Who Killed Jessica Hawk, a Guest Post by Steve O’Keefe

Aug 14, 2008 by

(This is a guest post by Steve O’Keefe. I have the pleasure of working for Steve as a contract blogger and used to share the Bywater office he mentions below. I share his shock, his outrage, and most importantly his desire for answers to the following questions. -Loki, HumidCity Founder)

This morning I walked past the home of Jessica L. Hawk whose lifeless body was discovered by police at 9:40 Monday morning, August 11, 2008.

Jessica lived halway between my home by the Sound Cafe and my former office by the satellite dishes on Chartres. She lived two doors away from Dr. Bob, who police questioned Monday morning, and who I spoke with this morning after visiting the stoop at 3013 Chartres to pay my respects to the woman who sold flowers from Harold’s up on Saint Claude.

Jessica Hawk was murdered. Stabbed multiple times. Dr. Bob visited the crime scene with detectives before her body was removed. He said her naked body was propped-up. Since he is sharing this news with neighbors, it is no longer the private knowledge of detectives.

This is our murder investigation. We are entitled to know the facts of what happened, as police are able to reveal them.

Have the police asked NOCCA for surveillance video? They are located right down the street and usually have a night guard. Did the guard at NOCCA see anything? How about the drivers who pick up produce at AJ’s on Chartres in the early hours of the morning — every day? Do they have video tape? Did they see anything?

How about the soldiers headed to the Navy base on Poland at 7:15 every weekday morning? Did they see?
Or the military recruits marching the warf where homeless live? Did they see anything? Did the Harbor Police see anything? Do they have surveillance video?

Has anyone looked in the overgrown trenches that line the levee along the route from NOCCA to Poland? That’s where criminals have been found and arrested in the past. Has anyone searched the abandoned Rice Mill across the street?

This is our neighborhood and our murder investigation. We are entitled to know the facts of the case and to contribute to its solution.

Do police have a suspect? Do they suspect an acquaintance? Did Jessica have a car? Where is it? Was anything stolen? Is there a time of death?

The investigation and prosecution of a murder is a public act.
It is not the private property of the police or the media.
We deserve to hear answers and find answers to this crime.

Please.

STEVE O’KEEFE | okeefe-at-bellsouth-dot-net

32 Comments

  1. anon

    the rice mill is ‘abandoned’ investment property of multi-millionare Nagin best bud Sean Cummings.

  2. Anon,

    any possibility of providing documentation? It would really help. PLease leave links in the comments here. Thanks!

  3. anon

    http://www.opboa.org/Forms/Datalets.aspx?idx=29&sIndex=0

    CUMMINGS SEAN B 2900 CHARTRES ST

    Owner
    Owner Name CUMMINGS SEAN B
    Address ETAL 416 GRAVIER ST
    City / State / Zip NEW ORLEANS LA 70130

    Parcel
    Property Address 2900 CHARTRES ST
    Unit
    District 3
    Assesment Area 9W
    Subdivision BYWATER S
    Square 20
    Lot 14/16
    Book 01
    Folio 003
    Line 010
    Tax Bill Number 39W100501
    Instrument Number 000066031
    Notarial Archive Number 93-11679
    Sale Date 11-MAR-93
    Sale Price $150,000

    http://www.opboa.org/Forms/Datalets.aspx?idx=32&sIndex=0

    CUMMINGS SEAN B 3036 CHARTRES ST

    Owner
    Owner Name CUMMINGS SEAN B
    Address JOHN J CUMMINGS 3RD 416 GRAVIER ST
    City / State / Zip NEW ORLEANS LA 70130

    Parcel
    Property Address 3036 CHARTRES ST
    Unit
    District 3
    Assesment Area 9W
    Subdivision BYWATER S
    Square 21
    Lot CHART
    Book 01
    Folio 004
    Line 002
    Tax Bill Number 39W100601
    Instrument Number 000090511
    Notarial Archive Number 94-35491
    Sale Date 19-JUL-94
    Sale Price $421,000

    2009 Preliminary Assessment
    Appraised Land 1,479,200
    Appraised Building 0
    Appraised Total

    1,479,200
    Assessed Land 147,920
    Assessed Building 0
    Assessed Total 147,920
    Homestead Exemption Amount 0
    Assessment Frozen NO
    Special Tax District
    Exempt Code
    Assessment Change

    Values History
    Tax Year 2008
    Assessed Land 147,920
    Assessed Building 0
    Assessed Total 147,920
    Homestead Exemption Amount 0

    Property Description
    Line 1 Description
    1 SQ 21 LOT CHARTRES
    2 535 X 165/230
    3 1/STORY FRAME OFFICE
    4 GENERAL DRAYAGE SERVICE CO

  4. anon

    http://www.opboa.org/Forms/Datalets.aspx?idx=32&sIndex=0

    CUMMINGS SEAN B 3036 CHARTRES ST

    Owner
    Owner Name CUMMINGS SEAN B
    Address JOHN J CUMMINGS 3RD 416 GRAVIER ST
    City / State / Zip NEW ORLEANS LA 70130

    Parcel
    Property Address 3036 CHARTRES ST
    Unit
    District 3
    Assesment Area 9W
    Subdivision BYWATER S
    Square 21
    Lot CHART
    Book 01
    Folio 004
    Line 002
    Tax Bill Number 39W100601
    Instrument Number 000090511
    Notarial Archive Number 94-35491
    Sale Date 19-JUL-94
    Sale Price $421,000

    2009 Preliminary Assessment
    Appraised Land 1,479,200
    Appraised Building 0
    Appraised Total

    1,479,200

    http://www.opboa.org/Forms/Datalets.aspx?idx=29&sIndex=0

    CUMMINGS SEAN B 2900 CHARTRES ST

    Owner
    Owner Name CUMMINGS SEAN B
    Address ETAL 416 GRAVIER ST
    City / State / Zip NEW ORLEANS LA 70130

    Parcel
    Property Address 2900 CHARTRES ST
    Unit
    District 3
    Assesment Area 9W
    Subdivision BYWATER S
    Square 20
    Lot 14/16
    Book 01
    Folio 003
    Line 010
    Tax Bill Number 39W100501
    Instrument Number 000066031
    Notarial Archive Number 93-11679
    Sale Date 11-MAR-93
    Sale Price $150,000

    2009 Preliminary Assessment
    Appraised Land 486,300
    Appraised Building 512,170
    Appraised Total

    998,470

  5. anon

    the ethics board (before they all resigned) said it was ok for him to have his position leading riverfront redevelopment because he didn’t have ‘substantial economic interest.’

  6. Thank you very much! Ye gods, I wish all the comments I get were chock full of info like this. Thanks a lot!

  7. anon

    http://www.opboa.org/Search/GenericSearch.aspx?mode=OWNER

    1035-MOSSST
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 1035 MOSS ST
    1101-TCHOUPITOULASST
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 1101 TCHOUPITOULAS ST
    2900-CHARTRESST
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 2900 CHARTRES ST
    3036-CHARTRESST
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 3036 CHARTRES ST
    4343101-MONTEGUTST
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 4343101 MONTEGUT ST
    4343201-MONTEGUTST
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 4343201 MONTEGUT ST
    441-GRAVIERST04
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 441 GRAVIER ST Unit 04
    544-ESPLANADEAV
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 544 ESPLANADE AV
    601-FRENCHMENST
    CUMMINGS SEAN B 601 FRENCHMEN ST

    http://www.opboa.org/Search/GenericSearch.aspx?mode=OWNER

    Click rows to view property details Results 1 – 15 of 29
    Parcel ID? Owner Complete Address

    1000-SPETERSST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 1000 PETERS ST S
    1050-ANNUNCIATIONST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 1050 ANNUNCIATION ST
    1110-CONSTANCEST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 1110 CONSTANCE ST
    1114-CONSTANCEST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 1114 CONSTANCE ST
    1364301-STANTONRD
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 1364301 STANTON RD
    1368002-PUBLICRD
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 1368002 PUBLIC RD
    1379902-DELACROIXRD
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 1379902 DELACROIX RD
    2-MAZANTST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 2 MAZANT ST
    28812-TRIANGLE
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 28812 TRIANGLE
    3-BARRINGTONDR
    CUMMINGS JOHN J 3 3 BARRINGTON DR
    3-MAZANTST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 3 MAZANT ST
    309-MAGAZINEST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 309 MAGAZINE ST
    35906-MICHOUDBL
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 35906 MICHOUD BL
    35910-MICHOUDBL
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 35910 MICHOUD BL
    4019-CHARTRESST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 4019 CHARTRES ST

    4024-ROYALST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 4024 ROYAL ST
    4030-ROYALST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 4030 ROYAL ST
    410-NATCHEZST01
    CUMMINGS JOHN J 410 NATCHEZ ST Unit 01
    410-NATCHEZSTRTA
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 410 NATCHEZ ST Unit RTA
    412-GRAVIERST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 412 GRAVIER ST
    416-GRAVIERST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 416 GRAVIER ST
    5-BULLARDAV
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 5 BULLARD AV
    55190-MICHOUDBL
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 55190 MICHOUD BL
    55197-MICHOUDBL
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 55197 MICHOUD BL
    58233-MICHOUDBL
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 58233 MICHOUD BL
    5823301-MICHOUDBL
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 5823301 MICHOUD BL
    5823401-MICHOUDBL
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 5823401 MICHOUD BL
    626-MAZANTST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 626 MAZANT ST
    864-SPETERSST
    CUMMINGS JOHN J III 864 PETERS ST S
    MERCATO ELISIO LLC 501 ELYSIAN FIELDS AV

    Owner
    Owner Name MERCATO ELISIO LLC
    Address 220 CAMP ST STE 500
    City / State / Zip NEW ORLEANS LA 70130

    Parcel
    Property Address 501 ELYSIAN FIELDS AV
    Unit
    District 3
    Assesment Area 8W
    Subdivision MARIGNY 8
    Square 7
    Lot 1
    Book 01
    Folio 002
    Line 001
    Tax Bill Number 38W100101
    Instrument Number 000069502
    Notarial Archive Number 93-21860
    Sale Date 14-DEC-07
    Sale Price $1,100,000

  8. anon

    you can delete one of the duplicate comments above. i didn’t get an acknowledgement so i re-posted.

    glad you like, hope you can use.

  9. So, let me get this straight; The Mayor’s friend owns three river front properties in the Marigny, and is put in charge of River Front Development, because he doesn’t have ’substantial economic interest.’
    Mister Cummings will be making decisions about how the City of New Orleans will spend money on these properties to develop our riverfront. while owning three of them.
    And he’s the Mayor’s pal.

    I think racketeering charges should be filed, preferably at the Mayor’s awqrd ceremony. A Federal Indictment on a cake.

    Meanwhile, Jessica Hawk keeps the New Orleans brand out there. Thanks Ray. Thanks Warren. How do her friends and family feel about this you snake oil motherfucking bastards?

    I’m so goddamned angry the tears are burning my face.
    You fucking assholes are bleeding the city dry to line your pockets and a simple flower lady gets fucking murdered, horribly, in her home. You respond by giving yourself a prize?

    FUCK YOU, C. RAY NAGIN.
    That’s right.
    I’m Lord David, Helen Hills’ neighbor, and I’m saying it for all to see. You’re a fucking liar, thief, useless asshole and another good citizen is dead because you’re playing rockstar and taunting the city council about ‘what you don’t appreciate.”

    You know what Jessica Hawk doesn’t appreciate?
    Anything.
    Ever again.
    I hope you rot in burning hell for all eternity and a day, you piece of shit.

  10. My sincerest wish in all of this is that the perpetrator(s) of this horrible crime will be caught, prosecuted & punished.

    And that somehow, someway, soon, the people who are running this city, at every level, will take responsibility, not by holding investigations and casting blame, but upholding their commitments to this fine city, and to all of us, preventing such a devastating act, and allowing us to live without fear of losing our loved ones or our lives.

    Rest in peace, Jessica Hawk.

  11. PissedOffInOhio

    Jessie Hawk was my friend. I’ve known her exactly half of my life. I have been trying to keep up with this investigation via websites and newspapers and blogs like this….mostly because I want closure for the friend I will never see again. I keep reading about how horrible the crime in NO is and how terrible your Govt. officials are…I read about how guns are legal in your area and that anyone is aloud to carry one with a permit. I keep reading about the home invasions, the looting, the shooting, the stabbing, the robbing….the day the paper reported that Jessie had been identified, there were several other murders in the city also reported on. I keep reading and the comments, the blogs, the newspapers all keep saying the same thing again and again….the city is going to hell, the crime is out of control, the “thugs” are taking over, and AGAIN and AGAIN how CORRUPT the Govt. and City officials are so my question to all of you who mourn the loss of yet another bright young woman, to those of you who are sick with worry when you leave the house, to those of you who comment and blog about the horrible nature of your city is this:
    If you are allowed to carry guns legally there….why the FUCK are these people you speak of, who are ruining your lives, your city, your moral and your spirit still walking around? I think it’s time for some of you “Good Folks” to declare marshall law and fix the problem yourself.

  12. Steve

    I live two streets over from Jessica’s shotgun, and while I did not know her, I do remember waving hello from time to time while walking my dogs. This crime has me so pissed off, so desperate for the person or persons who did this to be caught. My heart goes out to anyone who knew or loved Jessica.

  13. Looing at Ivonne’s memorial site (Above) I realize that I have met her after al. One day a few months ago we sat in Caffea or The Sound Cafe (canot remember which) and compared stories about our cats…

    Damn.

  14. Ivonne, thanks for posting that link. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  15. Stafenie Jones

    I met Jessie About 16 Years ago, Her father is best friends with my Step-father. While You People Bitch about the city, and other things that go on. You guys are truely forgetting the bigger picture. A wonderful Woman was Murdered. It shouldn’t be about the mayor, or what the police can do. It should be about the community, Friends and family. The people down there are doing the best that they can. Thats one of the reason why she was there because she loved that place and she knew what the potenial it had. So while all of you talk and bitch about what ever it is. You all need to think about her family, Her brother, That loved herso much, Her Father who is crushed that he has lost his baby girl, and her mother, That will never get to love on her little girl ever again. That is what you people should be talking about, than some stupid ass mayor, or the police that are trying to do there job, So let them, And if they can’t than her family and friends will. Oh Also for the MURDERING BASTARD!!!! That took this wonderful person from us, JUSTICE WILL BE SERVED.!!!! And you better be scared>

  16. Stafenie

    Sorry to Contridict myself but I agree with what the Pissedoffinohio Says,
    He/she has a point. Now that I read It better and have, had time to collect my thoughts, were is the justice, and the safety, in having this kind of protection, if this Kind of thing is going to just keep on happening. I Have no hard feelings towards any law inforcement, god knows they have there work cut out for them, with crime after crime happening down there. So to any one who reads this please contact the police if you have any info on this crime.

  17. Eh-ma

    Honestly, I was shocked when I found out this happened.

    When I was little she used to date one of my dads friends, and she’d always come and hang out with me.

    She really was a good person.

    Rest in peace :(

  18. As one of those who bitched loudly here, about the mayor, law enforncemnet, etc. let me clarify a few points, especailly for those commenters from out of town.

    This isn’t Deadwood. There are not people killing each other on the street corners every fifteen minutes, in broad daylight. Like most crimes, these things happen out of sight, under cover of darkness, and many are crimes on criminals. Still, it’s out of control.

    We do not all carry guns. A carry permit is reasonably difficult to get, and even if it were not, this city is way to friendly for that kind of mind set. Also, were we to start vigilante justice here, we would be no better than the killers we kill. This is not a Billy Jack Movie. Murder is murder.

    We are all horrified at Jessica Hawk’s terrible death. As for focusing all of our attentions on her family, please, and I mean this with all respect, understand that they are not alone. Personally, I have lost about a dozen friends to violent crime in this city, and even remember jumping out of bed to the sound of the gun shoots that killed my neighbor, Helen Hill.
    Please, understand, as citizens, we are doing what we can.

    While it may seem that ‘bitching’ about the city government may be a hollow act, we raised five thousand people to march on City Hall, by ‘bitching’ about the murders of Helen & Dinerral Shavers. Only by demanding that law enforcement raise the bar, and the City Government back them up, can we bring an end to this nightmare of murder.

    There is another march in the works. Details will be posted on this site. Please, come and join us, in body or spirit, and stand up for Jessica, Helen, Dinerral and 480 other murder victims THIS YEAR ALONE, by insisting that those who have taken control of this beautiful city are guilty, not only of laziness and corruption, but the failure of a system of law that has left blood on their hands. It’s time for a change.

  19. Litigator

    I am so sorry for all of Jessica’s friends and family, and for our city, which has lost another beautiful soul.

    As for Pissed Off L. Since this is still America and we still have the 2nd Amendment in New Orleans, the answer to our crime problem is the same as our answer to our flood problem: We need to take care o ourselves.

    We need to all get a gun, and learn how to use it. We should form neighborhood groups and patrol our own streets. I guarantee the crime problem will end overnight.

    As Americans have relied on Da Guvment to “do for ” them, they have become helpless. This is a lesson we in NOLA know better than anywhere in this bewildered country. An city of armed citizens who care about each other will end crime and get governement criminals to start thinking twice about failing in their duties for which “services” we pay dearly.

  20. This is horrible to hear. I hope we get some info soon on how this happened to her. It’s certainly not a typical death for Nola, especially a stabbing. My heart goes out to her friends and family.

    @Lititgator. I agree. I own many guns, and I’m trained to use them. Citizens patrol sounds good, but until the system can keep people behind bars we’re screwed. We’d literally have to “shoot to kill” every criminal in order to keep them from getting back on the streets. Which, I’m not entirely against. *sarcasm*

  21. My husband and I have reached the point where we are ready to purchase guns to protect ourselves and our property if need be. Like Pistolette, I am afraid that if I don’t shoot to kill, the person committing a crime against me will walk out of that revolving door and onto the streets and may come to find me. What if the dead criminal’s friend kills me in an act of vengeance? Moreover, I don’t want to kill anyone, criminal or not, and that’s when I being to meditate on leaving town. And it makes me cry.

  22. sharhawk

    To this day I just sit back and wish I could of met her. Jessica was my second cousin her dad was my moms cousin. My Mom is Mary Hawk and her father is related to Cecil Hawk they were brothers his name was Hoyet Hawk. Our family grew apart over 15 years ago and we got reconnected this year. To this day I feel so bad for her and what happened to her and yes the person that did this to her needs to go rot in hell or get the death chair. She was my age and I’m still in shock. She didnt deserve this…the website her friends put together for her was very special its something I’ll have to remember her by forever. I will miss her so much. I feel so bad we never met. She had so much to look forward too and some devil of a person just took her life away. They need to catch this person that did this to her so that she can rest in peace.

  23. jewel

    I’d like to say that reading about this useless murder of a beautiful person has left me very sad and depressed – enough to look up Ms. Jessica’s name to try to know just who was this lovely lady with a degree in botany. I thought so much about her friends and family in Ohio and what they must think about losing their friend and loved one for no good reason, so far from her original home. I am just a person who read about this in the news but it hurt for so many reasons. The lovely individual brutally murdered – and what it says about our city and our problems.
    I think “Maitri” said it well: “Moreover, I don’t want to kill anyone, criminal or not, and that’s when I begin to meditate on leaving town. And it makes me cry.”
    I was finally able to buy after the storm (which means I have gotten no money or help from anyone). I have slaved away on my little hovel for two years now and suddenly wonder if this fantastic city is really worth dying for. I too am a single lady (with a degree in botany). Ms. Hawke did nothing to deserve this. I deeply feel for her friends and family.

    In editorial, after editorial, after news article after show, there are complaints about the mayor, the cops, the politicians, the schools. Never, never once, have I seen any complaints about parents. Parenting in certain segments of the population, a certain culture is DISMAL. It is a culture of violence and indifference to children, who are harangued, harrassed, slapped and beaten, screamed at, cursed and ignored. Am I lying? We have all heard and seen it. When kids aren’t nurtured and loved, allowed to explore, they never develop a conscience. They are always waiting for an outside correction. That is why more and more “criminal justice” provides no deterrent. These people just don’t care.There is no morality in this segment of the population. Getting something for nothing is desirable. Stealing is a way of life. Self control, delayed gratification is non-existent. Because these people never developed a healthy self-esteem, they flip if their ego is bruised, go for a gun. This place will never get better if the piss poor quality of parenting in some areas is not addressed.
    Ms. Hawke will not be just another murder victim. Her memory will be treasured.

  24. Ron Weaver

    As of right now Jessica Hawkk has probably been cremated and her remains are on the way back to Ohio (or already here) with her family. Whether you knew Jessica or not, DON’T forget her. Some time or another New Orleans has to be reclaimed for the decent people of that city. The city survived Katrina and is rebuilding. Survive the crime and violence and rebuild. Make use of neighborhood watch groups and force the authorities to listen and to take action! Please remember Jessica with some kind of memorial and let something positive come out of a horrendous end to a wonderful young lady, my cousin. Also remember her grieving family in Mason Ohio.

  25. My friend Alison wrote a wonderful piece about Jessica and the state of crime in the city on the Gambit Blog today:
    http://blogofneworleans.com/blog/2008/08/19/enough-already-right/

  26. Ivonne

    Hi would you mind getting in contact with me to my email (above), I have a drawing of the guy was picking at Jessica’s Hawk window, he is not formally a person of interest, and I would appreacite if you can help to distribute this image along the bywater people you know.
    Thank you very much,
    Ivonne

  27. I am so sorry that again my friends and acquaintances from the Bywater and Marigny have to go through yet another period of loss and mourning for another gentle, creative, and innocent soul… My condolences go out to both Jessica’s family and closest friends.

    Because New Orleans is buried so very deep in political indifference and systemic corruption I too believe it is up to the citizens to take to the streets and promote an active role in combating crime while, over time, systematically addressing the underlying social, economic, and political ills that exacerbate crime, violence, mental illness, and moral detachment. I can’t say that I have the solutions, but in contrast to some of the views above, I do not agree with the idea of arming our citizens, however well trained. Firearms get stolen and misused. And more often than not, when it comes to that crucial moment, emotions override rationale. Additionally, because different people practice differing levels of responsibility, accessibility of these weapons often end up in the hands of untrained innocents. At any scale, violence generally begets more violence.

    In my opinion, the system is completely broken. Every level of our systems of government, economy, and media needs to be disassembled, broken down to its most fundamental components. This is so that WE may take responsibility for what follows, by taking an active role in rebuilding our society from the ground up, to make certain that our voices and actions are not only heard, but acted upon.

    Guns may offer comfort to the reactionary person, and perhaps even provide a short term solution to dull the symptomatic pain of our societal ills, but it will ultimately result in a profusion of future problems. In contrast, I believe we need to begin to consider and address the root problems and put into practice measures toward long term solutions.

  28. Litigator

    Dear Voice,
    For hundreds of years this country was safe. In the 1960’s we saw the dissolution of family, the brainwashing and deliberate dumbing down of America, an erosion of all of our constitutional rights, and the anti gun drumbeat echoed by you. We also saw crime beginning to skyrocket, and at the same time people becoming more and more reliant on police and government to take care of them. This has not worked. We are self sufficient and resilient people, especially here in NOLA. We must take care of ourseves and each other. No criminal would dare have attacked Ms Hawk if he thought he would have been killed by armed neighbors or by her. This is one of the reasons we used to be safe. You spew platitudes with no facts to back them up. Fortunately, we do still have a constitutional right to bear arms and do not need your agreement with that proposition for the moment. If anyone tries to harm my family or neighbors I will calmly and rationally stop them from doing so. I hope to have more neighbors like me, not “comforted” by a gun, but by the self reliance and determination to use it in the face of a threat to my neighbors and family.

  29. Dear Litigator, I am admirable of your wish to be self-reliant and determined, and I am in support of your right to nobly lay down your own life to protect your family and neighbors, but this response seems overly emotive for a self-proclaimed rational person, and vague for a person with a screen name that suggests he is a trial lawyer.

    I attempted to share a thoughtful point-of-view about firearms and their use, but in return I feel I got a myopic and reactionary conservative dishing out insults and assuming that, like himself, every other registered and trained person with a firearm is rational, qualified, and will handle a gun as responsibly and rationally as he.

    The fact is that, not unlike an automobile, guns are put into the hands of both responsible and irresponsible people. And even when a gun is in the possession of responsible people, it is not uncommon that an irresponsible person is able to get their hands on it and do harm. But that aside, there are too many cases of a responsible person with a gun making a horrible error in judgment that results in innocent lives lost.

    I would rather look through and beyond the symptoms of our social ills, getting nearer to understanding the root problems behind violent crime, one being the lack of parental qualifications many parents have before bringing a innocent child into this world. I would much rather get closer to the source of our problem, to encourage our public education system to adopt a policy of teaching our teens about the many challenges, sacrifices, responsibilities, expenses, and extensive planning inherent to raising a child. This, I think, would be equal to the importance of teaching our children about safe sex and abstinence as well as self-defense and first-aid techniques.

    Now allow me to challenge you on a few other points:

    You said, “For hundreds of years this country was safe.” I can safely assume that many other Americans – be they Native Americans, African Americans, Chinese Americans, women, blue collar workers, homosexuals, and more recently, Muslims – would boldly disagree with you on this point.

    Next, you said, “In the 1960’s we saw the dissolution of family, the brainwashing and deliberate dumbing down of America, an erosion of all of our constitutional rights, and the anti gun drumbeat echoed by YOU.” I’m afraid I wasn’t old enough in the 1960s to take personal responsibility for the anti-gun drumbeat. Nonetheless, as for the dissolution of the family and dumbing down of Americans, much of that can be blamed on the proliferation of anti-relationship building activities. These include, but are not limited to the mindless distractions, entertainment, and commercials provided through television, a divisive media that promotes an unchallenging and agenda driven viewpoint, families moving from the cities out to the suburbs, an infrastructural reliance on (and too much time spent in) the automobile, both parents being encouraged to work to support a typical Western consumer and material lifestyle, family members moving long distances from one another, our nutrition being increasingly derived from processed, modified, and fast foods, the dissolution of the extended family and a supportive surrounding community, and finally the ever changing definition of what the term “family” means.

    As a side note, when you mentioned the dissolution of the family, I think you meant a family of the “Nuclear” variety, which only existed, at least in a dominant sense, for twenty to thirty years. Prior to WWII families were more often considered multi-generational clans and tribes that lived in proximity to one another rather than being defined moreso by immediate blood ties.

    As for your comment about the erosion of the Constitution, Thomas Jefferson said, “No society can make a perpetual Constitution… The Earth belongs always to the living generation.” I would go two steps further to suggest that future generations and the generations of other living beings be given rights in this living Constitution. But this aside, one of these early erosions to the Constitution (being the Second Amendment) seems clear enough to me when stating, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” So though, out of context, it seems to give an individual the right to keep and bear Arms, I’m pretty sure that they are supposed to be part of a well regulated Militia (which would be our State’s National Guard. Besides this, I’m quite certain that by Arms our founding fathers were referring to one bullet muskets. By 1787’s standards, today’s weapons and ammunition might be comparable to Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Nonetheless, perhaps in the case of cities, like New Orleans, that are dealing with the already present effects of a broken system, a Citizen’s Guard should be established. This would be a pared down version of the National Guard, where a geographic district should be able to choose to form a collective of armed volunteer citizens who are thoroughly screened, trained, and made accountable to as well as actively part of a democratically elected city Militia oversight committee.

    Next, you mentioned “No criminal would dare have attacked Ms Hawk if he thought he would have been killed by armed neighbors or by her.” Perhaps some criminals might have had such a thought, but “no criminal”? I disagree. It is public knowledge that so many New Orleans resident already own and/or have guns in their possession. Did this function as a deterrent in Ms Hawk’s case? So, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator knew (or didn’t know) that Ms Hawk had a gun, assuming this was a sensible perpetrator, he might have considered the possibility that a gun might have come into play and been deterred. Secondly, if the perpetrator is a heavy drug or alcoholic user, it’s possible that he (if, in fact, it is a he) might not have had the foresight to consider his personal well being, or he might be so desensitized or indifferent as to not care if he was shot at. Thirdly, perhaps the person wasn’t a criminal prior to the moment of Ms Hawk’s murder. It may have been committed during a moment of impassioned anger or during a mentally ill episode.

    Regardless of the statistics, my common sense dictates that, irregardless to the words written by a few wealthy, old, white men on an ancient document, be it the Bible or the US Constitution, I believe that decisions made from fear result in hastily made decisions that may further provoke an even deadlier reaction. Confronting violence with more violence creates more problems and heartbreak than any family or community should have to deal with.

    Though 911 was on a completely different scale, and in retrospect, there are still many lessons to be learned, if it has taught Americans at least one thing, it should be that enormous decisions made in haste may result in some of the most horrible and long-lived of consequences.

    Anyhow, you asked for some facts, so though there are also many statistics that will back up your argument, here are a few to back up my assertions:

    “Less than 1% of all homicides among school-aged children (5-19 years of age) occur in or around school grounds or on the way to and from school.” (Centers for Disease Control, 1997)

    “American children are more at risk from firearms than the children of any other industrialized nation. In one year, firearms killed no children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany, 109 in France, 153 in Canada, and 5,285 in the United States.” (Centers for Disease Control)

    In 1995, Firearms accounted for 1,400 (1.5%) of fatal accidents, 181 were children 14 years or younger. (“ILA Research & Information Division Fact Sheet.” National Rifle Association of America – Institute for Legislative Action – Research & Information Division, 3/1/98. Source Cited: The National Center for Health Statistics.)

    “Faulty records enable terrorists, illegal aliens, and criminals to purchase guns. Over a two and a half-year period, at least 9,976 convicted felons and other illegal buyers in 46 states obtained guns because of inadequate records.” (Broken Records, Americans for Gun Safety Foundation)

    There is additional information at the following links:
    http://www.neahin.org/programs/schoolsafety/gunsafety/statistics.htm
    http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

    I also invite you to visit my online gallery at http://www.flickr.com/photos/culturesubculture/collections so that you and others know that I am one of those who is actively seeking to provide information about New Orleans’ recent struggles and its unique culture as well as participate, just like yourself, in a dialogue that will promote a tighter community and a safer New Orleans.

  30. PissedOffInOhio

    I can appreciate the debate between Litigator and Voice of Eye, and although I am an intelligent woman I will not use this comment to prove that by using advanced vocabulary in order to mask the fact that I have no solution for the crime problem in NOLA or anywhere else in the world. The statistical facts provided by Eye are important to remember, but the countries mentioned for comparison all have a much lower crime rate in general, so it’s only natural that the % of children involved in a firearm incident would be higher here in the US. Population is also important to consider….we have MORE people in the US than most of the countries listed….numbers are numbers…more people, more crime. It’s a huge subject to wrap the mind around and I agree that it needs quite a bit more attention, research, etc…however…I personally leave that up to the professionals and though many have spent years looking into the how’s and the why’s, we still have no solid solution or a decrease in crimes being commited…so while those of you stimulated and propelled by investigating and studying the deeper meaning behind it all are busy coming up with statistics (and still no resolution) I will be fending off criminals with any means neccessary. Your work will take years…mine will take a few seconds.
    You can spend the rest of your life with a team of experts investigating the root cause of criminal behavior but terrorists, illegal aliens and criminals will ALWAYS exist and will always be able to get a firearm…thank God I can too.
    You wrote:
    In 1995, Firearms accounted for 1,400 (1.5%) of fatal accidents, 181 were children 14 years or younger. (”ILA Research & Information Division Fact Sheet.” National Rifle Association of America ? Institute for Legislative Action ? Research & Information Division, 3/1/98. Source Cited: The National Center for Health Statistics.)

    First: This is an OLD number…I would venture to say it’s higher now, but when playing the debate game, I would personally want to use current stats. I’d be interested to know how many personal firearms were responsible for deterring and/or eliminating a threat. Owning and using a gun is a huge responsibility and it would also be interesting to know how many of these accidents were caused by guns that come from a responsible home.
    You wrote:
    Next, you mentioned “No criminal would dare have attacked Ms Hawk if he thought he would have been killed by armed neighbors or by her.” Perhaps some criminals might have had such a thought, but “no criminal”? I disagree. It is public knowledge that so many New Orleans resident already own and/or have guns in their possession. Did this function as a deterrent in Ms Hawk’s case? So, regardless of whether or not the perpetrator knew (or didn’t know) that Ms Hawk had a gun, assuming this was a sensible perpetrator, he might have considered the possibility that a gun might have come into play and been deterred. Secondly, if the perpetrator is a heavy drug or alcoholic user, it’s possible that he (if, in fact, it is a he) might not have had the foresight to consider his personal well being, or he might be so desensitized or indifferent as to not care if he was shot at. Thirdly, perhaps the person wasn’t a criminal prior to the moment of Ms Hawk’s murder. It may have been committed during a moment of impassioned anger or during a mentally ill episode.

    Very good point….but if Jessie had had a means of protection, she may still be with us. The “what if” isn’t easily debatable here on either side. Protection is a personal choice and being prepared is wise.

    Just my thoughts.

  31. Stafenie

    I want to take the time to say that Im sorry for some of the comments that I have said. I was venting, I don’t mean to make anyone mad. I do believe that people need to come together, and make a change. people need to stop killing people. Hate never solves anything. The worst part of me got the better of me. Im sorry, I am a better person than that. Im not going to go into violence to solve violence. These are just my thoughts, I am truely sorry.

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