Sunday, March 18, 2007

Question Of The Week, 3/18/07

Good morning. I found something I thought was interesting in my local paper.

3/18/2007 1:50:00 AM

Violence tests Midtown again

Latest incidents will challenge endurance of community leaders The spring cycle of violence is all too familiar for Midtown. Young men gather on neighborhood streets. Shots are fired. A young man falls. The police fly to the scene. The neighbors watch nervously. The community searches for a way to end the violence. The latest round began earlier this month when a group of eight or so young - 18 to 23 - men gathered in front of a home at 1016 S. 15th St. It was early evening when shots were reportedly fired from what police believe was a maroon Ford Taurus. A 20-year-old man was taken to the hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound to the head. His medical status has not been released.A week later, a 17-year-old man was shot in his right thigh at about 1 p.m. as he walked in an alley in the 500 block of South 15th Street. He was treated for his injuries and released. The two incidents took place just six blocks apart. Police believe they are related. Midtown has skipped the cycle in some good years. But more often than is wanted, violence visits this neighborhood long enough to spur a community-wide prayer for an end to the cycle. Neighborhood meetings are held. Brainstorming sessions are conducted. The push for a cure picked up enough momentum to win a federal "weed and seed" grant designed to take back the community. And all of those efforts helped Midtown become a safer place to live.It is hard to imagine, after the latest round of violence, what more can be done. Community spirit also gets weary with repetition. Some old ideas deserve a closer look. In the early days of the quest for a "weed and seed" grant, the committee talked about a central location where residents could come for all kinds of help with a variety of governmental problems. The help station also could serve as a substation for police officers permanently assigned to work in Midtown. The officers would actually walk the beat when possible and forge bonds with the neighbors. The idea, unfortunately, fell through the cracks in an effort to comply with federal demands attached to funding. Midtown leaders also backed the idea of a neighborhood court that would tap respected elders to run a special court designed to pass out sentences that teach young offenders a lesson that takes them off a path to crime. It is still a good idea that deserves a chance to work. Midtown has come a long way in the last 10 years. But the weed-and-seed funding is drying up. The push to make Midtown safer needs your energy and ideas - new or old - now, more than ever.

This weeks Question Of The Week is. What do you think of this "idea of a neighborhood court that would tap respected elders to run a special court designed to pass out sentences that teach young offenders a lesson that takes them off a path to crime?

I'll post my answer in the Comment Section Monday night.

Thanks go to:

The St. Joseph News-Press

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

5 Comments:

Blogger Always On Watch Two said...

I don't favor any kind of dual legal system. Won't the regular courts pass out any such learn-life-lessons sentences?

Has the meth epidemic (or other drug problem) hit this area? If so, that particular addiction needs to be dealt with in order to lower the crime rate.

Taking back a neighborhood is a Herculean task. The most important element for success is the family unit--not the dysfunctional type, of course.

6:08 PM  
Blogger The Sovereign Editor said...

As long as the neighborhood court didn't have federal funding, it might be okay. There is a strong English common law tradition of village moots (town meetings) to resolve local problems. This is seen most often in the democratic traditions of small town New England. In addition, this is not that much different than teen courts that operate in some jurisdictions without any ill effect on the legal system.

But I must warn you, my initial reaction was to agree with Always On Watch Two.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

Sounds okay, except it sounds painfully similar to a Sharia court.

9:14 AM  
Blogger David Schantz said...

First I want to thank you for stopping by to answer this weeks question. Part of my teen years were spent living on the edge of what is called Midtown in the article. It was a rough neighborhood way back then and it has continued to get worse over the years. I have my own name for the area today, Crack City. "What do you think of this "idea of a neighborhood court that would tap respected elders to run a special court designed to pass out sentences that teach young offenders a lesson that takes them off a path to crime?" I've been thinking about that and coming up with more questions. Who is going to pick these "respected elders"? If the answer is city hall no I don't like the idea. If this is going to be a neighborhood court let the area residents select the "respected elders".What kind of cases would it handle? If Johnny is TPing or egging houses fine let the neighborhood court deal with it. If Johnny has one pocket full of crack another full of cash and a pistol stuck in his baggy pants he has gone to far. The state will have to deal with him. So I'am mixed here. I like the idea but it needs some fine tuning.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

12:37 AM  
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4:55 AM  

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