Don’t politicize

Everybody’s got an agenda. The cops, the city administration, the County DA’s office, political aspirants, sideline observers, and various organizations all have a role to play in the problem of violence on our streets.

As bad as it seems to be, it really isn’t that bad.

Let’s take a step back and review the facts:

Three shootings the week of September 22. Other shootings this year might make 2013 the worst ever for the city, but only a handful of people are involved.

But from the comments that I’ve read, I believe that there are larger issues at work. First of all, there’s the money problem. Thousands of dollars have suddenly been allocated to address violent crime. I’ve been told that neighborhood watch groups have been inactive and non-functioning for several months.

The city is using the shootings to ramp up the police department by hiring 2 new police officers. Meanwhile, other departments have laid off workers. Cameras won’t stop crime. They might help the cops catch a criminal after the fact. But what cameras really do is allow the government to spy on its citizens. And the cameras will be placed in predominantly black and poor areas of the city.

The African-American community is 13 percent of Williamsport’s population. And is likely to continue to grow.

So while there are a few individuals shooting up the town like in a wild west movie, their numbers are small. But the city wants to impose restrictions on all renters and landlords. Meanwhile, no one wants to talk about the connection between the gas boom and higher crime rates.

As in the case of the basketball hoops being taken down in Memorial Park earlier this year, the city prefers to use a huge sledgehammer when a scalpel is needed. Such heavy handedness is designed to appease the political right. I would advise the city to root out the criminals and their supporters but don’t penalize everybody.

Almost every county has a drug problem. Visit the Pennsylvania General Attorney’s website and view the photos of those that have been arrested. You’ll find all kinds of people involved in the drug trade.

I know its asking a lot in a political campaign cycle but let’s not politicize the problem and let’s view it in the context of a problem for the entire commonwealth.

Richard James


Submitted by Virtual Newsroom