Friday, July 14, 2006

Crime Central

A recent post from EJ Takes Life (as highlighted on DC Blogs) resurrected, for part of me, a post I wrote back in February.

The part that hit me was what DC Blogs highlighted:

One thing I'm particularly losing patience with is the gentrification blame game. People like me are damned if we do, damned if we don't. Yuppies who live in Northwest and the suburbs get all kinds of crap for fleeing and taking their resources and influence with them, yet are told that because they don't live in the rougher parts of town they don't get to comment on what goes on there. If they, as I do, live in "transitioning" neighborhoods and something bad happens, they get a reaction of "what did you expect? This is a city. If you can't deal, get out." It's a vicious cycle that doesn't go anywhere or help anyone, and I'm sick of it.


The levels of two-faced crap we speak in this country is staggering and astonishing. EJ is spot on in her analysis. On Logan Circle News, for instance, I'm constantly seeing the same old back-and-forth regarding gentification and life in the city (I'm paraphrasing and extrapolating):

Commenter A: Something should be done about the crime in this neighborhood! ["Crime" usually refers to any of the following, among others: muggings, shootings, vagrancy, gang-like activity, vandalism, litter, solicitation of prostitution, overt public sex acts....]
Commenter B: This is an urban area! You can't move here and then whine about the crime. Get over it!
Commenter A: Just because I moved here doesn't mean I should have to put up with clearly illegal activities!
Commenter B: It was here when you got here! It's like moving near the airport then complaining about noise!
Commenter A: So you're saying no one should make any effort to make this place better?
Commenter B: Just quit your yappin'.
Commenter A: Fuck you!
Commenter B: Fuck you!

Most comments anonymous, of course.

Then there's that Annoying Commenter from my previous post, who called me "racist," "privileged," "self-important," and "irresponsible" (among other things) for the sin of going out to eat and not guarding my belongings carefully enough. The implication of his comment, of course, was that I should have expected to be the victim of crime. Strange: I seemingly walk through life oblivious to the potential for crime, but I'm the racist for not expecting my stuff to get stolen when I enter an urban enclave.

I'm only guessing here, but this A.C. would probably also criticize the woman who hugs her purse or child a little more closely and tightly when a black man comes too close to her on the sidewalk. Or what if she crosses the street to avoid him? Is she racist for presuming that the black guy is going to accost her? Or am I racist for failing to acknowledge the potential for crime? You can't have it both ways.

To me, it smacks more of racism to say "(Mostly-minority) inner city = CRIME BY DEFINITION" than to be surprised when it happens. I dunno, maybe that's just me. Like Annoying Commenter, I would like for "mutual respect" to "permeate" all our "interactions," but to me, mutual respect includes not stealing other peoples' stuff.

***

The rash of crimes in the District of Columbia has spurred the declaration of a "crime emergency" status (whatever that means) here.

Then the City Paper ran this story about some poor guy who (1) gets mugged; (2) is mistaken for the mugger and gets arrested after he calls 911; (3) gets mugged AGAIN when the cops wise up and let him go. Day-um. [Aside: I am still in shock over the name of the first officer to arrive on the scene.]

Fun times in the District of Columbia.

4 comments:

MoDigli said...

Jay-sus! What a story! I just read the article about Fontenelle - crazy!

And Dennis - AC is dillusional!

Steve said...

Excellent post, Dennis! And, when I read of the 'crime emergency' in DC, you are the first person I thought of. Don't know if I could do it... be careful out there.

ejtakeslife said...

Hey Dennis! Good Lord, that story is unbelievable... just when I didn't think my opinion of DCPD could sink lower. Jeez.

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

Upon hearing about the Georgetown incident, I remarked that this city is crazy. It was just an expression because I honestly had no clue what else to say. I was then pulled into an argument where I was referred to as "middle class white boy from the suburbs" who moves to DC expecting it to be like his hometown. And how DC isn't any worse than Baltimore or Richmond. Okay, well those aren't two cities I'd frankly want to be in the running with to be honest. And I'm not middle class and I didn't grow up in the suburbs, I grew up in the sticks. I don't expect the city to be free of crime. Muggings happen everyday. But two people being attacked, one of which has his throat slit and dies, is not something par for the course of living in an urban area. I'm with you on this, just because it is a city does not mean I should expect to be a victim of a crime.