Wednesday, January 17, 2007
what country do you think this is?
i live in a growing hamlet in south mississippi. over the past decade our small “town” has been experiencing the pains that come along with that growth. the major concern for most of us is the amount of crime that has affected our fair city, especially in the last year. we had a 145% (not a misprint) increase in the murder rate, and felonies over-all jumped from 1,743 to 2,178. just this last week, there was a shoot-out one block down and three streets over from my home. last year there was a shot fired in the street immediately in front of my own home. the police department appears to be impotent, and the system seems broken. a gentleman was killed in a parking lot last year in front of his daughter while just this week, a grad jury refused to indict the suspect even though witnesses saw the suspect strike the victim in the head with brass knuckles. speculation is that the local police botched the investigation and did not gather enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. in fact, he was never even arrested. what bugs me is that the police chief cited in both print and television media outlets that one of the three main reasons crime is up is because of “insufficient vigilance on the part of citizens. many of the crimes during 2006 were crimes of opportunity, Wynn said, adding that people need to take precautions to avoid being targets for thieves.” so let me get this straight - i’m supposed to make sure no one shoots someone else? this is a personal slap in the face as i have, on multiple occasions, implored the chief and his department to investigate and shut down the drug traffic in my neighborhood. i have pointed out dealers, suppliers, and buyers to the local police, but have been told repeatedly that the police can not do anything unless they see the activity for themselves. the police have a standing invitation to use my front porch as a surveillance post at their convenience. they have yet to take me up on the offer. and yet, in a city such as this, the city council has, in its wisdom, decided to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. a line from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off keeps echoing through my head - “What country do you think this is?” i mean we can’t keep the murder rate down or the drug traffic off our streets, but we’re going to attempt to ban a legal substance from being used in establishments which are owned by tax-paying citizens? makes me want to cuss. and fire up a fine imported fatty right in front of the police department. which has an ash-tray just outside its lobby. which is well within the distance one must not be occupying while smoking.