The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Friday, June 26, 2015

And In This Corner...

DNA Info on Shooting Stats

Despite the frank talk of community policing, mediation and lesser police presence, the fact remains that shootings in the 70th Precinct are up more than 60% over last year. That's deep in the heart of Flatbush, object of the preposition Equality Of. The number of shootings remains relatively low historically, and the double-digit numbers are not big enough to count out percent gains as mere aberrations, both geographical and numerical. But if you're living in Flatbush, particularly central Flatbush and Ditmas Park, and you pay attention to each incident as it comes, you could be forgiven for thinking things have taken a major turn for the worse. And yeah, for the record, though I don't find it particularly germane, it's mostly people of color shooting people of color. It would be pretty hard (as I heard one commentator say on Crap TV) that America is heading into a race war. From my 48 year old 27-year resident of Brooklyn brain, I'd say business has not changed a great deal in recent years. The races are no more at armed war than they have ever been. But if the word "war" could be changed to "calamitous crisis," I wouldn't hesitate to agree.

The 70th is hot right now. But...and this is a big butt (in keeping with the Q's favorite ass-obsessed gadfly), you've got other nearby precincts experiencing big drops, like in East Flatbush and Brownsville. Can't neglect to mention the 70th has an increase though. Might look like I'd lost my objectivity had I skipped it. (that's a joke; there's no such thing as objectivity, and I can prove it, beyond a shadow of a doubt. that's a joke too.)

I note, if only for my own benefit, four distinct solutions that were presented in detail at the meeting on Wednesday. Some combination might even prove effective.

1: More cops on the streets
2: Less cops and "broken windows," better policing, sensitivity, cultural awareness, fairness
3: More mediation, restorative justice, compassion for the emotional and social support needs of young people, translated into on-the-ground programs
4: Jobs, training, community centers, playgrounds and constructive stuff for folks to do as they mature.

But you know, the cynic in me sees some missed points. Like, it's not all young people committing crimes. Sometimes it's not even drug or gang or youth related. Fancy that! Drug abuse and drug dealing is a big part of the local economy - can't imagine it's MORE so than usual, or even particularly more than the average suburb, per capita. And also, it's not like you can just try "less cops" in a neighborhood and expect crime to drop. Or can you? Certainly decriminalizing narcotics could take some of the cowboy-mentality out of drug dealing. Who knows? I have a feeling we're going to have to try it at some point. Because business-as-usual is basically Jim Crow for the modern age.

I do know we'll never entirely end senseless violence. There's definitely a number below which crime can't really go. It's too much part of human nature. It is a certain kind of crime - particularly shootings in broad daylight - that will never go down easy. Access to guns, boiling over immature resentments, racial policing and policies, pathologizing blackness, poverty, lack of employment, poor schools, broken families, bad parenting, young parenting..haven't we heard enough reasons to believe they're all right to some degree and in some instances, but the overriding fact is that the country hasn't gotten nearly as far on race as it has on gay rights?


Anonymous said...

Lesser police presence? Right. Let's give that a try. I'm sure the hoods will react gracefully to that sort of progressive gesture.

People have lost their goddamned minds. MORE cops. MORE parental responsibility. LESS immersion of kids in nihilistic bullshit hop hop that horribly and tragically disfigures their priorities before they turn 6. LESS degrading dependence on excuses and external rescues.

Guess what? There is a sizable demographic of black people who feel EXACTLY the same way. Don't depend on my opinion. Talk to some of your Flatbush neighbors and see what they say. Seriously. Do it. Bring up the sensitive shit. They want to talk about it. Don't depend on NY Times writers who live in Carroll Gardens and Park Slope to dictate how you think.

I was at a light the other day and had to turn my head at the brain jiggling bass emanating from the car next to me. There was a man in his thirties driving along with a woman of roughly the same age in the seat next to him. There were two toddlers in the back, one young enough to still use a car seat.

The lyrics - which were audible up and down Flatbush - were grisly. The usual subjects. Bitches, fornicating with and degrading bitches, niggas, shooting and stabbing and otherwise destroying other niggas, reveling in drug use, reveling in the sale of drug use, blowing that ill-earned cash on depreciating assets, on and on and on. The same shit we've been hearing for years. And mom and dad were happily bobbing their heads and singing right along.

Tell me. Do the kids in that car have any chance at leading a productive existence when they're marinating in that sort of self-destructive broth during their formative years? The answer is obvious, but you won't hear anything about it at the next community crime meeting. Is it too much to ask parents not to shower their kids with this filth? Or is that William Bratton's responsibility? Or de Blasio's? Or Charlene McCray's? I respect people in these communities enough to assume that they are capable of forming basic moral constructs on their own. The problem is no one is demanding that they do so. IN fact it's just the opposite. We fall over ourselves to absolve them and explain away otherwise patently fucked up behavior.

As far as I know, it costs nothing to refrain from exposing your kids to this shit. It's free.

Nothing will change unless this racist, paternalistic approach that has been exposed as an abject failure is scrapped completely and some of the faded Nation of Islam/ Malcolm Shabazz self-sufficiency notions are reintroduced into these communities. A little rectitude. Some pride.

The rest is lunacy.

Have a good Sunday everybody.

Anonymous said...

Hey Q. I left a comment earlier this morning that you've chosen not to post. Your blog, your rules, I understand and respect that. Just curious as to your rationale. If you disagree, you're clearly equipped to make effective refutations. And other posters can do the same. But it seems counter to the point of a comment board to censor outlier positions as long as they're respectfully presented. Don't boil everything down to right vs. left and so on. That's the type of facile MSNBC/Fox News thinking that blots out legitimate debate and eventual progress. Like I said in the post, I'm making the same points that Malcolm and others made way back when. I would hardly consider them right wingers. Anyway, I'll leave it there. Thanks!

Ctrldwn said...

Anon 10:37AM - You've hit the nail on the head but don't expect anything to change it unfortunately. Something has to give and that is going to require a large portion of black America to do some soul searching inside. I think a lot of black Americans are seeing what you are seeing and are voicing their concerns about it, which is good. It doesn't take away our daily struggles that we face from the larger society. Our president spoke on this subject before and he was meet with fierce criticism from some in the black community. That tells you all you need to know. We as black Americans have enough enemies as it is. On one side, you have white racists and their allies in the Gop, on the other side, you have nilhistic black youth with their incompetent parents terrorizing our communities, dealing with their petty disputes by opening fire indiscriminately, up ahead, you have some members of law enforcement who want to do us harm. it's depressing to even talk about it.

Anonymous said...

Shootings in Brownsville and even more troubled areas where residents actually wanted more help with crime are down, though. Make note the 70th precinct is Jumaane Williams' district and he is somebody who tells the police to stay out of his neighborhood, just as a certain somebody who doesn't live in PLG but who meddles in our affairs did recently. Thanks a bunch.