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If we’re declaring a gun violence emergency, don’t just flood Black neighborhoods with cops

With gun violence in Philadelphia out of control, politicians and members of the media are calling on the mayor to declare a state of emergency.

So far, the mayor has refused to do it, and unless we’re talking about something other than flooding our neighborhoods with cops, I think he’s right, and here’s why.

Declaring a state of emergency traditionally means bringing busloads of cops, imposing curfews, and stopping any and everybody.

So, do we really want the same stop and frisk we been protesting against for the umpteen years? Do we want more of the same cops who shot Brandon Tate Brown in the head? Who shot David Jones in the back? Who shot Walter Wallace in a mental health crisis? Who went on Facebook to say they hate us?

Yeah, miss me with that.

Because while some cops would come and do their jobs honorably, many are still angry that Black folks protested, and those cops would make things worse. Remember what happened last time black people asked for more cops. We got the crime bill, mass incarceration, and a generation whose fathers are dead or in jail. That’s what got us here.

So, while declaring a state of emergency might sound good, we probably would do better with a more targeted approach. If we know who the shooters are, charge them with something, hold them for trial, then deal with the rest of the guys who are carrying guns because they’re scared.

Bring jobs to Philadelphia’s poorest communities. Teach these guys trades and pay them for it. Give them an alternative other than the streets. Give them a reason to live. Because we’re in a state of emergency whether you declare it or not. The question is what will you do about it.
Photo: Crime Scene Tape By. Brandon Anderson

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