On Friday night (June 23rd, 2006), four separate shootings in Anchorage kept an undermanned, overburdened Anchorage Police Department busy. Police were pursuing leads but had made no arrests by Saturday evening. And while police have not confirmed that the shootings were gang-related, they haven't ruled it out, either.
There were four reported incidents, the first in Fairview shortly after 8 p.m., the others all in East Anchorage over the next several hours (one of them caused the chain reaction you see in the photo above left). Only two men were injured, both during the Fairview shooting. They drove themselves to Alaska Regional Hospital and still aren't talking to cops, which irks Anchorage City Manager Dennis LeBlanc -- especially considering one of the men was shot in the head.
"I believe they're still in the hospital," LeBlanc said. "Typically, we won't arrest people in the hospital because then we take custody of them and then we're responsible for their medical bills. And we're certainly not going to ask the taxpayer to pay the medical bills for yahoos. So you wait 'til they're dismissed and then you arrest them."
Police and city officials have acknowledged an increasing rash of gang-related violence on Anchorage streets, including an escalation of drive-by type incidents involving gunfire. One of those injured in Friday's melee, 22-year-old Andrew Tauanu'u, is the older brother of a man who died in a gang shootout in March.
LeBlanc estimated at least 55 rounds were fired in Friday's assaults -- more than 40 at one shooting at the Totem Theatre on Muldoon Road. Near another shooting at Sixth Avenue and Boniface Parkway, police reported that one bullet tore through an apartment wall and landed 2 feet from a baby. Just as importantly, police response to Friday's incidents "completely drained all the police resources," LeBlanc said. "And that puts at risk other parts of the city." He could not recall a night when Anchorage saw so many shootings.
LeBlanc also discussed a number of corrective measures. Frist and foremost, he emphasized that angry and vengeful teens and young adults shouldn't have guns. But he also decried the weak efforts of courts. "Pull the rap sheets of known gang members, and you'll see if a case ... actually is brought to trial, they'll get a 180-day sentence, and 165 days will be suspended, and they'll be on probation two or three years," LeBlanc said. "There are no teeth in the law. We can't be slapping these kids on the wrist and suspending 95 percent of the sentence."
LeBlanc said police are tackling the problem, and the department has plans to add officers in time. But cops can only do so much, and the police department and the mayor can't do this by themselves. The general public must take a more active role in addressing this problem. In a separate interview on KTUU, LeBlanc gave specifics.
“Well I think we each need to ask ourselves, ‘What do we know that’s going on in our neighborhoods?’ These young youth, they’re in their late teens, early 20s, at least that’s what happened last night, they all have guns. Where are the parents? Where are the faith leaders? Where are their friends? These kids aren’t shooting paintballs at one another, they’re shooting 9 mm and 10 mm and 45 mm weapons that kill and I think that we have to take care of ourselves and then we have to turn and take care of our neighbors,” said LeBlanc.
When asked about a Saturday meeting of city leaders to discuss the gun violence here in Anchorage, LeBlanc responded further. “Well, obviously equally concerned, not only for themselves, but for their neighbors and they’re watchful. We have more officers on the street tonight, but frankly there simply aren’t enough police in this community, nor are there enough police in any community to get on top of this kind of violence. This is a community issue. The community simply needs to step up and take charge. We can’t allow these acts to continue without us getting involved. We’re mad, the mayor’s mad and I hope the rest of the community gets equally as mad and takes control because that’s what it’s going to take,” said LeBlanc.
When asked how the city intended to address policing, LeBlanc responded, “Well, we’ve had a number of investigations. Of course, as you know, early in the mayor’s administration he recognized that we were 93 officers short. We put together a five year strategic plan. We’ve got one academy that’s about to graduate and another starting up in August. We’re doing all we can to make the police department as productive and efficient as possible. We’ve stepped up our gang units. We’re doing a lot of intel and I think between September and March of this year, the gang unit itself confiscated a little over 60 weapons, so we’re beginning to make progress, but we really need the community to come forward."
LeBlanc identified this reluctance to come forward as a growing trend. "One of the problems with last night is that none of the witnesses are coming forward, none of the relatives. My gosh, I mean this is their flesh and blood. If they don’t come forward to help us identify who these people are, who the victims are and who the shooters are, we’ll never get control. So we need the community to step up. It’s truly as simple as that. We have to get the guns out of the hands of the kids,” said LeBlanc. While he recognizes that some may be scared to come forward out of fear of retailiation, at some point, they have to break that chain. "We have a tremendous community of faith leaders, concerned parents, of course the police. We’re gonna do everything we can to protect the citizens as they come forward, but they have to first take that step because it’s for themselves, it’s for their family and it’s for the broader community,” said LeBlanc.
Dennis LeBlanc also stated that in a series of upcoming meetings with various community leaders, he will stress the need for them to take greater charge and greater responsibility for their own communities and lives to promote a lasting grass-roots solution to this problem.
Analysis: The most efficient way to analyze this issue is topically:
Victims and witnesses frequently are reluctant to cooperate with police out of fear of gang retaliation. One answer is to substitute a greater fear of the system for the lesser fear of retaliation. Consequently, the Alaska State Legislature needs to develop a material witness law allowing police, after obtaining the appropriate judicial warrants, to detain uncooperative victims and witnesses as material witnesses, indefinitely if need be, until they cooperate.
The measures specified by Dennis LeBlanc will provide some long-term relief. However, by APDEA standards, the ideal number of cops for a city the size of Anchorage is 600. This means APD must intensify their recruiting efforts. When the city of Cleveland laid off a number of cops several years ago, APD gave eight of them the opportunity to join APD. Only one of them survived the tough APD screening process and entered an Academy class.
Cleveland laid off cops was because the city is losing population and tax base. Other eastern cities such as Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Detroit are also in the same predicament. APD ought to be targeting their police departments for recruitment.
To increase police effectiveness, sworn officers must be reserved and deployed strictly to deal with crimes against persons and property. Sworn officers should not be employed to write parking tickets or deal with other "housekeeping" tasks. During his campaign, former mayoral candidate Jack Frost proposed to resurrect a "police reserve". The idea of a police reserve to attend to housekeeping tasks and free sworn cops for actual crime-fighting would be a great interim solution to magnify the effectiveness of limited resources. Our growing military retiree community (and even ordinary veterans who did not serve long enough to retire) would serve as a natural recruitment base for a reserve force. Since military retirees already draw retirement pay and have some health insurance through Tricare, we would not have to shell out the high salaries and corpulent benefit packages given to other public employees. Police reserves could even relieve sworn officers of many of the administrative burdens of alcohol and tobacco enforcement by being empowered to cite businesses improperly selling these commodities.
Dennis LeBlanc already addressed one inadequacy in our justice system - too much leniency. However, this is driven in part by inadequate resources. The Alaska State Legislature needs to fund for more prosecutors so we can dispense justice more quickly and efficiently.
According to an article published in the Anchorage Daily News on June 18th, the majority of gang members are non-white. Much of the motivation is tribalism. Because they are minority non-whites in a predominantly white society, they naturally identify with each other more closely to reinforce a psychological need for group protection. Unchecked, it leads to an attitude within the community that "we handle our problems only within the community", in which case the police become outsiders not to be trusted. When gangs form within these communities, they not only promote these insular values, but enforce them physically. Thus, a community member who cooperates with the police against another community member is a rat and a snitch who must be "taken out".
The original intent and purpose of multiculturalism was sensible. It was designed to help us identify overcome destructive stereotypes. It was intended to promote greater respect between disparate cultures. Unfortunately, a bunch of dewy-eyed sensitivity cheerleaders fresh out of any of our typical Marxist secular universities and pumped full of idealistic laboratory notions about human relations from sterile, antiseptic think tanks where they can't even spell the word "ghetto" never mind know what a ghetto is, hijacked the process and taught us that all cultures are equally valid. This is simply not so, since not all cultures have equal impact. Some cultures clearly are more destructive than others. The predominant culture of America, devised by the white majority, benefits all who subscribe to it, regardless of race. In addition, sensitivity training became problem-centered rather than solution-centered. Like every other religion, it needed a "devil". And guess who's the official "devil" of mutliculturalism? Why, it's "Whitey", of course!
By blaming "Whitey" for all the sins of the universe and failing to differentiate between cultures and expose the destructive aspects of each culture, we not only promote cultural Balkanization, but ethical and moral Balkanization as well. For example, in a book entitled "Corners", a study of a year in the lives of a number of black Baltimore ghetto residents, what mainstream society calls a "crime", Baltimore ghetto residents call a "caper". Consider the racially disparate reaction to the O.J. verdict. Black America cheered, while white America sulked and gritted its teeth (except for the white nationalist community and a handful of courageous conservatives who rightfully denounced the black reaction). What white America calls "immigration reform", Latino America calls "racism". We cannot have different definitions for the same concepts and survive as a coherent nation. As a matter of fact, in an article posted on his Save The Males website, entitled "The Truth About Diversity", Dr. Henry Makow spells out the long-term objective of this diversity brasinwashing. He states,
"'Diversity' is a massive long-term mind control program posing as 'equal rights' designed ultimately to disinherit nations of European and Christian origin. While it pretends to advocate equality , its real goal is to use guilt to trick heterosexual White males into yielding position and power to women and minorities. The object is to prepare North America and Europe for inclusion in a 'world government' run by the central banking cartel based in London." Whether a world government will come into existence or be operated out of London is yet to be seen. However, his assessment of diversity appears on target. To prevent this development, diversity cannot be allowed to become an end unto itself, but simply a means to an end, a greater, more flexible unity.
Conclusions: The solutions to this gang problem are manifold. To get witnesses to cooperate, we not only must instill in them a greater fear of the system than of the gangbangers, but we must visibly show we can protect them against gang retaliation. This means more cops to show the flag and respond to crimes, more prosecutors to vigorously try these cases, and judges who look upon gang activities as serious crimes rather than youthful "capers". Above all, we must have a change in attitudes within gang-infested neighborhoods. Community leaders must embrace and exemplify proven mainstream cultural values and vigorously promote such values.
Tags: politics , crime , brrreeeport , police , justice