No mercy.

The violent, stupid, no-good for anything waste of air and space assholes are truly in rare form recently, racking up 57 homicides so far this year.  This is on a pace for the most homicides in the city in ten years.

First:

On Fleury Way, state Rep. Joe Preston, D-East Liberty, told Mr. Ravenstahl that worst-in-a-decade body counts may be the result of good police work.

“As violence increases, it tells me in a sense that the police have increased their arrest record,” Mr. Preston later told reporters. “Because instead of just one person controlling an area, you have four or five people fighting for that same territory. … So when the police are doing their job, you’ve got four or five people who conflict through violence to try to take over.”

I have read that statement six times and it doesn’t get any clearer as to WTF IS THIS MAN SAYING?

Translation please?

Aside from that, you know, I don’t give a damn if these “no snitching” residents are caught in the middle of this violence because really how can we help  you if you won’t open your mouth?  And I don’t give a damn if every single violent, stupid, no-good for anything waste of air and space asshole takes a bullet to his brain because really how can we bother to care about you when you’re putting innocent lives at risk?

Here’s what I do care about.  I care about the kids.  I care that there are innocent kids living right in a war zone.  Kids who know what gunfire sounds like.  I don’t know what gunfire sounds like.  I’ve never heard it first-hand in my life.  There are probably five-year-olds in Homewood that have an automatic crouch and crawl response to gunfire.

That makes me sad and it makes me angry and if there is ANYTHING that Lukey, the Dread Lord, or Nate Harper can do FOR THE KIDS’ SAKE, then my gosh I hope it works.

So much talk about “taking care of business” and “rising up” and “taking back our streets” but where’s the action?  Are the police going Vic Mackey on gang leaders and laying out in very clear terms what no mercy means?  Are the police going Horatio Caine on the street terrorists, calmly taking them aside, removing the Sunglasses of Justice and quietly giving them a detailed description of what it would be like to be dropped off in rival gang territory at night and then responding to, “Is that a threat, detective?” with, “It absolutely is.  Just give me a reason.”

Where is the full-on assault on violent gang crime?

Where are the monetary rewards that are enough to counter the no snitching?

How else are we going to make it better?

Can Homewood ever be better?

Is it possible that someday in Homewood a car will backfire and a six-year old on a bike heading to the playground won’t even flinch?

I can dream, right?

I don’t want to hear, “It’s the economy forcing people to crime,” because my God we’re all hurting from the economy.  Blaming the economy is taking an iota of blame off of the offenders.  The fact of the matter is that these are uneducated criminals with freewill who made bad choices.  They chose violence over a job at McDonalds.  They chose guns over books.  They chose death over life.

It is ALWAYS about choice.

It’s time someone showed them that they chose wrong.





30 Comments

  1. Three
    October 21, 2008 8:50 am

    I think what good ole Mayor Fluke is trying to imply (here comes the translation) is that since the police have taken down more of the big guys (bosses, if you will), the little guys are now vying for control of certain neighborhoods, which is resulting in more innocent people getting shot.

    Only a politician would call that a “success.”

    While I’m proud that their efforts to land the big fish are successful, I’m sure the police would agree that the little fish are rapidly becoming the larger problem.



  2. Jagoff
    October 21, 2008 9:26 am

    Well stated PG



  3. askalesbian
    October 21, 2008 9:34 am

    Admittedly, you said:

    “I don’t know what gunfire sounds like. I’ve never heard it first-hand in my life.”

    Until you’ve had to crouch and crawl a few times and/or make a decision to talk to the police, knowing that you could be putting yourself and family in extreme danger, you may not truly know what people in these neighborhoods are going through. (Unless you could THINK empathetically for a moment.)

    Some of us have had the good fortune to be able to leave the neighborhood. Believe me, it’s an option that very few people have.

    I, for one, don’t expect things to improve too much in Pgh as long as we are more outraged about being called racist, than we are about actually being racist.

    You can skewer Murtha, but he’s right!



  4. Jen
    October 21, 2008 9:38 am

    In addition to the anti-violence programs that you mentioned, PittGirl, I would hope that social programs to help those who remain in these neighborhoods would begin in tandem. You can clean up the violence and get rid of the bad element, but you still have to solve the problems that drive people to violence in the first place. The sense of hopelessness that must grip many people needs to be eliminated and real economic solutions must be provided. Until there are incentives not to turn to drug dealing (which then of course leads straight to the violence), then there won’t be a change. And while a job at McDonald’s is still a job, it’s one that won’t net you more money than dealing drugs. No one can solely support a family on a McDonald’s salary (or two, I suspect). Until you get rid of the reasons that people have for turning to a life of crime in addition to creating *huge* penalties for committing the crime, you won’t ever really solve the problem.

    /end social welfare rant.



  5. Katrina
    October 21, 2008 9:55 am

    and once again, you say exactly what I was thinking.



  6. Mark Denovich
    October 21, 2008 9:55 am

    Sounds like we need a “War on Crime” seeing how well tough, heavy-handed policies have led us to victory in the wars on Drugs, Terror, Poverty, etc…

    I’m a member of a non-threatening demographic (affluent, white, non-adolescent) and even I don’t buy the “protect and serve” motto of city police. Presumed innocent is apparently not a cornerstone of police training. Even when I reported a crime, I’ve been made to fear that I was part of the problem. I can only imagine what it must be like in an area like Homewood. When I see a cop nearby I know the odds of being accidentally being locked up or shot go up dramatically.

    It’s my belief that the police cruiser marks the beginning of a long decline in effective policing. Instead of “walking the beat”, socializing with neighborhood residents, building trust, being a highly visible crime deterrent… the police now either wait for crime to happen (so much for the “protect” function) and drive to it, or they prowl around menacingly in their cruisers hoping to catch in people in the act (again, crime is not really prevented, the people aren’t protected or served well.)

    Crime does pay, and there a few ways to change that.

    Increase the cost of crime overhead… what most police measures do. Perversely, the higher costs of crime make it more lucrative for those who can get away with it.

    Reduce the supply of criminals… what most police measures aim to do. Perversely, once a criminal, it is very difficult to do anything but be a criminal.

    Increase the number of opportunities that pay better than crime. This is the one that really pays dividends. It’s harder, more subtle, and doesn’t quench the thirst for vengeance… but it actually works. Most food soldiers in crime don’t make much money… so it’s not like it takes a great job opportunity to seem better than one that might pay a little more but comes with huge risk of death or imprisonment.



  7. Jimmy the Freak
    October 21, 2008 10:00 am

    I don’t care what reason a person has to turn to a life of crime. They still make a conscious choice to act. The reasons for those actions are immaterial.



  8. Corey
    October 21, 2008 10:18 am

    I think Chief Wiggum once said that quote on the Simpsons.
    “Good police work, boys.”



  9. BurghBoy
    October 21, 2008 10:32 am

    Great post… we at anotherburghblog have a diffrent take on this… :)



  10. Sofa King
    October 21, 2008 10:32 am

    Amen to this post, PG. I think the one thing that some of the social welfare folks here fail to realize is that some of the criminals turn to crime because they don’t want to work. You can open up a McDonald’s in their neighborhood paying $75/hour, and many of them would still rather hang out on the street corner than put on a uniform and slave over a deep fryer for 8 hours.

    My zip code in Arlington County is 1/3 white, 1/3 Hispanic, and 1/3 all other races, yet there is very little crime at all. The reason why is because the immigrants in my area take advantage of every possible opportunity they have to get ahead. I know some Mexican and South American immigrants (all legal) that will put in 8 hours/day on a construction site just to drive to a restaurant and put in another 6-8 hours cooking and bussing tables. They come here every bit as poor and with probably less social programs available than the folks in neighborhoods like Homewood do, but they bust their butts every day to get ahead…with no complaining or no sense of entitlement.



  11. TheTruth
    October 21, 2008 10:51 am

    I’m a member of a non-threatening demographic (affluent, white, non-adolescent) and even I don’t buy the “protect and serve” motto of city police. Presumed innocent is apparently not a cornerstone of police training. Even when I reported a crime, I’ve been made to fear that I was part of the problem.

    Given the fact that you point a finger at police training and and make arguments that excuse criminal behavior, I have to say that yes – you are part of the problem.



  12. Gunnlino
    October 21, 2008 11:08 am

    Yeah, it’s all the police officers fault. Catch the bad guys and you’re picking on them, let it all slide and you’re a do nothing .
    Can’t keep the activists happy no matter what.

    Regardless of what is done or not, the killing will continue and many innocents will continue to die. The police have no effect on it at all, read the papers now and then, same neighborhoods, same crooks, same programs to make social change, same activists yelling into bullhorns….the end result, zip.

    What’s the solution? The racists among us say kill ’em all and let God sort it out, the more reasonable keep trying, do something, don’t just stand there.

    The decision is ours.



  13. c
    October 21, 2008 11:44 am

    It’s drugs – the gangs are strictly the business of drugs(99% of the drugs get to market here in the burg from gangs). The popularity of gangs directly relates to the popularity of drugs.

    So until everyone just says “no” or we LEGALIZE it, gangs will persist maybe flourish and some innocents just sitting on their porch will be caught dead in the cross fire.

    All this shooting just over a little harmless pot??? Indeed, yes is the correct answer.



  14. PR Boy
    October 21, 2008 11:45 am

    Thank you, Jimmy the Freak and Sofa King. I’m so sick of people saying that a life of crime is mostly because of lack of choices for jobs. Bull#$%&. It’s time to quit coddling people who don’t want to work…period. Believe me, coming from the Southern states, I’ve seen and lived poverty. But I didn’t go out and start shooting people, because I was raised to know that it’s WRONG to do so, and I made the CONSCIOUS CHOICE to not do so. I learned to live within my means. Found a job, even if its something I really hated (cleaning septic tanks, taring roofs). Its about initiative and work ethic, being taught what’s right and wrong, and choosing not to do the wrong things.



  15. Dark Knight
    October 21, 2008 11:48 am

    I am sick and tired of people bad mouthing the police officers who are out there on a daily basis Protecting the Public. Yes Mark, in fact we do PROTECT and SERVE!! I work in the Zone 5 Patrol Area which includes Homewood. We are out there on a daily basis patrolling and making arrests. We make gun arrests, drug arrests, Domestic Arrests, etc. We do make a difference.

    Maybe we should look at the Judges who put these criminals back out on the street the day after they are arrested. Or lets look at the District Attorneys Office who give these repeat offenders “Deals” where the required punishment is a jail sentence but they only get probation.

    Oh yeah, I forgot Its just easier to blame the Police who obviously do nothing. Im here to tell you that is a Bunch of BS. All of the Officers I work with work hard day in and day out to help with the Crime on the City Streets. Maybe a little support would help us do even more, but for this City it may be too much to ask since its easier to say the issues are everyone elses problem, and that the police do nothing.

    And also Mark, in my opinion, Walking Beats, are a waste of Taxpayer money. It takes Officers off of patrol cars where they can actually answer calls in a timely fashion and places them in areas where they can only walk a few blocks. And if you put us in an area that doesnt want the police around in the first place the problems will still exist. People who live in these areas dont want to be seen talking to us, even if its just to file a report because they will be labled a snitch and will get harrassed in their own neighborhood.

    Just remember, when anything bad happens or when you need help who do most people call? The Police! Yesterday I heard the gunshots from the Incident on Race Street, because we were activley patrolling Homewood to help calm the Violence. When most people run from gunshots the police run toward the shots. We do this on a daily basis.

    Think about that the next time you want to bad mouth the Police.



  16. c
    October 21, 2008 12:24 pm

    Oh Dark Knight, trust me smart people really respect, admire and are very thankful for the police. Your job is the most challenging, case closed.



  17. Bram R
    October 21, 2008 12:36 pm

    FWIW, I’m starting to get the impression that the no snitching “ethos” or whatever is way blown entirely out of proportion. What’s really going on, as some commenters have said, is “If I cooperate w/ the police, the criminals will target me personally.” And that’s a tough one to bribe your way out of.

    And the problem w/ “it’s always about CHOICE” is that a lot of the time it’s actually the children themselves who are making the bad choices — like, starting at about age 13. I’m certainly not trying to absolve anybody but I am suggesting that culture, upbringing, environment and whatever have a lot to do with what choices look rational.



  18. captain dummy
    October 21, 2008 12:42 pm

    i hate when people bad-mouth the police!

    not to mention… you think the guy in the cubicle next to you is an a-hole??? think of the people police deal with day-in and day-out.

    police get my total respect!!!

    on a lighter note, sofa king, i would have changed that statement to look like this:

    “They come here every bit as poor and with probably less social programs available than the folks in neighborhoods like Homewood do, but they bust their butts every day to get ahead…with no complaining or no sense of entitlement… ALL THE WHILE CARRYING THOSE HOT-ASS PLATES!”



  19. Summer
    October 21, 2008 12:52 pm

    So, PG, is this FU day on the BurghBlog or what?



  20. Marie
    October 21, 2008 2:10 pm

    Thank you to everyone who actually had nice things to say about our police officers. And to every other ignorant person with a negative comment, you should be ashamed of yourselves. How can you say things like that to people who put their lives at risk every day to protect us? I dare each of you to do the job that they do for one day, you would be begging for your cubicle in no time.

    I am the wife of a Pittsburgh Police officer, and every night I go to bed and pray for the safe return of my husband, I am proud that he has a job that actually MATTERS, though it’s just ashame that he risks his life for people that don’t appreciate it.



  21. Uncle Malty
    October 21, 2008 2:33 pm

    Amen Pittgirl.



  22. kelli
    October 21, 2008 2:53 pm

    “And that’s a tough one to bribe your way out of.”

    Bram, I couldn’t agree with you more here. The amounts need to truly bring someone out of poverty are sky-high – a one-time “reward” just isn’t going to cut it.



  23. schooner
    October 21, 2008 3:46 pm

    Would it really be such a bad thing if some cops did go all Vic Mackey on the gang members? An argument will be made that if these assholes start getting roughed up by the good guys, their “rights are violated”, to which I respond “tough shit”. You break the law, you no longer get to hide behind it. We need to worry about the senior citizens in these neighborhoods who remember when the area was clean and liveable and are now living behind gated doors and windows, and we need to worry about the five year olds who may not live to see six because of random gunfire, violence, and drugs. And let’s all worry about the police officers who put a shield on every day and do their best to keep the streets safe for all of us.

    Horatio Caine is a pussy. Bring on the Strike Team.

    “Good cop and bad cop both left for the day. I’m a different kind of cop” -Vic Mackey



  24. JamieO
    October 21, 2008 3:57 pm

    I heard a story recently about a person who is teaching parents in Harlem how to be parents. As in, pay attention to them, don’t beat the hell out of them, etc. It seems to be working there. Time will tell if it reduces crime.

    Having lived in a bad neighborhood before, I understand the fear many face – but don’t understand the No Snitching shit. That is different than being afraid.

    As for choices, many of these killers started down the wrong path when they were very young. Many of us were fortunate to have parents who kept after us. See my first paragraph. Nothing is going to change until we hit the root of the problem.

    Cops of course need to kick ass and fight crime, but the thing is, murders are not going to stop solely due to being tough. These thugs are people who don’t give a shit about anyone’s tough words or even actions. They don’t see any other way to survive but gang-banging. As KRS-One once rapped, “I pull down 3 G’s a week/fuck school”. The police do the best they can considering these odds.

    I volunteered at the Hill House dealing with at-risk teens, and it’s a shame that bright kids (not all of these thugs are idiots) get caught up in this. But the temptations are so strong, they are so young, and are filled with BS about “selling out” and such that it’s a problem that might never be solved.



  25. JamieO
    October 21, 2008 3:59 pm

    Thanks for your service, Dark Knight. You are appreciated.



  26. CriticExtraordinaire
    October 21, 2008 7:11 pm

    I do not give one rat’s ass about this violence. It is mainly drug dealers killing other drug dealers or drug users blah blah blah. And since the local community has embraced the “No snitchin'” lifestyle, may the skies open up in a hailstorm of hot lead. Let’s get it over with, I say.

    Every time you hear about some dirt bag getting snuffed, out come his relatives talking the same shit. “Oh he was turning his life around. He used to help old ladies cross the street and shovel people’s driveways in the winter”. (Conveniently ignoring the corpse’s extensive arrest record for assault, weapons violations, and drugs).



  27. steelheader
    October 22, 2008 1:20 am

    64 of 78 homicides Black lives [Thru Sept 30, 2008(Headline from the Pgh Courier)]

    This is not a problem because drugs are illegal.

    Drugs are consumed in mass quantities in all communities, every day. Most people do not murder each other while conducting clandestine business.

    This is not a problem because of police presence/procedures.

    Police are omnipresent (affluent suburbs) or never present (rural areas)- citizens do not (or rarely) murder each other over drug transactions.

    This is a problem in the Black Community.

    It is not racist to say this.

    What will they do about it?

    Stop Snitchin’?



  28. c
    October 22, 2008 12:44 pm

    Newsflash – surburbanites come to the hood to buy their drugs. I’ve seen this with my naked eye – over and over and over. You’re speaking of consumers who are not so addicted that they can still afford to live in the suburbs so guns are not necessary at this junction of their drug use or sales. You’re speaking of consumers or boutique drug sales persons not the nitty gritty business end of the deal – once again 99% of Pittsburgh’s drugs hit the street via gangs. Gangs use guns for defense of sales territories.
    Calling this a “Problem of the Black Community” is over simplifying and is grossly unfair. Are you saying all blacks are dealing drugs – what does “problem of the black community mean????
    I would say some blacks who by a grip of fear are doing their illegal business in communities where blacks live maybe in majority. There are plenty of blacks who live where the shootings occur who benefit nothing from these illegal activites and stand up in their communites on a daily basis and ask for help to resolve this crisis. On a sad occasion some of them even catch a murderous stray bullet. Thankfully our city leaders are trying something to stem this and hopefully with results before another innocent citizen or law enforcement agent like our State Trooper Pekorny falls.
    Dismissing all this violence because it’s “black” is why Murtha’s remarks have tremendous validity. Further noting that just because you do drugs but don’t shoot anyone doesn’t dismiss the fact that you become an enabler. Directly or indirectly we all contribute especially when we quickly and wrongly dismiss that this problem doesn’t deserve correction.



  29. kelli
    October 22, 2008 1:13 pm

    Maybe I’m viewing this the “wrong” way, but I believe that violence is so often a result of socio-economic problems, rather than the color of someone’s skin.

    One example in my life is at work. Part of my job requires I ask employees of my company to visit properties in rural Appalachia. (I mean, rural – I’m not talking out in the surrounding counties.) Predominately white.

    My friend works in a job where she has to ask employees of her company to visit properties in the inner city. Predominately black.

    We have both had our guys threatened with violence, had guns or dogs turned on them, etc. We’ve both had to adopted rules – no single person visits – partner them up, some areas mean no visits after dark, more frequent contact with the office, etc.

    What do these two areas have in common? It isn’t the color of the folks skin. Its the extreme and extraordinary poverty that is pervasive in both of these places.

    Just the way that I tend to look at it…



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