The knock out game has come to New Orleans with a vengeance in recent weeks. Despite police denials, there have been several recent attacks that have all of the hallmarks of the vicious knock out game. In the past several weeks, in the tourist hotspot of the French Quarter, innocent individuals were targeted by black youngsters. These victims were not robbed, but were severely beaten and sent to the hospital in a coma.
It is bad enough to be attacked by roaming mobs of street thugs, but it is even worse when they are carrying weapons, like baseball bats. Last Friday, two bicyclists were attacked by baseball wielding black youths on Esplanade Avenue, on the edge of the French Quarter. Again, the victims were not robbed, only brutally beaten. One of the victims had a jaw fracture; the other suffered a skull fracture. They are both lucky to be alive and could have easily been killed. If apprehended, these criminals should be charged with attempted murder.
Again, the undermanned New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) downplayed the incidents and claimed that they were not examples of the type of knock out attacks that have been going on in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and St. Louis. The police maintain that since the thugs used baseball bats it was a typical aggravated battery case. In reality, these crimes were an example of the knock out game carried to a more dangerous level.
We do not know whether the attacks were racially motivated because the police have not released the race of the two victims. To make matters worse, some media outlets in New Orleans, such as the Times Picayune newspaper, refuse to publicize the race of the criminals involved in the incidents. This is political correctness taken to a dangerous level. Without accurate information about who is committing these crimes, the public cannot take adequate precautions and cannot provide vital information to police that may be used to apprehend these felons.
The crime situation in New Orleans is going from bad to worse. Every day police officers are leaving the force, disgusted with policies that limit their detail pay and require Orleans Parish residency. They also do not agree with the crime fighting strategies of Police Chief Ronal Serpas or appreciate the type of treatment they receive from Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office.
Since Mayor Landrieu was re-elected on February 1, another 15 officers have departed the NOPD, giving law abiding citizens in New Orleans more to worry about. Under Mayor Landrieu and Chief Serpas, the police department has suffered tremendously, declining from 1600 officers to approximately 1100 today.
In a city where liberal judges allow hardened criminals access to the streets after brief stays in prison, if at all, the remaining police officers must feel powerless. All too often they see the criminals they arrest right back on the streets of New Orleans the very next day.
In the case of the Esplanade Avenue bicyclist attacks, there is little question that the perpetrators of these horrific crimes will be young offenders who have been in and out of the criminal justice system. With so many youngsters growing up with no discipline and no father at home, they find their role models in all the wrong places, on the crime infested streets of New Orleans.
The police can deny the problem, the statistics can be manipulated, but the average citizen knows full well that the crime problem is out of control in New Orleans.
Hopefully, more New Orleans citizens will become trained in firearms and receive their concealed carry permit. It may soon become the only way they can protect themselves.
Jeff Crouere is a native of New Orleans, LA and he is the host of a Louisiana based program, “Ringside Politics,” which airs at 7:30 p.m. Fri. and 10:00 p.m. Sun. on WLAE-TV 32, a PBS station, and 7 till 11 a.m. weekdays on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans and the Northshore. For more information, visit his web site at www.ringsidepolitics.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.