As you are reading, I know that certain biases and prejudices have come to your mind. The reign of terror reported nationally and internationally about "Southeast" has made the area legendary. The stories of unrestrained violence, murder and mayhem have left many a city leader speculating that if the City spent more on education, jobs training and putting more police on the streets--as long as they are not racist and can agree with the protocols of the BlackLivesMatter movement--then, the legends will become mythologies of an ancient, uncivil time. All problems will have been abated.
Capitol Hill, I feel your pain. You have attended services to light a candle and remember Charnice Milton's murder. Of course, you may not have attended if the theme was "End the War on Self-Defense". It feels better when we seek to end gun violence instead. Of course, you did what persons in the "Other Southeast" have done before you. You raged against the first group that you could sincerely hold responsible. The culprit? No the "system"!
"The cars were damaged, but we have families on this block and they very easily could have been hit by all the bullets," said Denise Krepp, ANC Commissioner for the neighborhood. Krepp continues, "The system isn't working, it's broke." Yes, Capitol Hill, I concur. The system is broken. Rips and tears that begin in one place always have a devastating end in another. So what shall we do? I know in the "Other Southeast" ANC Commissioners clamor for air time and demand that they meet with Mayor Muriel Bowser, Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, City Councilmembers and City Agency Heads. There is a demand for more police and more response from the "good neighbors" in the community. How shall "this Southeast" respond?
Krepp will be meeting with D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and encourages residences to join her to voice their concerns as well.
I see that "This Southeast" seems to be no different than the "Other Southeast" except in power, prestige, influence and wealth. As the impoverished "Other Southeast", you turn to the government as the bitter spring of problem and well spring of solution. In a one party town, you turn to the ideologists that believe it more prudent to wait for the second responder to arrive in time to fill out a report than to empower the first responder to protect himself or herself at the scene of the said attack. You are never too poor or too wealthy to learn that culprits do not obey laws and that is why they are culprits. It does not matter if you are in the housing projects of Edgewood or the tony lairs of Adams Morgan, your geography will not protect or insulate you from the commoner that seeks to separate you from your property or your life. The system that is broken is the one built upon an ideology, fully pledged to and subscribed to, on both sides of the River. From pulpit to pew and home to office, the Utopic thinkers have convinced the many of Washington to believe that they are safer in the clutches of a repeat offender than adhering to their God given right to protect themselves.
"The Department of Justice, with their statistical prowess, reports that the best response time is 4 minutes and the worst over 1 hour. Interpretation? If you live in an upper income area you probably are privy to the 4 minute response time, while middle to rural areas will see a much longer response time.
Now here is where things get interesting. Even though the Department of Justice determined that the average police response time to a 911 call is 4 minutes, the average interaction time between a criminal and his victim is 90 seconds.
That translates to you being robbed/injured/maimed/raped/murdered and waiting for an additional 2 and a half minutes for the police to arrive."
One minute and thirty seconds.
Dr. Chuck Russo, Program Director of Criminal Justice at American Military University, writes, "Research finds that 75 percent of serious crimes reported are a “discovery crime,” where the incident has already occurred and the crime is essentially over. Thus, only in approximately 25 percent of serious crimes reported could a rapid law enforcement response have a potential immediate positive impact (Wrobleski & Hess, 2000)."
One minute and thirty seconds.
Sergeant Dennis Tueller, of the Salt Lake City, Utah Police Department, gives us the reason why one minute and thirty seconds is an eternity. He wondered how quickly an attacker with a knife could cover 21 feet (6.4 m). Why 21 feet? He wanted to know the amount of distance and time would elapse before a well-trained and armed police officer would be in imminent danger of losing his life as a result of a stabbing by a knife wielder. After various timed tests of volunteers, he determined that it was 21 feet. What would be the elapsed time? Before you break out the TI-30X Pro MultiView™ Scientific Calculator, let me hip you to the answer. It is 1.5 seconds. Beyond 20 feet, it would be murder. Less than that and we might be holding a funeral service for another dead police officer. Let me show you what that looks like in slow motion:
Cities like Washington, DC, Chicago and Los Angeles have given the criminal the upper hand. The intention is of course to stop violence. However, it apparently only works among the law-abiding. While you meet with Chief Lanier, ask her how many murders were committed by legal gun owners in the District in the last two years. Ask Mayor Bowser. Ask your Councilmember. The answer without pulling out the TI-30X is zero. The system is broken because both the rich and the poor have foolishly surrendered their rights, in pursuit of a Utopia that does not and will not ever exist, The lion on the Serengeti plains of Kenya attacks the weakest and most vulnerable zebra that it can find. It is unarmed and of no risk of life to him or her. The zebra has no chance. It is prey. On the same plains, the lion will not attack a porcupine. It is as meaty as a young zebra but, it is armed with quills. The lion either through experience or observation understands the pain of unintended consequences and will not attack.
What is broken is that we constantly use the same playbook to solve a problem that our Founding Fathers have already solved. We ask a one party government to show a bit of deference in enforcement and protection that is ideology prevents from existing. We ask people that have monopolized the choices of a free people to show a kindness that only omniscient ones can even consider--to be in the place that a crime will occur before it occurs. We doth protest too much! It is not the gun, the taser or the knife, my friend, that leaves so many on the unresolved homicide lists of Urban America. It is the ideology that kills. The system is not broken. The ideology works too well for that.