Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Decency 10/17/07

"Tickets 'not race based' is a JS front page headline on 10/13 and "Group asks for 'fairness' another JS front page headline on 10/14/07 indicates again how far small segments in this community have taken it upon themselves to call any corrective action involving disrespectful acts as being "unfair racism".

"The American Idea" series by notables in the November, 2007, issue of the Monthly Atlantic best states the ridiculousness of the statements of small segments of local leaders of "victimized" blacks.

Please take the time to read what James Q. Wilson and George L Kelling wrote called "Decency". Their article "Broken Windows" was the cover story of the March 1982 Atlantic.

The article reads "In thinking about the American idea, we decided to revisit a concept we first took up in these pages 25 years ago.
Americans value both order and freedom, and drawing a line between the two is no easy task. This may seem especially true where the more routine aspects of public order are concerned. How much freedom must be sacrificed in order to have quiet streets free of graffiti, aggressive panhandlers, prostitutes and teen age gangs? Taken alone, few of these kinds of disorders constitute major crimes-but taken together, they deeply worry people who want to go about their own public business secure in the sense that our society, and not some disorderly faction within it, controls public spaces.
In 1982, we argued in this magazine that the police should take public disorder as seriously as they take criminal conduct. We urged them to resume doing what was once one of their major tasks:constraining the public activity of drunks, panhandlers, prostitutes and gangs.
We suggested two rationales for this change:First,people feel threatened by public disorder;second, the chance that greater order would reduce crime rates. The first statement is obviously true; the second was a conjecture that has still been only partially tested.
Community order, we argued, would bring decent people back on the streets and discourage criminals from using public places; certain kinds of crimes (assault,robbery, and auto theft). therefore, would subsequently decline.
Virtually all of the evidence we have from studies of the police suggests that restoring order is associated with a drop in crime. this is reassuring, but it may not be conclusive. The idea has never been fully tested.
Public order is achieved neither by leaving alone everyone who is not a serious criminal nor by harassing everyone who uses the streets; it is achieved by a combination of family training, neighborhood norms, and official constraints that induce people to follow widely shared rules of behavior. Social science cannot settle the question of how much order ought to be maintained; that is a question of morality and politics. In this country, the public view seems to be quite clear:People believe, we think rightly, that it is a good thing if routine misconduct is discouraged by the gentle action of opinion and authority. It is rarely necessary to arrest an aggressive drunk, a rowdy gang member, or a graffiti artist: it is usually sufficient to discourage them by firm reminders. True freedom is encouraged by an environment of public decency and discouraged by one of neglect and disorder.
Decency in public places may be only a small part of the American idea, but especially for those people living in dangerous, gang-ridden neighborhoods, it is an important one."

As the leading crime community in the State of Illinois as shown in some statistics, the Chief of Police acting on authority granted him by the City of Peoria believed by issuing tickets his officers were making firm reminders to some of the residents of this community that their actions are beyond the the realm of decency.
That respect for authority has broken down terribly in our families, schools, public places and in our community and our society is more than evident.
The "leaders" who picketed for leniency of law-breakers should realize that compassion and understanding did not stop a 15 year old "kid" from assault, arson and the killing of an innocent vehicle rider. While I am a great believer in dialogue with those who feel they are victimized by the "system", I would encourage more of this dialogue to continue and that firmer action be taken towards those who break "windows" until they are finally caught. For years, I have seen more aggressive attitudes of disrespect by black youths in our public schools and disrespect by walking down the middle of streets with both hands holding their crotches.
I appeal to the City Council to give our Police Chief the 25 or more officers (take some of the money requested by the Library Board; these kids showing disrespect will not be found studying in our public libraries; they don't even use the extensive school libraries. Only 22% of the students at Manual were tested to be proficient in reading last year) he needs to dialogue with all residents of the community and take the aggressive action needed to make people feel more safe where they live, work,drive, go to school and recreate.
Until the mothers and father of aggressively disrespectfully off-spring understand that the lives they all lead end up in chaos and that "parents" are required to be more than child bearers who tell their kids how much they love them as these "kids" are sent away to prisons.


Jennifer said...

I would think the people protesting the tickets would have more sense. This isn't a harrassment issue, but a public safety issue, particularly the safety of the students. When one gets injured from walking in the street, I'm sure there will be an outcry about why nothing was done.

Oh, and to the people who say this is a petty matter, that there are more serious crimes, what? Then why even have laws against any petty crimes?

Anonymous said...

It is sad that everyone has missed the point. There was a credible eye witness that stated that the students were not in the street. Dr. Rita Ali watched the entire scene and immediately filed a complaint. Dr. Ali is a respected, credible, person that has absolutely no reason to lie.

The police know that they were wrong and is purposely trying to discredit Dr. Ali. This is a women that grew up in this neighborhood, graduated from Manual and went on to get her PHD. WHY WOULD SHE WANT TO LIE ABOUT WHAT SHE SAW.

Teh students never got out of line the entire time the police was ticketing them. Students for years have walked down Wiswall with no sidewalks they were on in the street next to what would be the curb (if there were sidewalks).That is whatDr. Ali saw and that is what it was.

It is interesting that the white community is quick to blame the "Leaders" for practing the race card when it is played everyday, not by Black Leaders but by whites.

The Police department wants people to assist them in the efforts, but with this kind of attitude they continue to lose respect.

No one wants students or any one else to violate the law. We believe in law aond order. Just be consistant and fair in how you do it.

Merle Widmer said...


You say "practised not by black people but by whites". Really.

I've know Rita since 1994. She means well but she doesn't spend time on the Southside or she would see what those of us who do visit schools in that area, visit the Computer Center at Manual, visit the Boys and Girls Club activities at Trewyn and Carver Center. I would suggest she has not made a "drop in" visit to any school in the area where most of the shooting have taken place this year. By July 15, 2007 there had been a total of 30 known shootings in the South Side Mission Adoptablock, 7 of them fatal. It is not uncommon to see black youths walking 3-4 abreast down the middle of the streets with both hands holding their crotches when they see a white person approaching.

Harrassment is going on allright, and it's ruining the neighborhoods for the people who want to live with decent and civil people. And men who support the women they impregnate and hold a job. Pretty hard to do when they pass thru opportunity and don't recognize it.

A few people are ruining the schools and the communities. They are not white and black law abiding citizens and certainly not black and white police.

Read "Enough" by black TV analyst Juan Williams as a starter for your enlightenment. Better yet let's visit Manual classrooms, cafeteria, study hall, together, check in at the principals office and spend 2-3 hours observing like I have done. Then you'll be more qualified to write.

Merle Widmer said...

The picture on Sunday's JS Editorial Page indicates that a lot of people did miss the point including my friend Rita and anonymous and not myself and Jennifer and 90% of the community. Thanks Jennifer.

Roger said...

It seems there is a racial issue in Peoria. Seems to be amongst the blacks. Some blacks have issues against whites in general nowadays in Peoria. I went to Manual. It's all BS. I walked down the same streets and got out of the way when cars came down Ann, Wiswall or Proctor with no problems. I never had problems walking w/o sidewalks. I just got out of the way of cars.

Anonymous said...

First of all Merle, Dr. Ali grew up in that area. Her parents and sister still live in the area and she is there more then you or any one else will ever be.

How dare you, of all people try to discredit an upstanding person such as Dr. Ali. You and others like you are the reason there is almost no dialogue between the different communities.

You and others like you that believe discrimination does not exist or that African Americans spend their life playing the race card should understand that racism is still alive and well and that it you you that pulls the race card out of the deck because of your racist statements and attitudes.

I don't know why I am wasting my time even responding to you, of all people, but I felt a need to not let you or any one else make disparaging remarks about Dr. Ali.

Merle Widmer said...

To anony,

Dr. Ali and her husband Bashir live at 7012 N. Aycliffe Drive in Peoria, an almost all white neighborhood and a long way from Manual. That my friend Rita "bought" in to be part of a protest group that included Jim Polk and Don Jackson is her decision. My way to interpret all actions by individuals including those by Pam Adams in today's Journal in which she claims to have the last word by stating that she and the group she hung out with "would not have been as respectful of authority", is the way I and most of my friends interpret actions by those in a position to lead. Again, I suggest reading black TV Analyst Juan Williams and his book "Enough". He and I agree 95%.


Is Adams a community leader? Most people I know of any color say probably not but she is printed in a newspaper that buys ink by the railcar load. The JS trys like so many other entities such as colleges to be politically correct when it comes to minorities.s

I even agree with Phil Luciano's assesssment of the situation. Luciano is also right most of the time.

Karrie E. Alms said...

Racism exists in Peoria --- both ways. My three year old knows not to walk in the street because you might be hurt if hit by a car. No sidewalks, walk along the edge of the curb --- not rocket science.

No respect is what is being profiled here along with any other inappropriate behavior, nothing to do with race.

Regardless of color, we need to have serious dialogue and workable solutions to instill respect for each other and for the law to restore Peoria.