#12. How far can/should we go?
Another report from the 'hood:
Date: Wed, 05 Aug 2009 11:22:05 -0400
Subject: Crime has definitely gotten too personal
I am sure you remember me. I wrote you last week regarding (the Wisconsin State Journal) article that crime has "gotten too personal." I commented on the Hammersley road area where bass is blasted constantly, and how 20 some black men yell sexually inappropriate slurs at me when I run in my neighborhood. I told you of the countless drug deals I have witnessed at the British Petroleum on Schroeder Road, and criticized the Madison Police for seemingly purposely avoiding the area at the time of the deals ... made glaringly obvious by the late model Cadillacs with "SPINNAS."
Last night I was robbed.
Last night my house was broken into.
Last night I walked in on people in my house. Stealing my things.
Last night my family came home from a 6:55 movie to people scurrying around my house to get as much as they could as we walked in the front door.
Last night I shoved my 13 year old daughter in her room, told her to lock herself in while I ran around, ready to turn the corner and see a man's face, securing the house, and calling 911.
Last night I closed the propped open door, in which my HDTV exited, and disappeared into the otherwise perfect summer night.
Last night I got scared...
Today I got pissed.
Crime Has Gotten Too Personal.
XXXX Hammersley Rd
Madison, (my Madison of all of my 42 years) WI
Self-protection begins at home
Police Chief Noble Wray lists citizen involvement as one of the "Values of Trust-based Policing." Yes, keeping property neat and in good repair is important. Yes, cooperating with police is important. But too many neighbors on the Southwest side complain that the ordinance violations go unpunished.
The chief himself acknowledges that the zero tolerance announced by Captain Jay Lengfeld of the West Precinct last September was then and this is now. Zero tolerance is a short-term tactic designed to let transgressor and solid citizen alike know that the police are there. The finite resources of the department and of the courts does not permit perpetual zero tolerance, Chief Wray told me.
In any event, how does one keep up community standards without wearing out the keypad on your cell phone with calls to the police? Even Mayor Cieslewicz says:
Public safety is not the business of police or government alone. The city, county and schools must do their part but they will not be successful without the grassroots efforts of strong community and neighborhood leaders.
As a conservative, I'm good with that. Policing is, for certain, one of the prime duties of government if government has any duties at all. (Not assuring the affordability of housing!) But government cannot guarantee our safety, the mayor acknowledges. Do you hear that, liberals? We have one of the most liberal mayors in the nation - so liberal he had to form his own national mayor's association - and he acknowledges that government has its limitations.
Fair enough. At no time, did the squire of Stately Blaska Manor sign over his right of self-protection to Dave Cieslewicz, The Kathleen, Jim E. Doyle, or Barack Obama.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is no less important than the First.
We own our own safety.
In my sit-down with Chief Wray, I wanted to know: how far can we go?
Blaska in action
I regaled the chief with these true-life examples of Blaska in action:
Case #1: Four teenagers, two boys and two girls, were hitting golf balls from Orchard Ridge Park behind my house into our back yards. I stormed out into the park and confronted them. Someone could get hurt, I explained. I demonstrated a righteous anger and waved a $5 bill in their faces. Go a couple blocks to Vitense and hit a bucket there. The teenagers apologized and declined the $5. Never happened again.
Case #2: In the old drug store at Meadowood shopping center (not the current Walgreens) I encountered a young man with his patterned boxer shorts at full mast. In a loud accusatory voice I declaimed, "Young man, your pants are falling down. You look like an ID-I-OT! Hike 'em up, son." He complied.
Case #3: Same drug store. Entering customer says "It's a zoo out there." I leave and discover what she meant. Three teens were throwing a football in front of the entrance. I helpfully pointed out that a playing field lay but a block away at Toki Middle School. One teen thought it pertinent to know if I was the owner of the store. "No," I responded. "I'm just one very pissed-off old man."
The lads then resumed throwing the football. I lunged for the ball and missed but the boys saw my determination and left.
Chief Wray responded, "We don't advocate that. I'd hate to see a citizen get harmed."
I said I understood how he could not recommend, given his position, such direct interaction. But I countered that I refused to live in terror of 12-year-old boys. If they stick me, they stick me. Maybe I stick back.
The chief thought my reaction with the park golfers was appropriate but wondered where the parents were. I answered that they obviously were not in the park at the time but that I was. While I suspected that their parents were responsible people, I could not be certain of that. But I know that I am responsible and was not going to shirk that responsibility.
The chief's response to the Jockey shorts kid was puzzling. He allowed that he did not like it but indicated it was a personal preference and seemed to excuse it as "generational."
"You're seeing people in places where we have not seen that before." Well, yeah, like outside of the locker room.
The statement was reminiscent of his plea for more tolerance "young blacks and Hispanics who are not breaking the law" made to the State Journal, the one that provoked a certain amount of ire, hereabouts. [See Chief Wray, you have mail.]
But he did allow that the underwear fashion was the product of the gang/prison culture.
Next: Be Not Afraid!