Our Intern in Columbia Heights, Karen, Attends Homicide Elimination Meeting

Karen’s report follows:

This weekend I attended a community forum at the Columbia Heights community center to work with the many dedicated and honorable members of the Comprehensive Homicide Elimination Strategy Taskforce (CHEST) on ideas to eliminate (not simply reduce!) murder in the District. CHEST has been gathering information and ideas from the community since December of 2006 and will report to Mayor Fenty this summer with the recommendations they formulate from meetings such as the one I attended.

The meeting lasted about four hours and was mostly spent in roundtable discussion, mulling over ideas that mostly involved addressing social needs, such as improving community ties, the District

12 Comment

  • I live on Randolph Street in the apartments directly behind the Wendy’s. I came home to see the guy shot this week. His clothing was still in the middle of the street when I got home around 530. The first thought that came to my mind is that if this guy had been coming home from work like me, he would not be in the shape he was in.

    Now people may pillory me for saying that, but you can not deny it being true. And until people are willing to face the music honestly, we will be having these meetings until the end of time.

    Drug dealing, by virtue of it being illegal, has caused a lot of mayhem in our community. So has percieved slights over women, sneakers, coats, etc. Meetings are not going to stop this. Putting job centers in the community is not going to stop this.

    Quite frankly, there is an underclass of people that would rather take the occupational hazard of selling drugs than working at CVS. Part of this is due to laziness. Another part is due to inability to calculate risk vs. reward. Another part is culture. I doubt that you can change a lazy person into a motivated hardworker. And I am confident the government can not change the culture of a group of people.

  • Nate, I cannot begin to fully appreciate that experience as I haven’t had to go through that. Nor do I wish to discount it. However, these meetings — as useless as they may be — give people a sense of control over their environment. That sense of control (real or perceived) might be just enough to keep people motivated in neighborly and productive activities which DO contribute to the over quality of life.

  • Nate, I agree that there are some people who don’t want to change. Drug dealing is a shortcut to more cash more quickly. But there are certainly people motivated people among the poor as well who benefit from job center. So let’s not paint our strokes too broad.

  • Nate, what makes you certain he is/was a dealer?

  • I think having a forum with the goal to eliminate homicide has got to be the worst use of public funds since “faith-based initiatives”. It is useless utopian mental masturbation.

    I think some of the better ways to reduce homicide here in DC involve improving education, getting something which resembles a middle-class coming back to DC, and rehabilitation-based justice for non-violent crimes.

  • Am I the only one who thinks CHEST is an unfortunate acronym for a homicide forum? As in, he took two rounds in the CHEST?

  • Oh yeah, and stupid idea. The only way to get rid of crime is to get rid of all the people.

  • Nate-what is the correlation between coming home from work and not being touched by crime?

  • I think having a forum with the goal to eliminate homicide has got to be the worst use of public funds since

  • block party! I’d so help with that.

    I think society, in general, doesn’t have the community connections that we once did. anything that builds that and allows us to build human connections I think would help.

  • reuben,
    It was 530 in the afternoon. A grown man should be winding down from a day of work. Not gallivanting in the street playing drug dealer, thug, or worst doing nothing.

  • Agreed-Nate. Agreed.

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