#13. Be not afraid
Previously in this series:
Part 1: 'He could go either way'
Part 2: 'Lord of the Flies'
Part 3: 'And I am keeping him hungry'
Part 4: A chat with Madison Police Chief Noble Wray
Part 5: Not lowering our standards
Part 6: Saying 'We love you'
Part 7: Treating yourself poorly
Part 8: Generous to a fault
Part 9: Come and get it: Section 8
Part 10: One landlord at a time
Part 11: What would our fathers have done?
Part 12: How far can/should we go?
I talked about my example of the football-tossing kids in front of the drug store to Diane Harrington, a member of the Orchard Ridge neighborhood board. She asked what could she do, as a woman.
My theory is that a single woman can actually get more accomplished than a man. Even punks have some honor. But I said I hoped that the next time she confronts bad behavior, I'm nearby with a half-dozen other neighbors, all of whom come over to back her up. Some of them can be black, Vietnamese - or not. Makes no difference to me.
Meadowood neighborhood association board member Dave Glomp has planted the rhetorical flag: "We have to be not afraid. If other neighbors are willing to stand with us it becomes a little less intimidating. We have to be able to stand up for ourselves. We need to enforce behavior and the police have to know we are going to do this. It's our quality of life."
There's a basketball hoop at Orchard Ridge Park off Flad Avenue that is right under some neighbors' noses. Some boys are mouthing the M-F word and now the neighborhood association is petitioning the city to move that hoop. Cost to the city: $12,000. Fat chance of that happening. Neighborhood association board member Brent Midelfort has talked to the kids and that seems to have helped.
But here's what to do if it keeps up:
Scenario #1: Talk to the kids, like Brent did. Say you're on their side, swish a couple 3-pointers, tell them they got to start thinking of other people.
Scenario #2: Call the gendarmes. Depends on what they've got on their agendas that day. Drug houses, brawl, shootings, they might be pre-occupied. Diane Harrington of Orchard Ridge tells this story:
Recently, some residents in our neighborhood tried to confront a bunch of boys who were littering their yards and using lots of loud profanity regularly, right in the park just behind their homes. They didn't want the kids to go away. They just asked them, several times and nicely and firmly, if they'd please stop littering (there are trash cans available), and if they'd please stop using the language - partially because several of the residents have young kids. (Although people of ANY age shouldn't have to listen to the stuff that comes out of people's mouths these days!) How did these kids respond to the adults who tried to just "talk" to them? They cursed at them and threw litter on their property right in front of them.
When after several fruitless go-rounds like this with the boys, the residents asked the cops to help. Their reply was: "We can't do anything about it; cursing is free speech. We didn't see them litter. Our hands are tied."
At this point, it's time to step it up.
Scenario #3: Organize a telephone call tree. Each person calls three others. Factor in some overlap so that each person could get two calls (in case one of the callers cannot be reached). Within seconds of getting the call you're out on the park confronting the troublemakers. Maybe there's only three of you. Hey, that's pretty impressive. Announce that park privileges are suspended for two days, confiscate the basketball. Declare that the ball can be retrieved under that bush yonder at a certain time and date. If the problem continues ...
Scenario #4: Get a guy with a truck and an acetylene torch. Pay him $100 in cash. He rolls in on a weekday morning like he's on official city business and 15 minutes later the truck is 10 miles away and the sumbitch hoop is on the ground. Sorry, officer. I didn't see anything. The no-snitch culture, reversed.
But, of course, that would be illegal.
Nice shootin' Tex
A day after shooting four men who tried to rob his restaurant supply store, killing two of them, Charles Augusto Jr., 72, was back at work in Harlem on Friday morning. His feelings the day after he pulled the trigger? "I wish I didn't need to," he said. [N.Y. Times: Back at work, Harlem store owner recounts shooting.]
This guy has more beers coming to him than a golfer making a hole-in-one at a City of Madison muni!
Put on your calendars:
- Tonight, Hammersley road neighborhood police officer Mike Hanson introduces his replacement, Officer Justine Harris. Mike is being promoted to sergeant. 7 p.m., West District police station, 1710 McKenna Blvd. Sign up for the West District blog.
- Friday, August 21, 8 to 9 a.m. WHA radio 970 AM, your Blaska Blogger shares his wit and wisdom with a statewide audience. You can listen on-line, too!
- Saturday, August 22, The 100 Black Men of Madison have 1,600 backpacks to distribute to needy elementary and middle school students on Saturday August 22nd at Demetral Park located at the corner of Commercial and Packers Avenue from 11 am to 1 pm. Students must be in attendance to receive a free backpack. Free hamburgers, hot dogs, beverages.Also music, UW-Madison athletes, MMSD Play and Learn program, health care information, diabetic screenings, fire engines, police K9 and more.
For more information contact, Johnny Winston, Jr. at 347-9715 johnnywinstonjr@ hotmail.com or Chris Canty at 469-5213 cwcanty@gmail. com.For more information on the 100 Black Men of Madison organization: www.100blackmenmadison.org.
- Wednesday, August 26, 7-8:30 p.m. Neighborhoods Restoring Safety, sponsored by the Southwest Alliance of Neighborhoods. Falk elementary school, 6323 Woodington Way. See release here.
- Saturday, August 29, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., "United We Stand, Family & Community Unite" neighborhood picnic, Elver Park.