60 Comment

  • Wow, this is incredible. I was just walking home and saw Jim Graham giving a report outside of Eatonville on 17th and V. We made eye contact and he looked disturbed, I guess this explains why…

    I’m curious to know how this plays out. As a recent DC transplant (in the district 11 months now), I don’t know much about Jim Graham but have seen lots of criticism in recent days, particularly on the PoP message boards.

  • This is fantastic.

  • And he was there as part of the summer intern program. More reason than ever to dissolve the whole mess.

  • Wow, I’m speechless. At least the shooter is off the street now. Bizarre!

  • crazy.
    would ya’ll have the stones to call a shooter and say i’ll pick you up and drive to the station?

    hahaha. not sure i would.

  • wow. Thats really f’ed up. How easy is it for kids to get a job with the summer intern project.

  • The point of the jobs program is to show at risk kids that there are other options. Kudos to Jim Graham for sponsoring the bill that created the program, hiring kids from the program, and proactively getting involved to get this guy to turn himself in.

  • unfuckingbelievable.

  • Is it just impossible to keep guns of the streets? If a gun hadn’t been involved, a guy would have got slapped and we’d be commenting on bars and real estate. Do we need a PSA on only shooting when someone deserves it? Geez!

  • This is way too good to be true.

  • Graham has a lot of questions to answer. When Black went missing for 2 days what did his office do? Where does Black live? I want to know if he lives in NW and in CHV.

  • In all fairness to Graham, this summer intern had just started work and barely knew him. It’s just a nasty coincidence that he happened to be assigned to Graham’s office. I’m a DCPS teacher and encouraged 2 of the older kids in my school (my school goes up to 7th grade) to go on line and apply for the program. They did. One who just turned 14 got a job as an aide in a daycare and seemed so excited that he’d be making money and working. He even likes little kids. I told him to read them stories and never yell at them. The girl applied online and I hadn’t heard where she got placed. Neither one of these kids is bad nor have computers at home. Without this kind of program, the guy would be on his scateboard all summer and hanging out and the girl going to the mall. Sure the program needs improvement but not to be scrapped.

  • the good news just doesn’t stop…..when i looked at the online washpost’s LOCAL news, the story that a bigger, higher headline was the news that DC “government” (that’s what they called it) just EXPANDED THE LIST OF HANDGUNS that DC residents can own. this was done to AVOID A LAWSUIT over DC residents’ lack of access to their FULL 2nd amendment rights.

    but…let’s recall who sponsored last year’s bill in congress overturning the DC handgun ban? Senator ENSIGN, R-NV, that great champion of morality and confessed adulterer. Check it out.


    i dunno….i love Petworth…we don’t have to bulldoze any projects. we just need to ban any DC Council Members’ interns from setting foot up here.

  • “story WITH a bigger, higher…” etc. sorry

  • Too bad this kid seems to want to live a thug life, or thinks he has to.

    Kudos to Grahmstander for having this, and other, at risk kids in his office to show that there is another lifestyle that exists.

  • Seems like Graham is on the right side of things. Advocating programs to get kids off the streets and investing his own office in making it work. Just shows this is exactly the kids who need this kind of program. Graham seems to always be there and advocating for the neighborhood, I think he did well here as well.

  • Graham did a good job but the last line of his e-mail “he did the right thing, ultimately,” is a little Panglossian. “Ultimately” is a little fucking late for the bystander who got capped — out front of the Metro that my daughter takes to and from school every day.

  • While some of the kids do get randomly placed through the program, others do not. Kids working in the council office would have had to go through an interview process with at least a member of the Council’s staff before getting the internship there….

    Jim Graham is no braver and no more of an advocate for youth in this city than any other person who works (for a lot less than $120,000 per year I might add) with kids in this city.

    On one hand I feel bad for him that he was personally involved and on the other hand, I really hope this humbles him just a little bit.

  • Wow, what irony. Sounds like a plot from The Wire. You couldn’t make this up.

  • Yes, every one who works with kids in DC does brave work every day. However, it is notable when the elected leadership of DC does the right thing and sets an example for us all by intervening in the life of a kid and telling him he needs to turn himself in. If everyone in DC cared enough to not only engage youth but also hold youth accountable, we’d go a long ways.

    This example is what the city needs – not more grandstanding from the Council about civil liberties and gun control.

    Kudos to Graham.

  • I don’t always agree with CM Graham but it is apparent that he makes an effort to engage the young people in his community. When my daughter was working with a basketball coach at the CH Rec Center, we saw him there quite a bit.

  • I’ve never understood all the hate on local blogs for CM Graham, anyway. Keeping in mind he has to balance the wants of the most diverse ward in the city, he seems to do a reasonable job. Even his maligned club closures have (IMHO) improved the safety of U Street (especially the eastern end). Of course, the Jumbo Slice thing was fairly silly, but if that’s the worst that can be said about the guy, I feel pretty lucky.

    Now, if anyone wants to trade Councilmembers, feel free to grab Harry Thomas Jr. Thanks to his idiotic opposition to Fenty, we are deprived of any Great Streets funding. And they guy barely seems competent to introduce legislation.

  • Black had prior arrests for gun charges. If that is not enough evidence that this city and Graham do not fully understand the serious problem this city has with youths carrying illegal guns throughout the city I don’t know what is. Graham and the other council members are not programmed to think that these punks are actually ruining everything for the kids that could be helped. Graham is great if you have a problem with sanitation enforcement but he will never understand that the illegal gun issue is out of control with black youth in DC.

  • InPetworth – Do you know any more to tell us about how the jobs are assigned to kids in this program? It sounds from your posting like a 14 year old boy was just arbitrarily assigned to work in a daycare, which in this case, since “He even likes little kids. . .” turned out well. But please tell us there is more to the fitting/screening process?

  • The program works in different ways. Yes, some kids are just randomly assigned to work places. Other kids who are already in established after school programs get assigned to jobs through that program (and they paid through the summer jobs program). And then there are kids like the intern in Jim’s office and others who do things like lifeguarding for DPR. They are paid through the summer jobs program but go through a different interview/training process.

  • Being 19 is such a dangerous time. You are old enough physically to feel all the fears of an adult, but not old enough emotionally to know you aren’t alone in them. We all make decisions at that age, thinking that we have been very rational only to realize that our fears and emotions could have been managed if we had some emotionally mature trustworthy and non judgmental person we could confide in. I think this incident proves that these kids really are on the edge of disaster but they see it coming and are trying to change. It takes a lot of courage and a lot of ignoring your ego to leave your neighborhood/comfort zone and apply for job in some office where things are so different. I have two DCPS kids interning for me. I needed contacts with non-parent grown ups when I was that age, too! This summer jobs program is a brilliant idea and deserves our funds.

  • wow, MelanieAnn just arrived from Iowa.

  • Ban on private ownership of guns for other than hunting and sports (the latter can be held at the clubs) now! It works in other countries, it will work in the US. Of course there has to be transition steps to it.

  • I have critied Jim Graham in the pas, however he did the right thing in this incident. I have my issues with Jim, but ovrall he is an excellen council member, but he needs move over so we can get some new blood. He should focus on Metro.

  • If Graham and his office couldn’t identify this “gang member” working in his office, then how does he expect the police to do so with the proposed legislation?

    My money is that this guy is no gang member. Just a thug that likely lives in CHV that runs with other thugs from CHV and the surrounding neighborhood.

  • CM Graham spoke at my City Year graduation last night. He spoke very openly about this event in his address, saying that he had just come from helping the young man turn himself in. He seemed to be upset about this and acknoweged the deep social issues that this event represents.

    I have had a few incounters with CM Graham through my involvement with City Year and he seems to be genuienly committed to making positive changes for the district’s youth.

  • There is a write-up about this on the City Paper blog and Jim is interviewed. He said he is not certain of the young man’s guilt…which I have no issue with at all. But let’s just hope that since Jim is being quick not to point fingers as his former intern, that the next time there is a shooting (and sadly, we know there will be) that Jim isn’t so quick to point fingers at others without getting more of the facts.

  • GforGood,

    Okay, I’ll bite. Switzerland requires citizens to keep guns in their homes as part of fulfilling their militia service. There are approximately 500,000 fully automatic assault rifles in private homes, not to mention sidearms, shotguns, hunting rifles, etc. Switzerland also has one of the lowest homicide rates in the world. Your community college liberalism does not impress me.

  • However ‘committed’ Graham is to making positive changes for the District’s youth, this incident is an absolutely clear cut example that his approach is a complete and utter failure.

    It’s being reported that this guy had juvenile gun charges – he should have been jailed from the time of his first gun charge until age 21. This shooting is a direct result of the city’s failure to take juvenile crime seriously. DYRS needs to be immediately dismantled, and just as the federal gov’t took over DC’s prison system when Lorton proved to be a failure, the fed needs to take over juvenile criminal processing & incarceration.

    This guy shot someone six times. He clearly tried to execute his victim in broad daylight with no regard for the safety of anyone around him. This kind of person can be turned around by a summer internship? Bu((sh1t. How many other violent youth offenders are working in gov’t jobs? Handling gov’t documents with access to city staff and resident information? Are private companies that participate in the summer jobs program aware that they may have criminals like this in their workplace? I’m sure there’s no criminal screening or disclosure of criminal records to these companies when they take in these kids.

    The program needs to be dissolved, DYRS needs to be taken over by the federal gov’t, and we need a new version of all-hands-on-deck. All shift officers should be in their patrol cars and on bikes as usual, but all supplemental AHOD offices should be on foot with patrol rifles or shotguns. Have these officers walk foot beats in all the hotspots. We need a serious visible armed presence. This is the only type of policing that will deter the violence.

  • Just reading the City Paper thing … and amazing. The suspect is 19yo, has a son of his own already, and even in the summer jobs program giveaway still managed to miss a day on his first week of work.

    Graham’s quotes also are pretty indicative. When do we start to face reality? I’m all for second chances, but the mindset that suggests you’re entitled to the third, fourth, and fifth chance, or beyond? That there are no background checks for positions in the city government, or working in a daycare? At some point we have to incentivize doing the right thing and visit consequences on doing the wrong, to inculcate these young with the idea that opportunity is more often earned than gifted. That’s why DC is where it is. Unlimited do-overs in this town.

    Graham isn

  • ah, the continuing canard that Switzerland is a universally armed, yet peaceful utopia with no gun violence to speak of.

    Switzerland has a population of 7.5 million–smaller than New York City (8.4 million). There were 292 people were shot to death in New York in 2008, down from 347 in 2007. In Switzerland, there were an average of 300 gun-related deaths per year since 1994 (a figure cited by, among others, the NRA, which argues this figure is evidence that Switzerland’s massive gun ownership has not reflected high rates of violence). so per capita, NYC and Switzerland have the same gun-related death rates…interesting.

    see, among others


  • Anon @ 1:54: Your facts are wrong. Swiss militia members are required to have guns, not ordinary citizens. Otherwise, Switzerland has intensely strict gun control laws.

    You’re not helping your cause by citing to unresearched urban legends.

  • GforGood – Black used an illegal unlicensed gun… which, theoretically are already banned. Clearly, the issues surrounding this gun incident (and many others in this city) have nothing to do with law abiding citizens owning guns. Get your head out of your hummus!

  • @animal mother

    You are only partially right. All Swiss males are required to undergo military training at age 20 and usually have the a military issued rifle in their home until age 30. After age 30, they have the option to turn the rifle in or keep it in their home.

    In theory, only males with military training have the gun, but all males are required to undergo this training, so the vast majority of Swiss men have the firearm in their home.

    Also I’m pretty sure that there are already gun laws in the District that in theory say it isn’t kosher for a person with prior gun convictions to carry an unlicensed weapon. That sounds pretty fair to me, but what further gun law is going to prevent this from happening? That’s right, there isn’t one. Criminals in the District are going to find a way to get a weapon regardless of any new weapons regulations put in place. What are needed are common sense gun regulations that allow law abiding citizens to defend themselves against these criminals, because the DC government and the DC police are incapable of doing so.

    I don’t blame Jim Graham for this situation, but wow he was pretty crazy to offer to pick that kid up and drive him to the police station.

    The summer job program needs to be scrapped.

    @ InPetworth

    “Without this kind of program, the guy would be on his scateboard all summer and hanging out and the girl going to the mall.”

    Or, the guy could get off of his arse and find a job on his own, like every other kid in America who doesn’t live in the bizarre DC welfare state.

  • @Audios Amigos:

    “Or, the guy could get off of his arse and find a job on his own, like every other kid in America who doesn

  • When you optimize systems, you first focus your efforts on solutions that will provide 10x efficiency increases, rather than wasting your time chasing down 1 or 2% efficiency tweaks.

    The “Summer Jobs” program for adolescents: too little, too late. I can’t imagine we get much return from this program — some perhaps, but hardly enough to justify all the public discourse and energy we’re wasting on it.

    “Gun bans” in all their forms: absolutely zero evidence that this makes any significant difference at all. Which makes it a lot of “fun” to debate in an emotional manner, but again, very little return on our investment. If criminality pervades your society, guns will follow regardless.

    “More money for schools”: oh, I wish this worked, but DC spends has the biggest per-child education budget of any ‘state’, and has nothing to show for it. If the kids are showing up disruptive and they know their parent(s) don’t care a whit about what they do in school, you’re not going to get educated kids at any price.

    So, what do we KNOW works?

    How about, eliminating teen-age mothers, so kids don’t start off life at a *huge* disadvantage. The US has eight times the rate of teen pregnancy as our peer nations in Europe, and most of those kids are headed straight into the underclass. For the same price as the phoney-baloney “Summer Jobs” program, we could have an advertising blitz stigmatizing teen-age pregnancy, mandatory pre-puberty sex education, and free availability of birth control and abortions.

    If you’re going to go after the problem, go for the MOST EFFICIENT solutions first. Otherwise, you’re just frittering away your time and energy.

  • @StubsDC, in that case, may be we should also dissolve wall street and congress.

  • Anonymous Says:

    June 20th, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Get off Jim Graham’s back, he is an excellent public servant. He is not perfect, but he is much beter than former council man smith and he has the committment of Marion Barry less the crack pipe. I respect Jim because he is comitted to diversity and he is not ashamed to wear funny glasses and bow ties. Keep up the good work JIM

  • animal mother,

    Read more carefully. I said, “Switzerland requires citizens to keep guns in their homes as part of fulfilling their militia service.” I guess I should have said “requires MALE citizens,” but that doesn’t really affect the point I was making (unless you believe women are incapable of safely handling guns, which is ridiculous). Gun control laws can be reasonable. I don’t have a big issue with mandatory gun registration, etc. But when gun registration is banned because gun ownership is prohibited, that’s just stupid. Feel-good gun laws (at least that feel good to knee-jerk community college liberals) that prevent law-abiding citizens from owning firearms are more dangerous than guns themselves.

  • Anon when are you scheduled to return to Swazyland. the king is allowed to marry several women. Leave Gim Graham alone. He is a good city council member.

  • Wait, do the DC city councilmembers only make $120,000 per year. That is NOTHING in this town. I don’t have to say what I make, but you can guess by my reaction.

  • oh my gosh Nate when are you going to understand how the proposed civil gang injunctions actually work? We’ve been through it on here about a dozen times over the past few days:

    The police are not the ones in charge of determining who’s a gang member; city prosecutors have to request and obtain a court order from a judge. People found to be violating the court orders (for example, by interacting with people they’ve been told to stay away from) can then be arrested–then there will be a hearing to figure out what kind of penalty is appropriate (and considering how little punishment convicted people in this city get, it’s not likely to be much).

    A good analogy would be orders of protection in domestic violence cases: cops don’t just drive down the street, pick up some guy and say “hey you look like you beat your girlfriend” and get to stick them in jail forever; it’s just a tool that allows courts to keep people from doing risky things (interacting with specific people, coming to very specific locations) and punish them for violations.

  • Wait, do the DC city councilmembers only make $120,000 per year. That is NOTHING in this town. I don

  • Re: D.C. Council’s salary….hmmmm, I know this has been talked about before but:

    Los Angeles: 3.8 million people/Council Salary: $171,648
    D.C.: 591,000 people/ Council salary: $120,000
    New York City: 8.3 million people/Council Salary: $112,500
    Chicago: 3 million people/Alderman salary: $110,556

    Trust me, they get paid well enough…and just think about all that money they save in parking tickets too….

  • even i–a little old grandma from north dakota–had to have a background check for my last job. if not requiring background checks, they sure as heck could require people who get jobs in city programs to turn in their freaking guns! what a crock. yes, jim graham sounds like a wonderful man, very compassionate. but he’s not sure the shooter is GUILTY? what moon did he descend from?

  • @ animal mother, I don’t object to a summer jobs program per se, but I object to a remarkably poorly run/inefficient one that at its best is glorified babysitting and at its worst is a naked wealth transfer to teens that doesn’t create added value for the taxpayers who fund it. I’d much rather have these kids get paid home economics (incl. parenting skills) + vocational training (carpentry, data entry, etc.) in the afternoons and spend their mornings picking up trash/removing graffiti in the areas where they live (a summer-long Hands On DC, anybody?). Teach them some basic work skills, get them adult supervision, and hopefully spur in them some sense of investment in the communities where they live, not this joke of a program with intermittent oversight, no background checks, and putting kids in do-nothing jobs. Maybe save some good office jobs for the best students, the ones who performed well in the previous summer’s jobs programs, or ones who agree to take — and then pass — a background check. Reward the ones who get it and meet expectations. Cut off the ones who don’t. Start everybody out in the same grunt work. It works for the Marines and is kind of like the real world, you know? Run well, it could be great for a kid who starts at 14 and then graduates at 18 — progressively more responsibility, more relevant training, etc..

  • Anon 4:53 – real brave stand there – hiding in your anonymity and making ridiculous leaps.

    I don’t see where years and years of DC handing out money and jobs to “underprivileged” brats has done us any good. Since when did just being handed something you didn’t work for make a difference to anyone? This program doesn’t even require the kids to show up consistently and yet they still get paid.

    Did you guys here the quote on the news when Graham asked some kid how to stop this kind of violence and the kid said “give them money.” Are you kidding me?

    Maybe I’m unusual, but I grew up on free lunch, with a mom raising four kids on $13k a year and a deadbeat dad that couldn’t be bothered to show up even when he said he was taking us for a weekend. Oh, and when he did, he usually beat at least one of us to a bloody pulp. I didn’t sit on my ass thinking that was the best way out of the situation. Grow up, people, and stop your bellyaching. No one is going to improve your life but you.

  • summer jobs program would be great if 90% of pay was put into an educational trust fund.

  • The summer intern program? Let’s just hope they don’t keep paying him while he’s in jail. Wouldn’t that be fantastic… 2 days of work, off to jail and you still get a pay check!

  • I grew up middle class in a wealthy neighborhood. I learned from an early age how wealthy people act, what they spend money on and what they do. My best friends were from Jewish families where education and education alone was considered all that was worth fighting for in life. One other guy in our click was Chinese and was so pressured by his father that, by age 35, he and all his siblings were medical doctors.

    I got harassed by the cops once as a kid and the judge basically told me I did. I got a second chance. Then I screwed up for real but the only victim was myself. That time the juvenile justice system came down on me hard. I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and to this day have kept my nose clean and my behavior moral. I understand the concept of second chances well. But you know what? If I had been really shown the error of my ways the first time, if they shame had come down on my hard, if the judge hadn’t told me that the cops were out of line, if I had to seriously work hard to… well I had nothing to fix in that first case, but you can see where I’m coming from… then I might have realized the severity of NOT SCREWING UP AGAIN.

    I am a student of American culture. I read De Tocqueville. This kid believes in a criminal culture. Kids listen to music that is unabashedly criminal. They wear ugly clothes which are based on prison uniforms (the baggy pants represent being in lockup without one’s belt). They assault women and gays physically and verbally because of perceived weakness in their sicko worldview. And it’s cultural. It’s ingrained in the families and in the friendships and in the community groups.

    A friend used to volunteer with the Latin American Youth Center before she got sick of the institutional homophobia and sexism. Another friend volunteered at a homeless shelter and said that the ex-cons working at community centers were still committing minor crimes and infecting the children with their criminal attitudes. KRS-One used to have this mentally disturbed worldview he called “Criminally-minded” which many tired old men still trot out- that African-American youth must still act like they commit crimes and must still embrace anti-social-personality-disorder because some old farts think Tupac is still cool.

    Shut down the community centers. Shut down the summer youth jobs program. Shut down the gang-themed schools.

    Built skateboard ramps. Build community websites run by the kids. Train the kids to become tailors. Train the kids to be chefs. Train the kids to fix bikes. Train the kids to pass MSCE Exams.

    KILL HIP HOP CULTURE before it kills you.

  • The most telling fact in all of this is that this man had been charged with a gun crime before and nothing serious was done about it.

    I’ve been saying for months now that discussions about everything from the gun ban to more after-school programs are pointless whenever there is a shooting. What is the common denominator here?

    Is it really that hard to see?

    People who continually carry guns until finally they get pissed and settle a beef with them. We know what the problem is, we just refuse to make people like Mendelson responsible for their decisions that make us less safe.

    People wring their hands and say “oh what can we do, oh what can we do?!?” and then there is the requisite torrent of bullshit from “they only need a role model” to “sterilize them all”. From the absurd to the truly scary. All of it, every boneheaded “solution” is totally unworkable, unreasonable, and amounts to nothing but a circle jerk. All the while cities like New York, whose crime problem in 1991 (200 murders, anyone?) dwarfed our own, and where now the possession of a loaded firearm gets you 3 years. Period.

    You have one question to ask yourself: are you serious enough about your own life, and the lives of your fellow citizens to DEMAND real penalties for dangerous acts, or are you too worried about hurting the feelings of gun-carrying thugs?

    This isn’t rocket science people. You get caught with a gun, you go to jail. Period. Don’t tell me it doesn’t work, don’t tell me it isn’t fair. Go tell that boy that was caught in the crossfire at the Metro that locking this kid up wouldn’t have worked. Go tell that boy, when he wakes up screaming from another nightmare, that it “isn’t fair” to punish people with serious sentences for carrying guns illegally.

    Wake the fuck up, people.

  • The Washington Post reports “there are nearly 100 crews and gangs throughout the city involving nearly 2,500 youths”

    Although juveniles have made up 6.6 percent of arrests in the District over the past five years, they have been arrested for violent crimes at nearly twice that rate (12 percent) during the same period.

    “He joined for friendship, juvenile mischief and, later, protection against rivals from other neighborhoods. Partying and ditching school gave way to fights and eventually violence that led to gunplay and deaths.”

    Wow, is this really the place I should raise a family? Seems like a big mistake, can’t hardly fathom my little girl getting “jumped”!!! Argh

  • That’s “2000” murders in NYC, not “200”. Since then a violent crime rate plunge of over 75%. They didn’t get there with a summer jobs program. While DC is not seeing the awful numbers it had in the early 1990’s either, we still have this residual gun culture that has to be broken.

    Clearly the gun ban is futile without consequences for carrying a loaded weapon. Some would argue that there is no deterrence in a mandatory sentence for a loaded weapon. I think that’s wrong, but let’s assume the law won’t deter a single person – even in that case we wouldn’t be discussing this shooting right now and two people wouldn’t have been shot in broad daylight because this gun criminal would have been behind bars where he belonged after carrying a loaded weapon the first (second? third? fourth?) time instead of collecting your tax dollars for his summer “job”.

    It’s like a bad joke… but it’s only this twerp, and the other gun criminals on our streets that are laughing… at all of us.

    When will the excuses for criminals stop? When will you people wake up and expect the bare minimum of civility from certain people? Does your child or spouse have to be caught in the crossfire before you will take gun crime seriously and DEMAND that the city impose real consequences for the criminals who LAUGH IN YOUR FACE?

  • The last comment here was so long ago. What ever happened to this gangsta? Is he walking around with another gun looking to shoot some other people that annoy him?

    I google his name. It is amazing that there is no follow- up on what is a fairly serious crime. Did Jim Grahan manage to get it swept under the carpet?


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