• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

The drive-by blackout

Have we become such a big city that the terrors of daily life are too routine to report on? Of all the news operations in town, only WANE-TV bothered to carry anything on this:

A neighbor was the target of the drive-by shooting, but the bullets tore through the home of an innocent family. It happened around 4 o'clock Friday morning when the sound of gunshots woke a little girl.

One foot and a little luck. That's all the separated 2-year old Fernada Cruz from a bullet. Her mother Dina Rosas simply says:  "It was very scary, very scary."

At least it is known why that particular house got shot up, which is frequently not the case. My mother and sister's house, on Reed Street south of McKinley and just west of South Anthony, was hit by a drive-by several years ago. My sister had been sitting up in bed reading and had just put the book aside and lain down when one of the bullets tore into the wall above her head. If she had read for another minute, she would have died that night. We never learned who shot at the house or why -- although it was one of several drive-bys in the area in a short period, and there was some speculation it was a gang-initiation ritual. I suspect the police didn't investigate it very vigorously, and there certainly wasn't any mention of it in any media outlet.

My mother and sister got out of that house as soon as they could, to an apartment on the north side. None of us have ever been back to that neighborhood again. If I have to drive to anywhere on the southeast side, I give Reed Street a wide berth. A little bit of Fort Wayne died that night, because a few of us lost a little of the faith we had in the city's ability to protect us. This is how whole neighborhoods are lost.

I know a lot of important issues will be debated in the city election. Economic development is crucial, and the infrastructure must be taken care of. But any candidate who does not put public safety at the top of the list does not deserve to be paid any attention to, let alone voted for. If we are afraid to walk out the front door, if indeed we aren't even safe by staying in the house, nothing else matters a whit.


Bob G.
Mon, 05/14/2007 - 4:53am

Sorry to see good folks like you leave an area, but as you say...one's faith IS challenged when those we rely upon to protect us cannot.
I suppose that in ANY "crisis", the first to respond and protect should be OURSELVES...then we worry about government intervention.

A microcosm of Katrina, perhaps.

In the past ten years, my house has had a rock tossed through a window (had to show the FWPD the bike track marks on the lawn), had some garage windows hit with BBs (no FWPD intervention even after I showed them the LOS of the person shooting the BB rifle), and a chemical bottle bomb tossed on the lawn (which the FWPD never bothered to pick up even AFTER I reported it to them).

We constanly receive "recycling" in the form of beer bottles, cans and assorted flotsam tossed from cars or hands on the lawn, been paintballed one night, and personally threatened several times.

And THAT'S why I now have the resources with which to respond on a much higher level.

It should be about making the BAD guys leave, and not the GOOD guys.

Maybe that's where all this Community-Oriented Policing is falling flat on it's ass....that, and the fact that the ACLU and NAACP have got law-enforcement walking on eggs 24/7.

But don't take my word for it...I (still) just live here (in the trenchs)...talk about flashbacks!



It's more like Problem-Oriented Policing.

tim zank
Mon, 05/14/2007 - 2:24pm

Bob, I'm sure with your background and proximity to my age, it's easy for you to draw the same conclusions I do as to how a shift in "sensitivity" and overblown political correctness is so prevalent now we can't win a war, we can't save a neighborhood from bad guys, we can't kick troublemakers out of school, and we sure as hell can't tell a joke anymore.

Cops can't do their job, soldiers can't do their job, teachers can't do their job, hell about the only ones being left alone to do their job are the illegal aliens.

What a country, eh??

Steve Towsley
Mon, 05/14/2007 - 3:08pm

If we expect the police to do the job for us, we have to support their actions when they go into high-violence neighborhoods and proceed to root out all those who persist in living as though violence and lawlessness were acceptable tools for getting by in life.

We have to support the police in times when activists falsely accuse them of prejudice and profiling when all they are doing is going where the violence is and arresting perpretrators from drug manufacturers and distributors to gangs.

We have to support our police even when the suspects they've arrested are our own relatives or friends.

As long as people want to keep making excuses, our police can't be nearly as effective as we all want them to be in eradicating criminal behavior.

There's no point in criticizing cops for not breaking up gangs and drug operations, and the shootings and reprisals those activities always bring with them, if we're going to bow to alarmist groups in high-crime areas who run interference for violent perpetrators when they happen to be friends, or their own kids.

Police can't be expected to disrupt and eradicate violent gang behaviors if we won't stand up for their going where the criminals are, busting up gangs and drug labs, and arresting the violent.

Bob G.
Tue, 05/15/2007 - 5:26am

Bang on Steve.....I support any law-enforcement agency as much as is humanly possible, and never criticize their actions unless blatant and overtly criminal (a rarity).

We've done a "180" when it comes to accountability...the police are held 100% accountable for ANY and EVERY action taken in the line of duty, while the "people" are rarely (if ever) held to such lofty expectations and scrutiny.

And until such time as organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League (of NOT so extraordinary gentlemen) decide to step up and make some real tough choices, and not worry so much about political correctness but rather correctness in and of itself, things will retain the status quo.

Yeah Tim...what a country (we've BECOME).