Good Police Work
Richard Urban writes below about yesterday’s murder of Jamal Coates
in a cinematically dramatic street gunfight. The Metropolitan Police
Department arrested a suspect in that murder today, and Chief Cathy Lanier
praised the good, swift work of the police. The arrest is certainly good
news, and I don’t intend to denigrate the MPD’s work by noting that
police were able to make the arrest so quickly and easily because an
eyewitness described the getaway car to them and gave them its license
Most of the time, good police work in solving a crime doesn’t consist
of making amazing deductive leaps like Sherlock Holmes, or of analyzing a
single hair or drop of blood at the crime scene and matching it to a
perpetrator’s identity, like the cast of CSI. Most of the time, good
police work consists of receiving a tip from a witness or an informant and
acting on it. For the police to receive that tip, however, two things are
necessary. First, the public has to know and trust the police, and believe
that the police can and will protect them from retaliation if they
cooperate and enter into a partnership with them. Second, the public has
to believe in the value of police work to society and want to cooperate
with the police, rather than to believe cooperation makes them snitches or
rats. For the police, having a witness approach them and give them
information about a crime is both the result of doing good police work in
the community and the start of doing good police work to solve crimes.
Good police work, by itself, doesn’t lower a city’s crime rate, but
it’s an important element in lowering the crime rate and in making the
city safe. A city in which crimes are readily and reliably solved and
criminals are speedily and surely punished is safer than a city that lacks
the basic elements of good policing.
DC Must Tighten Penalties for Illegal Gun
Richard Urban, independent candidate for DC council
Tuesday’s murder of Jamal Coates and the spate of murders and gun
crimes over the last six months draws attention to the need to make
illegal gun possession by a felon a crime that will bring a mandatory
sentence. The Virginia Exile program provides a good model for DC to
follow. The Virginia program imposes the following penalties (from http://www.suffolk.va.us/cwatty/vaxylp.html):
Just like our slogan states, “It’s Simple: You Do the Math!”
Under Exile legislation, anyone faces a mandatory minimum sentence of
five (5) years in a Virginia prison who:
Has a prior conviction for a violent felony such as murder, rape,
robbery, felonious assault or certain types of burglary and is
convicted of possessing a firearm; or
Is convicted of possessing a firearm within school property with
the intent to use it, or displaying the weapon in a threatening
Is convicted of possessing a firearm and an illegal drug, such as
cocaine or heroin, with the intent to distribute.
Anyone who is convicted of possessing a firearm and an illegal drug
such as cocaine or heroin faces a mandatory minimum two (2) to five (5)
years in a Virginia prison.
Additionally, anyone who possesses a firearm and has a prior
conviction for a nonviolent felony such as larceny or drug possession
will be exiled for two (2) years in addition to any other sentence
Under the chairmanship of my opponent, Phil Mendelson, the Committee on
Public Safety and the Judiciary has failed to take action to send a
message to criminals that illegal gun possession will not be tolerated. At
the same time, DC makes it extremely difficult for a person to legally
possess a gun. This approach makes no sense. Those committing crimes are
not using legally registered weapons. DC residents should be allowed to
own a weapon without excessively cumbersome registration requirements.
Silver Spring Fire Station Reopens as a
Jerry A. McCoy, Silver Spring Historical Society, email@example.com
See the story at http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2010/todays-news/maryland-fire-station-reopens.html
I read Dr. Lomax’s second article (http://tinyurl.com/2bl4jzj)
after finding out about it through you [themail, September 22]. In it, he
seems to have a better grasp of the issues than before. Dr. Lomax is a
past president of Dillard University, my alma mater. I posted a comment
about the article that you may find worth reading. In addition, because of
your previous posting on Rhee, I did a bit of online research, including
testimony that she gave in 2007 on education reform. It was all about
resources and nothing about the children. There was no talk about teaching
Having read biographical accounts about Rhee, I now understand why. She
has little teaching experience and no specific education administration
nor teaching credentials. Thank you for the information and insightful
analysis that you have and continue to give regarding this important
In a recent issue of themail [September 29], Gary said, “We had
Robuchon’s mashed potatoes for dinner. . . . Use more of the ingredients
that taste good — butter, cream, salt, etc. — the good things that the
superstitious nutrition naggers would forbid you to use at all.”
It’s no longer a rebel act to use natural ingredients like butter and
cream. Has Gary not heard of Michael Pollan? Practically the only people
who think that margarine is better for you than butter are the
manufacturers of that artificial ingredient, the PR firms who represent
them, and the publications and TV stations that sell them air time. Nonfat
sucks!, and there is a big correlation between the prevalence of nonfat
food items and the rise of obesity.
The nutrition naggers have moved on and are with you, supporting your
efforts to eat natural food. Those who are not have not done the research.
[Re: themail, September 26] It is regretful that you ran into rude
teenagers on the 92 bus that were primarily black. I would invite you to
look up similar incidents in communities were the majority of teenagers
are of a different race. You will find the same type of activity.
Teenagers are rude — what a novel concept!
Did you really think telling kids to “blow” you wouldn’t evoke a
negative response? Why didn’t you take the lead of folks who make a
social movement out of similar activity in the 1960’s, by responding
with dignity — answering word for word. They were making fun of you, you
say. And a vile response was appropriate from an adult to a minor?
And you blame African-Americans for playing race cards.
Why did themail find it necessary or helpful to run Bryce Suderow’s
screed [September 26] without editing? As a commenter to themail who has
sent in my fair share of obscene rants, which were edited by themail, thus
earning my everlasting gratitude, I feel I have the expertise to identify
a stupid white person comment when I see it. There was no point in running
the last two sentences of Suderow’s remarks. We can get what he was
driving at without fomenting a race war.
It was just stupid because teenage student violence on the buses and
Metro has nothing to do with the election result, as Suderow admitted
himself with the phrase, “all of them [black riders] dread 3:00 p.m.
when the kids get out of school.” As for the Republican Examiner and its
race-baiting, nobody reads it anyway so who cares? But please let’s not
have themail join in the stupid racism, please exercise at least some
minimal editorial control.
CLASSIFIEDS — EVENTS
Walking the Dog to Help the Homeless, October 2
Robin Diener, firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk-a-dog-a-thon, sponsored by the Dupont Circle Citizens Association.
Saturday, October 2, from 8:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m., at the 17th Street
Dog Park, between S and T Streets, NW. A blessing of the animals will be
performed at St. Margaret’s for those who wish to participate. Matt
Lang, Program Director of Charlie’s Place, will explain the work of
Charlie’s Place and answer questions. Register right before the events.
$25, or $15 for age 25 and under.
National Building Museum Events, October 2, 5
Johanna Weber, email@example.com
October 2, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Building a Century of Progress. The
architecture of Chicago’s 1933–34 Century of Progress Exposition was
captured in a thirty-minute color film. Watch the film, then hear Lisa
Schrenk, author and associate professor of architecture and art history at
Norwich University, discuss the architectural innovations introduced
during the fair. This program is presented with support from the Art Deco
Society of Washington, which is celebrating “Washington World’s Fair
Weekend.” Film provided courtesy of Sharon Couzin and David Stark at the
Art Institute of Chicago. $12 for members and students; $20 for
nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk-in registration based on
October 5, 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Book of the Month: Lot at the End
of My Block. Join us in the Building Zone for an exciting exploration
of Kevin Lewis’s story Lot at the End of My Block, an adventure
of revising an empty space for something fun! Readings at 10:30 and 11:30
a.m. Free drop-in program. Recommended for ages three to five. Both events
at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro
station. Register for events at http://www.nbm.org.
Taste of Dupont 2010, October 5
Paul K. Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Create your own progressive dinner with $5 individual tasting tickets
redeemed at any one of the twenty participating establishments, many of
which will have specially priced cocktails or wines paired with your
tasting. $5 for each individual tasting, or a five-tasting ticket package
for just $20. Larger ticket packages also available for groups. Avoid the
long lines; tickets purchased will be held at will call at the Dupont
Resource Center at 9 Dupont Circle (west side, between P Street and
Massachusetts Avenue). Tickets are also available for purchase at the
Dupont Circle Resource Center Tuesday evening, October 5, beginning at
5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 5, 2010 from 6-9 p.m.
For participating restaurants and to purchase tickets, visit http://bit.ly/TasteDupont2010.
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