CPD draws ‘line in the sand’ on uptick in gun violence. That’s the headline at cininnnati.com, evoking President Obama’s equally dubious “line in the sand” rhetoric re: Syrian chemical weapons. School’s out in the Queen City and the temperature’s warming-up. Apparently the end of bad education and the start of good weather are harbingers of gang activity, which leads to flying lead (e.g., a quadruple shooting in East Price Hill). The Cincinnati PD’s did what any modern police force would do in the circumstances: they held a press conference . . .
“We’ve drawn a line in the sand with this uptick in violence,” Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said.
Blackwell, Assistant Chief James Whalen and District 3 Capt. Dan Gerard met with media at District 3 headquarters in East Price Hill Friday afternoon to discuss where they’ll be redoubling efforts to stop gun violence in the near future.
“We firmly believe that this is going to make a sizable impact in some of the violence we’ve seen,” Gerard said. “We had to come and we had to show that we mean business. Today, you’ve seen evidence of that.”
Exhibit A: The CPD arrested 13 members of the “Baltimore-McHenry gang.” They charged the perps with drug and gun offenses. The top cops didn’t detail the exact breakdown between the two types of charges. But the following quote leads me to believe drug charges were the order of the day, by a large margin.
A marijuana growing facility, four guns, heroin, crack, cocaine and more than $5,000 were recovered by police Friday morning, Gerard said . . .
Whalen said the drug charges against the suspects are a legitimate tool police are using to curb gun violence.
“Drug sales is the way some of these activities are funded. It’s also a very easy way for us to work our way in and develop criminal charges,” Whalen said. “Drug cases for the sake of drug cases, quite frankly, don’t do us much good.” Instead, drug cases against gang members achieve “the purpose to get to the great problem.”
Let me see if I’ve got this straight.
Drug sales fund gang bangers predilection for shooting each other and, laterally, innocent, civilians (the activity of which Assistant Chief James Whalen speaks). If the cops cut the illegal drug trade – good luck with that without tackling demand – the Baltimore-McHenry gang and its ilk won’t be able to afford to shoot rival gangs or undisciplined members. Yeah. No.
That said, by all accounts, the CPD are doing an excellent job curtailing or at least containing gang violence and the causes of gang violence. They have a gang unit. They’ve made plenty of large, high-profile gang busts. After DOJ intervention, they’re tackling their community relations and police misconduct issues. The City has also addressed its revolving door justice system. And its unemployment/welfare problem.
Could they do better? Of course. But . . . year to date, year-on-year, the total number of homicides in Cincinnati has dropped 28%, from 29 to 21. In a city of 300,000 people that’s not a lot of murders. (Same-size Stockton, California was home to 48 homicides in 2014.) Acceptable losses? You might say so, but I couldn’t possibly comment.
Except to say this: politics is about perception. That’s why Cincinnati’s top cops talk about a “line in the sand” and cater to the “we’re mad as hell and aren’t going to take it anymore” anti-“gun violence” sentiment pushed by the press and anti-gunners. Truth be told, bad people do bad things. With guns. There is only so much you can do about it. Gun control is not one of those things.