Report from Louisiana: Is Violence the New Norm?

By:  Pat Austin 

SHREVEPORT —   Is it just the 24/7 news cycle or has the world gone crazy?    It seems like every news source I look at lately is filled with reports of violence and people getting shot. 

Here in Shreveport, every single day (and NO! I’m not exaggerating!), someone gets shot.  My husband now calls it “Shootport.”   One local shooting even made national news this weekend when one of our U.S. Mail carriers, Antonio Williams, was shot and killed while delivering mail.  The AP picked up the story, I guess because who shoots a mailman, for crying out loud? 

Thankfully an arrest has been made in that case but nobody seems clear yet on motive.  Early reports were that Williams maced a dog and so this guy shot him, but the victim’s daughter posted on social media that the story was not true.  Another rumor is that Williams was trying to break up a domestic dispute, but why in the world he wouldn’t have just stepped back and called police, I don’t know. 

In short, we have no idea yet why this longtime postman, and nice family man, was murdered.  It’s awful. 

Absolutely nobody is surprised around here when we hear about another shooting. 

I’m not sure what the problem is in Shreveport.  We have a new, very young, mayor, but these problems existed before he took office. We aren’t certain what he’s doing about it, however. The mayor’s latest actions in general have been to advocate for a repeal of the “saggy pants ordinance” and to offer an apology to Sam Cooke’s daughter for the mistreatment Mr. Cooke faced in the city in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, our infrastructure is literally crumbling, there are no jobs or industry here, and people are killing each other on a daily basis.

Not so good for tourism, is it?

But is this happening everywhere?  Is it just here?  I don’t know.  We travel around some during the summer when I’m out of school and you know when you travel other places always look so much better than where you are. I’m not sure how much of this is just perception.

I do think it’s true that Louisiana is not particularly a business-friendly state and that the tax structure is a big part of the problem.

But again, this is not a new problem.  Do we just not want to fix this? Is the status quo really good enough?  Shooting the mailman is the new norm? 

The older I get the more I begin to understand my parents and my grandparents when they longed for simpler days.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and is the author of Cane River Bohemia.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.