Friday, August 10, 2007

Mayor's "I Feel Your Pain" Strategy Hard On The Stomach

There are some sobering statistics in a Star article discussing a study of the murder rate among African-American men, which reports that nearly half of the nation's murder victims are black, with the majority of those victims being young, African-American men and the rate of those killings on the rise. Last year, Indianapolis had a near-record number of homicides and the rate this year is nearly keeping pace with last year's rate. Yesterday, the family of a 13-year-old victim struck dead by a stray bullet last September held a memorial birthday service for him. Mayor Bart Peterson showed up for the service. The Star's Will Higgins writes:

Alex Anthony would have been 14 on Thursday, and several dozen relatives and friends gathered at his school, Harshman Middle School, to mark the occasion.

Alex died last September when a stray bullet hit him in the head while he was walking to his grandmother's house in the 1700 block of Rural Street on the Eastside. A gunfight had erupted suddenly. Two cars sped past, their occupants firing at each other. Alex was hit.

The incident punctuated a violent year in Indianapolis, which had a near-record homicide toll in 2006. The boy's death marked the 114th homicide that year.

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, who was with Alex's family at the memorial gathering Thursday morning, called Alex's death "one of those painful moments in what was a painful year, an innocent child literally caught in the crossfire."

If Mayor Peterson weren't in the midst of a tough re-election campaign, it is doubtful he would have noticed the memorial service Alex's family held yesterday. Ironically, while Alex's family was burying their son last September, Mayor Peterson was in the midst of relinquishing control of the newly-formed IMPD to Sheriff Frank Anderson. When he was elected mayor 8 years ago, his number one priority was the war on crime and hiring 100 new police officers. Today, there are more than a hundred vacant positions in the police department and Mayor Peterson is still promising more than a hundred new police officers with the approval of his $90 million, 65% increase in the county option income tax. I've always felt very uneasy when politicians show up at funerals of people they've never met, but Mayor Peterson's appearance at Alex's memorial service yesterday was particularly stomach-turning.

On a side note, political columnist Matt Tully devotes an entire column today calling for the banning of smoking at the Indiana State Fair. I despise smoking as much as Matt does, but I think there's plenty more in the political arena to be writing about these days than smoking at the state fair. Leave those stories to the health writer, Matt. Let's get back to the fascinating year in politics we're having here in this state and this city.

5 comments:

Wilson46201 said...

Is this your daily serving of Purina IndyU-Chow?

Old Grouch said...

Banning smoking is part of Gannett's (corporate-level) big-nanny agenda. Tully knows where his bread is buttered. 'Nuf said.

Jason said...

Disingenuous at best.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Frank Anderson has Altzhimers and is keeping this sad news from the public.

I also keep hearing that Peterson is covering up the fact that Indianapolis is bankrupt by desperately trying to get his hands on every cent he can.

We need some checking into these things.

Anonymous said...

Tax and Spend, the motto of the Democrats.

Ohhh, they love to bring up crime, because it scares people. Then they say that the Tax & Spend is for "public safety" when it goes for a stadium, crony, patronage executive hire-on, etc.