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Scoot: Bourbon Street And The Real Problem No One Wants To Talk About

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Scoot: Bourbon Street And The Real Problem No One Wants To Talk About

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Scoot: Bourbon Street and the real problem no one wants to talk about by Scoot , posted Nov 28 2016 11:37AM

Scoot: Bourbon Street And The Real Problem No One Wants To Talk About

The shots fired on Bourbon Street early Sunday morning of Thanksgiving weekend were the first shots I’ve heard fired during an act of violence, but they were shots heard around the country.

The shooting on Bourbon Street late Saturday night/early Sunday morning quickly became a national news story.

Bourbon Street is one of the most popular streets in America and if you haven’t been on it – you’ve heard about it.  Bourbon Street is also known one of the country’s most popular party spots and the contrast of a shooting in an area known for fun and frivolity leads to creates a compelling headline.

Ten people were shot – one died.  The victims were described at eight men and two women between the ages of 20 – 37.

Sitting on my sofa in my downtown apartment about 1:30 am Sunday morning, I heard the barrage of gunfire that at first sounded like a pack of firecrackers going off, but I knew that it was gunfire.  I jumped up and went to my window and saw groups of people running down Carondelet away from Bourbon Street.

I knew I was safe in my apartment, but there was still something surreal about hearing the actual gunfire and then witnessing the aftermath.  People were running away from the French Quarter in apparent desperation, the sirens of police, fire and EMS vehicles drowned out my television and the number of flashing lights confirmed that something very serious had just occurred a few blocks from my apartment.

I was reminded that so many people in New Orleans, and around the country, live in neighborhoods where the sounds of gunfire are all too common., but to experience this for the first time is startling.

After I heard the shots, I went on the WWL Radio Facebook page and did a live broadcast of what I was seeing and hearing and also posted the video on my page, Scoot on the Air.  

Around midnight that evening, I was walking back to my apartment from parking my car and I sensed something unsettling about the crowd on the street that night.  I have always welcomed the Bayou Classic crowd to my neighborhood.  It’s crowded, but it’s fun.  I can’t really explain it, but I was unusually uncomfortable walking home that night and got a feeling that everyone was not in town to enjoy the game and the celebration.  Sadly, my fear was confirmed.

NOPD is reporting that two men got into an argument and then began shooting at each other, hitting innocent bystanders in the crowd.  This happened in the 100 block of Bourbon – the first block of Bourbon off Canal.

This is a block known for the gathering of groups.  There is less concentration of businesses and activity, but always a large number of people, many choosing to hang out in that block rather than venture down to where the action is on Bourbon Street.  I always found that curious.

The first block of Bourbon is not extremely well lit and there were high-powered spotlights further down Bourbon Street, but not in the first block.  There’s no way of knowing for sure if spotlights would have prevented the shooting, but it’s never a mistake to light up an area known as a spot away from the party area to congregate.

The shooting proves that more police officers on the street are not necessarily the answer to preventing crime.  Near the spot where the shooting occurred, NOPD had about 40 officers present.  This was the night of the big Bayou Classic between Southern University and Grambling State.  A large crowd was expected.  It seems obvious that the types of individuals who are prone to this kind of criminal activity don’t care if the police are nearby.  A police officer in another city was shot in front of the police station.  More cops are good, but more cops will not solve or prevent the problems we now have to deal with.

Following a high-profile shooting like the one Sunday morning on a packed Bourbon Street, people will tell you who or what is to blame and the excuses range from “there are too many guns on the streets” to “there are not enough jobs” to “there are not enough fathers raising the children that result from sex.”  All of these excuses – and they are excuses – fail to address the real problem.

According to NOPD, the shooting erupted when two men got into an argument.  Today, we hear countless stories of gun deaths or injuries resulting an argument where the only way to settle the argument was to pull out a gun – usually illegally obtained – and shoot someone.  That is the part of the problem that too few are willing to address.  Shootings often result from two people who have been conditioned to believe that they only way to settle an argument is with a gun.  That’s not a problem with the police or politicians – that’s a problem with society.

New Orleans businessman Sidney Torres suggested that it’s time to establish metal detector checkpoints at all entrances to a certain stretch of Bourbon Street.  That does not address the problem with individuals in our society, but it would make Bourbon Street safer for tourists and those of us who consider that part of their neighborhood.

There are constitutional issues to consider and there will be a strong protest from many gun activists.  There have also been stabbings on Bourbon Street so removing guns will not make the crown jewel of New Orleans completely safe, but the ease with which some people will use a gun to settle an argument should cut down on the crime and the criminal element that goes to the French Quarter because they have a gun to use to protect their rep or their illegal trade.

But whether there are checkpoints to enter Bourbon Street or not, the real problem is that our society has failed to set standards that do not allow individuals to instinctively think that a gun is the only answer to life.

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