know," says I, "he's part of the mayor's town hall meeting on gangs is all I know."

"Well, I hope he tells us something we don't already know," she said.

"It's too easy for these kids to have guns today," she continued, "and they have better guns than the cops."

"Yeah," I said, "a friend from Calvary Baptist Church was making the same point just the other day."

"You know, I was watching Dancing With The Stars one night recently and I heard a commotion outside," she said.

"Some kids had been out there, sitting on my car, when somebody drove by and shot at them. They didn't hit the kids, but one of the shots went through my front passenger window and the driver's seat headrest and the slug ended in the door panel right behind where my head would've been. I'd have been dead if I'd been getting out of the car," she said.

"Scary," was all I could muster.

"You know," she said, "I appreciate that the police are trying to do all they can, but you just can't arrest your way out of this business."

"These kids need jobs. Look at them out on the corner, trying to make some money. Would they be doing this if they could make a decent living? Maybe some, but it wouldn't be like it is now. I hope they do something about finding these kids something to do," she ended.

How could you not agree?

A check with the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Plainfield's unemployment rate for June 2010 is  estimated at 11.2% (see data here), and reports in the media are that the unemployment rate among Black youth (ages 16-24) is over 40% (see chart below).

Jobs needed indeed.





-- Dan Damon [follow]

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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Also wouldn't hurt if we had a school system worth a darn so that the kids were prepared to get a job.

Also wouldn't hurt if the people who are getting shot at would speak up and talk to the police. Can't help you if you won't help yourself.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that is going to work is a lockdown of Plainfield with multiple law inforcement agencies working together to CLEAN the trouble areas.

Most of Plainfield are productive members of society. I say get rid of the trash and the parents/guardians who condone and/or encourage that behavior.

All those "gang bangers" who want to shoot off guns, send their sorry behinds to a warzone and lets see just how tough they are.

Punks, every last one of them!

Anonymous said...

I have been saying this for years
tear down the projects. Rebuild with newer smaller homes and have stipulations in place that will be enforced Any criminal activity and or gang associations will be subject to automatic eviction and no one over 18 not working or going to school must vacate immediately

Anonymous said...

Dan you probably will not print this comment but here it goes anyway. Why didn't Councilmen Storch or Councilmen Burney attend the meeting last night? I know why it did not affect the 2nd ward, and it was too black for them. Plainfield wake up let's vote leader's that are concern about the whole city not just part of the city,

Anonymous said...

Al Sharpton coming to Plainfield.

There goes more $$$ for the Mayor to buy some chicken and ribs

Anonymous said...

If not having jobs lead to crime, the Depression of the 30's would have ushered in the end for the US & Canada. Not the case, my friend. Try crying the excuse song some where else. Call sin "sin" for goodness sakes Dan wheter it is Al Capone of Billy Bob

Anonymous said...

Dan,
I have to agree in part with 8:04 AM regarding the schools. Over the years, I have employed some of the best from Plainfield schools. Some have been with us through HS & college and now Grad School. In 9 years of business, I have had almost 50 students work for us and 90% were from PHS. This year when I was hiring some replacements for those that didn't return to Plainfield from college, 3 of the 4 I hired were from out of town. The reason is that of 40 applicants, it is incredible the number of students that couldn't do simple math and their english was unbelievable. I believe in giving someone a chance to prove themselves but the majority that come to the place to ask for employment won't even get an application because of their apearance and their communication skills.
But it is more than the schools, they are a product of their environment, the schools, the neighborhood and their family. Failure here tends to be a self propogating road to failure!

Dan said...

@ 11:54 AM -- Councilor Storch was out of state; I don't know about Councilor Burney.

I was told the Mayor did not even acknowledge the presence of Council President McWilliams or Councilors Carter, Mapp or Reid, and Councilor Rivers, who was on the panel was snubbed by the Mayor also.

You're right tho, voters should pick candidates who are for the whole city.

Dan said...

@ 4:32 -- Your are right to mention Capone; it was booze everyone was killing over.

Now we have drugs. That's progress?

We also had jobs programs during the Depression -- my dad was in the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Nothing like that going on today, more's the pity.

If there's 'sin' to point out, I'll finger the politicians!

Yep I Said It! said...

Well regarding Gangs, Violence, Drugs -I guess Plainfield needs to blame Sharon (sorry I can't bear to type the word Mayor near her name -much less say it).

Why?

Because when she took her second term there was absolutely NO CRIME because she brought it down during her first term to 300 PERCENT!!! . . . NOT!

And . . . there were Plainfield citizens who actually believed her TRICKERY enough to VOTE FOR HER. . . . NOT ME! For goodness sake she made a campaign commercial boasting about crime being down 300 PERCENT!!!

Well look where those VOTES put Plainfield. A city riddled with crime while we sleep, eat and pray. And a mayor who eats, eats and eats.

P.S. -I believe Al Sharpton eats healthy. I don't believe he eats ribs.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 10:46am. We need to tear down the projects, they perpetuate crime and drugs. We need a PLAN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CITY. We won't get that because City Hall is full of incompetents and the city council members don't want to make hard choices to improve this city for everyone.