By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – Louisiana’s Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) are in a political tug-of-war centering on the rising crime rate in Louisiana’s most popular tourist destination.  In 2016, shootings in New Orleans increased by almost 25%, and homicides rose by 7%.  AG Landry blames Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s poor leadership for the uptick in crime while Landrieu contends Landry has no authority over him or law enforcement in New Orleans.

AG Landry has taken to Twitter in recent days with the hashtag #MakeNewOrleansSafeAgain in an effort to draw attention to his efforts to reduce crime in the city and his own violent crimes task force which operates outside of the NOLA police department. Landry points out that “Chicago has about 20 murders per 100,000 people. New Orleans is experiencing twice that many at 40 murders per 100,000 people.”

Landry insists that Landrieu is in part to blame in the increase in crime due to his agreement to enter into a five-year consent decree with Eric Holder’s Justice Department in 2012. This agreement is projected to cost NOLA over $55 million over the course of its duration.  The consent decree came about on the heels of violence in Ferguson and other cities after federal investigation of police departments reportedly engaging in civil rights violations; cities across the nation such as Albuquerque, Cleveland, and Seattle have all entered into consent decrees with varying degrees of success.

Generally, the police departments often feel hindered by the decree:

The head of the Police Association of New Orleans agrees that the consent decree is at least partly to blame for a rise in crime in a department that remains roughly 350 officers short of the state goal of 1,600.

“Because of the oversight, officers are reluctant to initiate contact,” said PANO President Michael Glasser. “…The consent decree requires a lot of oversight and redundancy, and while that probably creates a better work product, it’s labor intensive and time consuming, and we lack labor. What used to take an hour or two now takes two or three or four.”

AG Landry refers to the consent decree as the “Hug a Thug Program” and believes that officers need more help, thus his task force, and he’s probably going to push for more money from the state legislature to expand the program:

To do so he’s going to need funding, obviously, so it’s a good bet where this is going is a push at the legislature this spring to get more money for the Violent Crime Task Force to increase its presence in New Orleans and push past NOPD to make a difference.

If the legislature goes along with Landry, then John #Fail Edwards will have to sign off on it which will be particularly interesting as he is often at political odds with both Landry and Landrieu.

Some see Landry’s intervention as a power grab:

But there’s some question – at least by NOPD Chief Harrison – as to whether Landry’s office should be investigating crimes in New Orleans. Harrison sent a letter to Landry Wednesday asserting that “we are aware of no authority that permits you, your employees, or law enforcement agents under your direction to engage in active law enforcement within New Orleans or in general.”

Under the city’s Home Rule Charter, the mayor of New Orleans is the chief law enforcement authority for Orleans Parish, according to Harrison. Landry is the chief law enforcement officer for the state.

Landry insists he has no political agenda here, saying that public safety and tourism dollars are at stake:

This is not about politics; my effort is about protecting Louisiana lives and our economy tied to tourism in New Orleans. While my office works to stop crime all over Louisiana, the spike in crime within our state’s largest city is alarming. That is why I announced this initiative and why we are taking action.”

The numbers don’t lie. Crime has indeed spiked in New Orleans and the city ended 2016 with 176 murders. As 2017 opens and the Crescent City anxiously awaits the decision from the Fifth Circuit on the Confederate monuments issue, due any day now, tensions in the city are certain to rise and it’s not difficult to see why Landry’s task force might be a potential benefit to a city that clearly needs a little backup.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

Chicago’s Grant Park, where Obama gave his victory speech

By John Ruberry

On the Sunday after the 9/11 attacks, Jeremiah Wright, then Obama’s pastor, bellowed, “God d–n America” and “America’s chickens are coming home to roost” from the pulpit of his Chicago church.

Two nights from now President Barack Obama will give his farewell address in Chicago, his adopted hometown. The Hawaii-born 44th president moved to Chicago a year after graduating from college where he worked, with at best mixed success, as a community organizer on the Far South Side. It’s an area still beset by violence and poverty with no hope of a turnaround thirty years after Obama left that post so he could attend Harvard law school.

Ayers and Dohrn Chicago home

It was in 1996 Chicago where Obama launched his political career. One of his first campaign stops–perhaps his first–was at the home of his friends, unrepentant Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. Eight years later another Chicagoan, state Senate President Emil Jones Jr, put Obama’s name on some key bills that bolstered his liberal credentials. Obama scored a surprise win in the Democratic US Senate primary, and after the Republican nominee imploded, he easily won in the general election.

You know the rest of the story.

However, Obama was not a slam-dunk in the 2008 presidential election against John McCain–what we now call the Great Recession sealed the deal–and America elected its first black president.

Chicago is still recovering from the ’08 economic collapse. Of the nation’s 35-largest cities, Chicago has the largest percentage of underwater home mortgages.Two years ago Chicago enacted its largest property tax hike in history, the impetus for it was to pay for underfunded municipal pension funds. What does this have to do with Obama? Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931, Obama is the most hyper-partisan president in memory. Along the White House ride for Obama was Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisor and “Berlin Wall,” the former slumlord was a deputy chief of staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. It’s Daley, not his successor, former Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who bears the responsibility for the Chicago pension debacle. But Chicago’s generous municipal pensions are political payback for public-sector unions, who’ve been an arm of the Democratic Party in all but name for decades.

Obama has always been very cozy government labor unions. 

Two years ago–under Emanuel’s watch–Moody’s downgraded Chicago’s bonds, and those of Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District to junk. Other rating services haven’t followed suit yet, but they absolutely don’t view Chicago favorably.

Chicago’s population is at it lowest level in 100 years.

Chicagoans pay the nation’s highest sales tax rate.

Chickens.

Last year at least 762 people were murdered in Chicago–an appalling 57 percent increase over the year before. Chicago suffered more killings than New York City and Los Angeles–combined. One of the reasons cited for the soaring murder rate was Rahm Emanuel’s inept handling of the shooting of unarmed black teen Laquan McDonald–with sixteen bullets–by a white cop, all of which has compelled Chicago Police officers to use less aggressive law enforcement tactics. Chicago is a hotbed for Black Lives Matter activists. The outgoing president has been supportive of this radical group, which deems racist the statement All Lives Matter.

Near where the Facebook attack occurred

That leads to last week’s racist atrocity in Chicago, the torturing of a white special needs man–thirty minutes of which was streamed live on Facebook–by four blacks in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on the West Side. The victim was bound, gagged, beaten, slashed, forced to drink toilet water, and coerced to say “F–k Donald Trump” and “F–k white people.”

Two months earlier in another West Side neighborhood a white man was pulled from his car and brutally beaten by four blacks. That attack was captured on video, the assailants screamed, “You voted Trump” and “Beat his a–.” While the victim was indeed a Trump voter–yes, there are a few in Illinois besides me–he told authorities that there was no way the thugs could have known that. There was no Trump bumper sticker on his car–he was white and that was enough provocation for these creeps.

Obama’s chickens–and those of Chicago Democrats–have come home to roost.

Our collectivist president has practiced identity politics for his entire adult life. which for the most part means race politics. Us versus them. And as a collectivist Obama has appointed himself as the savior to put the pieces back together.

Chicago’s Northwest Side

But breaking things is much easier than putting them back together.

Some final thoughts.

As a public service I am recommending that if you are planning to attend Chicago’s McCormick Place address, please use public transportation. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit 45 of our 50 states. With the exception of Detroit, the worst-maintained streets and roads I’ve encountered are in Chicago. And while you’re driving around potholes and crevices, please beware of Chicago’s ubiquitous red light and speeding cameras. An astounding 1.9 million traffic camera tickets were issued between 2010 and 2015. Chicago has 2.7 million or so residents. Most of those tickets were written while Emanuel was mayor.

The former administrator of Chicago’s traffic camera program is serving a ten-year prison sentence for accepting bribes.

Someone needs to come up with a misery index for big cities like Chicago, which should include such items as corruption, low high school graduation rates, unfunded pension obligations, red light cameras, crumbling infrastructure, population loss, taxes, and yes of course, crime.

John “Lee” Ruberry

Perhaps Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s amiable pal who is an economics professor at the University of Chicago, can absolve himself of leftism and get to work on this much-needed project.

Thank God I left Chicago for the suburbs nearly two decades ago.

And Obama, at least for now, won’t live in Chicago after he moves out of White House next week. He’ll probably only return to visit his presidential library.

John Ruberry is a fifth-generation Chicago area resident who writes the Marathon Pundit blog. The Chicago Convention and Tourism Board had no input in composing this blog entry.

Street gang temple, Chicago's South Side
Street gang temple,
Chicago’s South Side

By John Ruberry

This morning on Fox News Donald Trump spokesman Ben Carson said, “If we are going to make America great we cannot have large pockets of dysfunction.”

Carson was responding to questions about the latest mainstream media tantrum about the Republican nominee Tweeting about Friday the murder of Nykea Aldridge in a violent Chicago neighborhood, the cousin of Chicago Bulls player and longtime all-star Dwayne Wade, where he indelicately predicted a groundswell of support for his campaign.

But as I remarked in this space a month ago, Trump is the first Republican presidential nominee in memory to make a concerted effort to appeal to black voters and he correctly points out that the Democratic Party, whom African Americans have reflexively voted for en masse since the 1930s, is failing inner city blacks. A few days before Aldridge murder Trump was offered this statement by Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, “Did you know that murders in Chicago are up 50 percent this year from last year? And they can’t solve it.”CoJCZVfUMAAMJlm

The political newcomer replied, likely correctly, that the wrong people are in charge in Chicago and based on a conservation that the political newcomer had with an unnamed senior Chicago police officer, that violence in America’s third largest city could end in a week. Okay, that’s a major piece of hyperbole, there will always be some violence everywhere. What police department is able to prevent an angry person who hits a spouse over the head with a frying pan during an argument in their kitchen? On the other hand, a noticeable drop in Chicago violence of course is a possible, and of course, a desirable goal.

Detroit hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1963. Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1933. Both are dominated by “large pockets of dysfunction.” Some Chicago politicians have a cozy relationship with street gang leaders.

It took a Republican, Rudy Giuliani, to turn around New York City, which was believed to be ungovernable prior to his two terms as mayor.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Black Lives MatterBy John Ruberry

Even though the protest took place just three days ago, the blocking of the Dan Ryan Expressway near Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood by Black Lives Matter radicals is already largely forgotten. The rally was organized after the deaths of two black men last week by two police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana. The Chicago protest was of course overshadowed by the shooting deaths of five Dallas cops during a Black Lives Matter protest in the Texas city that night–seven other police officers were wounded. The assassin, Micah Xavier Johnson, sympathized with black nationalist groups and can fairly be called a racist.

The Chicago expressway blocking occurred three days after another bloody holiday weekend in America’s third-largest city. Four people were murdered in Chicago and an astounding 62 others were wounded during the 4th of July weekend. The thugs didn’t lock up their guns on July 5. In fact, on the day before the expressway protest a four-year-old Englewood boy was shot several times a mile away from that rally.

I wasn’t there but I will wager a sizable sum of cash that none of the leftists decried the shooting of that boy.  The people who live in the home where the 4-year-old lives believe their home is being targeted–they claim they don’t know by whom. In May a 53-year-old woman who lives in that house was wounded in a shooting there.

pierre-loury
Pierre Loury

One house–two shootings–three months. Does anyone seriously believe that the Chicago Police is targeting this home?

Since New Year’s Day there have been 2,054 shootings in Chicago–312 of those shootings were fatal. The great majority of the victims were African-American as were likely the perpetrators, although no one can say for sure because most “Chiraq” murders are street-gang related and go unsolved.

This year there has been just one shooting death by Chicago Police of a criminal suspect, 16-year-old Pierre Loury, a known gang member. Cops say Loury, who posted a picture of himself holding a gun on his Facebook page, pointed a weapon at them.

Madison and Pulaski in Chicago
Madison and Pulaski in Chicago

Loury was a West Sider, and as bad as Englewood is, most of Chicago’s West Side is worse. The West Side, unless you are Mayor Rahm Emanuel or part of the CPD brass, is well known among Chicagoans for its open-air drug markets. The corner of Madison and Pulaski is a popular spot to purchase narcotics. Yes, Black Lives Matter leftists protested the Loury death–and they briefly blocked the Eisenhower expressway on the West Side, but they didn’t march on Madison and Pulaski. Turf wars over drugs often turn fatal, there is nothing new about that.

Only some black lives matter to Black Lives Matter. Crime doesn’t seem to matter at all to them.

But as with all leftist causes, protesting police shootings is only a means to their end. “The issue is never the issue,” they say, “the issue is always the revolution.”

Meanwhile black people keep shooting each other in Chicago and other big cities in America. Only the police are there to provide protection.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John RuberryChiraq

Chicago is five days removed from its bloodiest May in twenty-one years. Two decades Chicago had more residents, so on a per capita basis May 2016 is even worse than it seems. The Tuesday tally for Memorial Day weekend carnage was six dead and 69 wounded. You might as well add a seventh death to the the total; yesterday a man who chased a woman onto a busy street last Sunday where she was killed by car as she escaped his alleged robbery attempt was charged with murder.

What is Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, doing about the mayhem?

Not a whole lot.

Which is surprising because this is the man who shortly before he became Barack Obama’s first White House chief-of-staff said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Sabina guns
Pfleger’s church

Rahm–you have your crisis. Even though it has a much smaller population, Chicago, which a rapper, since shot, coined the “Chiraq” nickname for, suffers from more murders year after year than New York and Los Angeles.

Why is that? Well, Emanuel and loudmouths such as onetime Obama faith advisor Father Michael Pfleger blame guns. But Chicago isn’t a setting for a Stephen King novel, the firearms don’t fire themselves.

The real problem is street gangs. With the possible exception of Los Angeles, Chiraq has more gang members than any city in the country, 68,000 of them in 2012. That’s more than the population of a Chicago ward.

If Rahm really believes that a crisis shouldn’t go to waste, he can declare war on gangs. Sure, the arrest of 100 gangbangers last month was a good start, but that turned out to be a very bittersweet minor victory because one hour after the press conference at Chicago Police headquarters announcing the busts, a city of Chicago employee was shot to death one block away, the intended target was a gang member who obviously wasn’t one of the 100.

As with most Chicago murders–this killing remains unsolved.

A war on gangs will be a tough one, Rahm will learn if he takes my advice and wages one. Gang members have their wiggled their tentacles throughout Chicago society and government, even within the City Council.

And I have to suspect that there are some John Connolly types, not the onetime Texas governor, but gangster Whitey Bulger’s mole in the FBI, within the Chicago Police Department.

Last month an alleged hitman for the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples gang, who was also a suburban Atlanta cop, was one of 48 gangbangers charged in a sweeping federal indictment.

Rahm, you now have the “opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

Yet my guess is that Emanuel will make only half-hearted attempts to fight Chicago violence. Because he’s a liberal he fears being attacked from the left–from groups as Black Lives Matters, for instance. And progressives, because they are obsessed with the rights of thugs, aren’t predispositioned to be effective crime fighters.

Meanwhile Chicagoans are slaughtering each other while Rahm is checking his latest poll numbers.

Special thanks go out to the Facebook commentor who reminded me of Emanuel’s famous quote.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

It’s been a rough May for hate crime hoaxsters. Liars have been caught peddling racist incidents that never happened, two of these, not surprisingly, were spread by college students and the third, was fabricated by a man living in a big college town.

America’s grievance industry preferred habit is the college campus.

All of the exposed accusers are black.

University of Iowa student Marcus Owens  said he was brutally beaten outside an off-campus bar and called the “N” word by three white attackers on the evening of April 30. Iowa City police officers investigated Owens’ story and discovered that there were in fact three fights that took place that night–and Owens started all of them.

Sherry Watt, the university’s diversity officer, says Watt deserves “empathy.” If my father was still alive he’d say that Owens deserves a kick in the head, although he clearly got his already.

State University of New York at Albany students Alexis Briggs, Ariel Agudio, and Asha Burwell said they were assaulted by a white mob who screamed racial slurs at them on a public bus in January. But as with the Owens case, it appears that “the attacked” were in fact the the attackers. Earlier this month the trio was hit with a variety of assault charges, two of them, Agudio and Burwell, were expelled from SUNY Albany while Briggs has been suspended for two years.

Security cameras, which helped catch Owens’ lies, were essential in exposing the correct narrative in the Albany case. This story attracted national coverage–even Hillary Clinton weighed in by Tweeting an early version of the violent assault.

While the national media, except for conservative outlets, have paid scant attention to the first two hoaxes, best-selling author and Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom’s Sunday piece offers the story of Jordan Brown, an openly-gay minister of a tiny church in Austin, Texas, who told the media and anyone who would listen that a cake he ordered from a local Whole Foods Market outlet with “Love Wins” written on the frosting had another word added, becoming “Love Wins Fag.”

Ten Commandments
Ten Commandments marker, Colorado state capitol grounds

Brown picked the wrong town, the wrong store, and the wrong pastry chef. Austin is the most liberal city in Texas and Austin-based Whole Foods, which prides itself on championing diversity, instantly stood by the baker, an LGBT community member. Brown sued Whole Foods and he referenced his faith repeatedly in his lawsuit, Albom notes. My guess is that “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” one of the Ten Commandments, was not mentioned in that suit.

Last week Brown admitted that this hate crime was fabricated.

He lied.

Another May millstone: Earlier this month Milo Yiannopoulos, an openly gay writer for Breitbart, presented a list of over 100 phony hate crimes over the last decade.

Which makes me wonder: While racism and bigotry is still a problem in our society perhaps it’s not a widespread as we are led to believe. But many people, liberal politicians among them, feel compelled to keep picking at this tragic national wound so then can advance the rest of their agenda.

Lying offers rewards. Race-hustler Al Sharpton road the 1980s Tawana Brawley race-based attack hoax into a very successful, albeit shameful, career for himself.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Come to Draft Town
Draft Town billbard, Chicago

By John Ruberry

Deadly shootings in Chicago are up 20 percent this year over 2015. Last year Rahm Emanuel and the exclusively-Democratic City Council stuck it to Chicagoans by enacting the city’s biggest property tax in history to pay for municipal worker pensions–with probably more hikes to come. Chicago’s population decline continues, the onetime Second City is now third, with Houston within reach to pass it.

How does Rahm Emanuel respond?

With Roman style bread and circuses.

Two weeks ago the NFL draft was held in downtown Chicago for the second straight year–accompanied by an elaborate Draft Town festival.

And like the bounty hunters who doggedly pursued Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, Rahm desperately wants to plop the proposed George Lucas museum on Chicago’s Lakefront despite opposition from preservation groups and a federal judge. Chicago was Lucas’ second choice for his temple, plans for a San Francisco museum fell through two years ago. The filmmaker’s ties to Chicago are at best tenuous. He married his second wife, a Chicago native, on the lakefront a few miles south of the proposed museum site. Oh, Harrison Ford, who played Solo, was born in Chicago and he grew up in suburban Morton Grove, where your humble blogger lives.

Lake Michigan in Chicago
Lake Michigan in Chicago

Meanwhile the carnage in Chicago continues. Last night a man eating dinner was shot to death while eating dinner when someone fired into his Southwest Side home. Early this morning a passenger in a car was murdered when he was shot on Lake Shore Drive. Another man was shot on the same road, albeit not fatally, two days earlier.

Oh, I almost forgot. Chicago anemic school system, which kind-of-sort-of educates children, is essentially insolvent.

Meanwhile Mayor Emanuel cries out with a Hail Mary pass, “Help us Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re our only hope.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit

Black Lives MatterBy John Ruberry

You very likely have heard about the Black Lives Matter movement, the hard-left screamers who regularly disrupt political gatherings and even attack people who proclaim “All Lives Matter.” One BLM leader called All Lives Matter a “new racial slur.”

A wrong turn into a dead end has been made from the sentiment of Martin Luther King, who proclaimed in 1963, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

But Black Lives Matter is a political movement.

Last Monday a black Chicago teen, Pierre Loury, who was carrying a gun, was shot to death by police on the West Side as he climbed a fence during a foot chase. BLM quickly mobilized a rally attended by 200 or 300 so protesters the following night

On Friday afternoon a few miles from the site of the Loury shooting, a one-year-old named Khloe was shot in the neck while she was sitting the back seat of the car by assailants in a moving vehicle. There was a small peace rally at the site of the shooting yesterday–but no Black Lives Matters activists were visible.

Four years ago Khloe’s sister was wounded by gunfire three blocks from Friday’s shooting at a lemonade stand she set up.

Also on Saturday a six-month old girl was fatally wounded in a drive-by shooting in Detroit, which may have ties to an Easter Sunday deadly shooting of a 3-year-old girl.

Pastor Ray Anderson, an African-American, was one of the organizers of a Detroit anti-violence rally held shortly after that murder. He said there, “I think that right now it’s a clear call for our community to really be outraged at the violence and the murder,” adding, “We talk about ‘black lives matter’ — and we get in an uproar when it’s white on black or law enforcement…but this is something: Probably 95 percent of the violence is black on black.”

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

True, very true.

Of course BLM activists care about the murders of babies, but because there is no political angle to these heartless crimes, they ignore them.

Perhaps they should rename their group Only Certain Black Lives Matter.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – New Orleans residents are grieving the loss of former Saints defensive end Will Smith who was shot and killed following what is being described as a road rage incident in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans Saturday night.  Smith was shot in his back and right torso after being rear-ended by an orange Hummer; witnesses describe a verbal altercation before hearing shots fired. Smith died in his SUV while his wife sustained a shot to the leg and was found on the ground when emergency vehicles arrived. The suspect is in custody and has been charged with second degree murder.  Smith’s wife is expected to recover from her injuries.

What really happened will unfold in the coming days. Smith and his wife had been at Sake Café where they were joined by a retired NOLA police officer who had been involved in a wrongful death lawsuit with 28-year old Cardell Hayes, Smith’s shooter.  Parties involved say there is no connection but it sounds like an odd coincidence.

It’s a horrible tragedy – Smith and his wife have three children who will now have to grow up without his love and guidance. Smith was popular among his coaches and teammates who are now grieving also.  New Orleans is known to be a unique city with its culture, food, festivals, and historic import, but like many other large American cities, NOLA deals with senseless violence and crime. When one of the very important sources of revenue for your city involve tourist dollars, as it does in New Orleans, this is a problem. Not to say that senseless violence isn’t always a problem, it is; but in the case of New Orleans, there are other problems on the table.

Governor Mitch Landrieu has raised the ire of many local residents for seeming to be more concerned about matters not related to reducing the exploding crime rate in the city. In 2014, the city celebrated the lowest murder rate in four decades, but in 2015 the murder rate began to climb again with a total of 165 in 2015.  The police force has a 73-minute response time on average due to a large manpower shortage.

What is Governor Landrieu doing to address this problem?  Late last year he tried getting gang members together and talked to them about choosing another career path.  That strategy wasn’t successful so Landrieu’s next target was the city’s Confederate monuments: they must be the cause of the racial division in NOLA.  Yet that plan has fostered more anger and outrage among the city’s longtime residents who know that the history and culture of New Orleans is one of the main tourist draws.  Landrieu’s favorability rating has plummeted among white residents while it has risen among the city’s black residents, furthering racial division in the city.  Many residents are fed up with the fact that Landrieu seems more concerned with removing monuments and building bike paths rather than solving the problems in the police department and lowering the crime rate.

While Mitch Landrieu certainly didn’t pull the trigger on Will Smith Saturday night, one has to hope that this terrible tragedy will get his attention and force him to reevaluate his priorities and do something to reduce the frustrations and violence in the city.  What happened to Will Smith and his family is as tragic and senseless. That he played for the New Orleans Saints gives him a higher profile but he was a son, a father, and a husband who did not deserve to be gunned down in the middle of the street on a Saturday night.  Nobody deserves that.  It’s time for Governor Landrieu to clean his city up.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – It was only a matter of time before Captain Clay Higgins of the St. Landry parish sheriff’s department drew the ire of the ACLU and frankly, it’s surprising that it hasn’t happened before now.

Captain Higgins makes Chuck Norris tremble.  Captain Higgins is the tough talking, straight shooting spokesman for the St. Landry Sheriff’s Office and his weekly Crime Stoppers videos are a combination of John Wayne straight talk, Chuck Norris machismo, and tent-revival preaching.  He doesn’t work from a script and generally nails the segments in just one take.

His most recent video targets at-large members of the Gremlins street gang who have been terrorizing at least four Acadiana parishes in recent months. The Louisiana State Police reached out to Capt. Higgins to use his popular Crime Stoppers platform to make the video which pulled together law enforcement officials from several parishes.

In this video, which you can watch here, Higgins stands in front of a veritable army of officers and growls straight into the camera. He begins the video in his beige uniform shirt and Smoky Bear hat, but by the end, after calling out the gang members by name, he is in SWAT gear and is heavily armed, as are those behind him:

The Gremlins street gang is responsible for hundreds of violent crimes: murders, armed robberies, witness intimidation, burglaries, drug trafficking, extortion, and brutal beatings. We’ve arrested ten of these thugs and have warrants on seven more. Every one of these thugs is most definitely armed and dangerous.….We have felony warrants for your arrest.  You will be hunted. You will be trapped.  And if you raise your weapon to a man like me, we will return fire with superior fire.

Darren Carter, you think men like these are afraid of an uneducated, 125 pound punk like you that’s never won a fair fight a day in your life and holds your gun sideways?  Young man, I’ll meet you on solid ground anytime, anywhere light or heavy.  Makes no difference to me, you won’t walk away.  Look at you! Men like us, son, we do dumbbell presses with weights bigger than you! …

I encourage every citizen watching this to look into your own heart and find the American courage that conquers all evil. I implore you to listen to this message and stand up, take back your streets, take back your country. Come forward with information about these heathens that’ll terrorize your community.

And to those who would use this message as a way to create false racial division in our country, take a close look behind me. Standing next to every cop is a leader of our black community. This is not about race. It’s about right versus wrong.  One last message to the Gremlins: you don’t like the things I’ve told you tonight?  I got one thing to say. I’m easy to find!

The camera pans out, patriot music swells, and the ACLU goes nuts.

It took less than 24 hours for the ACLU of Louisiana to file a statement with the television station expressing concern that Capt. Higgins might just use vigilante force to apprehend these criminals:

“While we support legal law enforcement and certainly are as concerned as anyone about violence in our neighborhoods, law enforcement officers must be aware of the implications of their public statements.  Assuming that what is reported is true, Mr. Higgins has suggested that those he seeks to arrest are subject to execution before trial.  The statement that there is a “bounty on their heads” harks back to lawlessness, when people were killed first and questions asked later.  That is not the way we operate in a free society, and regardless of Mr. Higgins’ opinions about the guilt of those he seeks to arrest, it is a felony to execute someone simply because you don’t like them.

They also expressed criticism over the use of the word “heathen” because *gasp*  it is a “religious term” and we certainly can’t have that:

“He refers to those he seeks to arrest as “heathens.”  “Heathen” is a religious term, and unless Mr. Higgins has specific information about the religious beliefs of those individuals, it is both inappropriate and incorrect.  And even if it’s true that these individuals, or some of them, are religiously “heathen,” that is of no consequence to their status as criminal suspects.  Unless Mr. Higgins believes that all law-abiding people share his personal religious faith – and if he does believe that, he should not be an officer of the law – to call someone a “heathen” and equate that to “criminal” is simply insulting, wrong, and potentially a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

He has somehow insulted hardened murderers by calling them heathens?  We certainly can’t have anyone insulting criminals, now.

For the record, “heathen” is indeed a religious term, but in informal usage, it is also defined as “an unenlightened person; a person regarded as lacking culture or moral principles,” which certainly seems to apply here.

In response to the ACLU complaint, Capt. Higgins is not backing down. He has challenged the ACLU to a debate about the matter:

“The ACLU has a point that they feel is righteous, and of course they’re wrong, but that’s subject for debate.  I invite them to that debate. I’d like to fill a 10,000 man hall in Baton Rouge.  Whoever authored that letter, whatever team authored that letter, I’m sure they’d be happy to debate me in a public forum. We can sell tickets. 10,000 of them at $10.00 apiece and raise $100,000 for charity. I can certainly generate 9,998 of my followers, and they can bring both of theirs, and we’ll have a healthy debate and let the American people decide,” says Higgins.

No word yet if the ACLU will take Captain Higgins up on that offer.  I’m betting they don’t.

If you want to know more about Captain Higgins, here’s a BuzzFeed post with some of his most memorable lines.  He’s got a Facebook page.  And here’s a Washington Post article from last year about him.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.