Monday, September 14, 2009

Why The Eagle Raid Matters

It should matter because our Founders graced us with the Fourth Amendment.

It should matter because it exemplifies the ongoing struggle in Midtown between neighborhoods and businesses they deem unacceptable.

It should matter because the public perceives crime as out of control, yet, 8 people sat in jail for what amounted to dancing in their drawers.

But it really matters because it is yet another case of Atlanta picking at its own scab of uncertainty and disillusionment in troubled times.

Today, the FBI released crime statistics which seem to support Police Chief Richard Pennington's stance that crime is down in the city. Yet, these facts do not allay the fears of people living East Atlanta, Downtown and Southwest. Jim Walls continued investigation on the crime numbers lends credence to that worry. Although, crime may be down citywide, pockets of violence and burglary are on the rise and the stunning murder of The Standard's John Henderson, an assault on a Ormewood Park man cutting his grass and the string of shootings and robberies around the campuses of Clark-Atlanta University and Georgia Tech leave Atlantans shaking their head at the cold numbers the powers-that-be wave at the cameras.

If Atlanta is in trouble, like so many things with this transitional city, it is difficult to grasp exactly why. Unlike a Detroit, we do not have a housing market which reflects the third world and an inner core which rots before our very eyes.

Instead we have a myriad of problems which combine to make the greater less tenable.

Our police force is undersized and underfunded. Our guardian of truth, the flagship newspaper, is struggling to survive and its cracks caused by cuts are starting to show (note how many times a crime story appears with the same byline). Our public transit routinely begs to any public agency who will listen. Our public hospital, once again, had to walk hat in hand to the Fulton County Commission to plead for a few more months survival.

In times where the citizens are scared and no longer trust their government to provide protection, the last thing our beleagured police force needs is tasks such as rousting a few gay men for flaunting their tighty whiteys behind closed doors.

The Eagle raid matters because it is as highly ideal as the U.S. Constitution and it is as personal as the people who suffered from imprisonment, but it's also about the character of this city - so famous for rising from its ashes. We are the city too busy too hate, the door to the world, welcome to all and embracing of all. Except last Thursday night when we were not. And it is these missteps which cannot, must not, happen again. For each one takes us back, closer to the ashes and the foul taste they will leave in every mouth.

4 comments: said...

Very well said! I would add that it also matters, because at a time when gay rights are such a hot issue, one should really tread lightly when seemingly targeting gay establishments; especially when the more you look at it, the more it looks like they were targeted because they were gay, and not much else. Otherwise, it looks like ATL doesn't mind having egg all over its face.

Cousin Pat said...

I read this and can't help but think about how similar the problems are in so many of our major cities.

It is a shame what certain individuals in power will do to avoid coming to terms with the harsh reality.

Going after the folks in the Eagle raid is far easier than going after murderers in bad neighborhoods where "snitches get stitches."

Anonymous said...

APD has become synonymous with lowlife bums and criminals.

First "the memo's" racism for political leaders, now the gay bashing by APD.

Atlanta increasingly appears to be broken beyond repair, by failed leadership.

Dave Bearse said...

Like Duane said, Very well said!

I don't know where you reside, but if its outside the city limits I especially apprepriate your use or "Our...". The are too few people in Gwinnett, north Fulton, Cobb, and even farther out that display that same sense of ownership.