Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bill Crawford: Where are the safe spaces?

Where is your safe place? Do you have one? Should you have one?

These questions popped up as I read a story in The Commercial Dispatch. While the story was about universities providing emotionally safe places for students, it made me wonder about safe places for people of all ages in our communities.

Once upon a time in Mississippi, local law enforcement could make whole communities feel like safe places. Growing up in Canton in the 50’s and 60’s, I felt safe at home, walking across town to elementary school, and riding my bike to the far end of town to work a night shift at the shirt factory. The only time I recall feeling unsafe was when one or more local bullies decided to whip my scrawny, well, you know.

Progressing to present time, we find local law enforcement in many communities overwhelmed and unable to provide such preventive security.

Perhaps nothing epitomizes the decline of safe places more than Walmart parking lots.

From a Bloomberg Businessweek story in August: “More than 200 violent crimes, including attempted kidnappings and multiple stabbings, shootings, and murders, have occurred at the nation’s 4,500 Walmarts this year, or about one a day.”



From a Mississippi TV station news story: “Police have filed charges against one person involved in a shooting incident that happened at the … Walmart midnight Tuesday. Four possible suspects in the shooting have been detained.”

As a result, more and more mothers, fearing for their safety, now scan Walmart parking lots and carry pepper spray or guns to head off attacks.

From a Mississippi “Community Watch” Facebook page: “White male tall skinny. Wearing work boots blue jeans and navy/black hooded jacket with it on his head. He approach (sic) me walking to my truck with (my baby) in my arms asleep. I already had my keys out. When I saw him when I walked out of Walmart he was close to the grocery side entrance walking across the parking lot. I had already spotted him as suspicious while walking out. By the time I got to my truck he was literally about 10 steps from me and my baby. When I pulled my gun out he turned away and walked on by.”

The Bloomberg story cited a senior police officer who can’t believe that a multi-billion dollar corporation isn’t doing more to stop crime. Instead, he said, it offloads the job to the police at taxpayers’ expense.

If wealthy Walmart can’t/won’t provide safe places for its shoppers, what are persistently robbed quick stops supposed to do? Or citizens facing drive-by shootings and home invasions?

Most communities are too financially strapped to beef up police presence enough to keep all shopping areas and neighborhoods safe places.

This is just one case where home rule would give communities options to address growing problems. Unfortunately, lawmakers in Jackson regularly spurn mayors’ requests for such flexibility.

As for safe places, in more and more communities you’re on your own.


Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (crawfolk@gmail.com)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bill Crawford must be white because there was not a black soul in Canton that felt safe around police officers in the 50's and 60's.

Anonymous said...

How would you know that?

Anonymous said...

Go look at the Citzens Council Archives like I have. The sheriffs department in Madison County was very active in intimidating white and black civil rights workers. The FBI basically had a field office in Canton it was so bad.

Educating The Ignorant.. said...

10:29: Maybe you could go take a look at the foot-patrol beat-cops in Chicago and Detroit in the 30s thru the 60s. They all carried a baton that was quite convincing. Had nothing to do with black vs white. It was a day of law and order rather than rights for the malcontents. If you pissed in the street, looted, threw rocks or held up a store-front, you got your ass busted, usually by a guy in a wool uniform carrying a stick. To YOU, that's intimidation. To most of us it is not.

Speaking of Canton, it was MLK who declared that white folk built the fence around the courthouse in order to keep black folk out. Actually the fence around most courthouses in the South was built to keep animals (cows, horses) off the property. How easily you air-heads are conditioned and duped!

Anonymous said...

Who the Helen Highwater is Crawford anyway and why is he quoted on this blog? As if this KameeKazee clown is enough of an unknown....

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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