May 15th, 2013 08:14 EST
The New Orleans Shooting On Mother`s Day Speaks of Deeper Problems, Dating to Katrina!
Why did 19-year-old Akein Scott randomly shoot a gun into a crowd of innocent citizens at a Mother`s Day parade in New Orleans, wounding 19? Were there other shooters? Was Akein engaged in a gunfight with a rival gang?
Were all 19 people injured as a result of his weapon`s discharge? These are the questions everyone wants to know; especially citizens living in New Orleans. Another question begs an answer, will the century-old traditions of second line parades survive?
So far, just three days away from Mother`s Day, no evidence has come forth that suggests there were other shooters. Initially, the day after the shooting, an AP piece mentioned that `police said there may have been as many as three gunmen.`
Where they got this information, I can`t say; one would think it would have come from eyewitnesses, but since then, there hasn`t been any follow-up or corroboration to these claims.
I will say, however, an actual eyewitness to the confusion and outburst of violence, medical student Jarrat Pytell actually saw Akein Scott aiming his gun in a specific direction, and apparently at a particular target.
While that`s hard to prove, these are clues that the young man in a T-shirt (we see in the video) is engaged in a gunfight with some other rogue element (possibly rival gang members). But is this hocus-pocus; why hasn`t evidence come forth exposing other gunmen?
Well, it could be when bullet fragments are tested, that hit victims or that were found on the scene of shooting, differences in the make and/or caliber will prove there were other shooters.
Furthermore, when they (the FBI and the NOPD) capture Akein Scott (which should be soon), he may tell the authorities why he did it, who he was shooting at, and why it was so important to behave insanely violent, threatening the lives of innocent bystanders, who were just trying to express themselves and have some fun on Mother`s Day.
The other leg of this troubling story goes much deeper; it has to do with the cultural and economic survival of New Orleans after Katrina nearly destroyed her in late August of 2005 (you may want to view Spike Lee`s documentary once again for recent historical context).
And I will say, various news services (Reuters, Associated Press and The Times Picayune) have done a good job of tying this recent crazy shooting in with how hard it`s been for New Orleans to recover, especially for pockets of the city that are plagued by poverty and voracious street crime.
That is, already earlier this year, MLK Day experienced a drive-by shooting where five people were wounded, as well as a pre-Mardi Gras incident (sorry, multiple shooting), when four people were wounded.
As bad as this looks, a spot of sunshine beams in when we hear the total homicide rate has been dropping for New Orleans over the past two years. One can easily tie-in high crime rates to economic depression; therefore, improving the economy should reduce the crime rate, in theory.
But why is this violence breaking out at important social events? This was the case with the Boston Marathon also. Are professional criminals specifically targeting these sacred holidays to intimidate people, or is this just another big coincidence?
These public traditions, such as the second line parades in New Orleans do a lot of good to uplift people (who may have good reason to be down), and thereby improve their conditions, in the long run. The violence on the street will have to be combatted, or else this culture will cease to exist; Katrina almost extinguished her, but it`s turning around now, ever so gradually.