June 07, 2008

Bad Blogger

There is so much going on in Hartford these days, and much of it not so good, and I have not been blogging about any of it. Bad blogger. I've been wrapped up in my own life - which has been full, challenging, and complicated.

First, the hit-and-run accident on Park Street which has gained national attention, especially the videotaped reaction of the passersby and pedestrians. It's a horrific thing that happened, and you know, the initial accident, caused by folks in souped up cars playing GTA on the streets of Hartford, is, IMHO, completely a police issue, Chief Roberts be damned. People playing their music at ear splitting levels, public drinking, zoning violations, driving illegally outfitted or unregistered vehicles, street racing, speeding, riding crotch-rockets at high speeds, riding pocket bikes on city streets, parking illegally - all of these things are quality of life issues which the police should be addressing. And although I think the Zipster is a little over the top in terms of anger and frustration at some local quality of life issues in our neighborhood, it's also true that the police almost never deal with these issues without repeated requests.

And I do put the blame for this both in the police department's hands as well as the mayor's office. Because I do think Mayor Perez knows from whence his support comes, and if he were to start enforcing some of these quality of life issues, his popularity would wane. Hartford is not that big a city, and I have to believe that a lot of folks are connected to the home-grown mayor and police chief by as little as 2 or 3 degrees of separation that might drive a little leniency. I wonder how often these assholes have gotten pulled over and let go, because driving too fast, having an illegal car, driving recklessly is not THAT big a deal and besides. Well this time, it was.

As far as the pedestrians - well, I am of several minds about that. The fact is that a number of people *did* call 9-1-1, so the characterization of the city as uncaring is not accurate. And there is a certain shock value with something like that - you cannot believe it happened, it takes a minute or two to react unless one is trained in law enforcement, medicine, emergency services, etc. I will say that there is a certain "none of my business" aspect to living in a city, with gangs and crime rampant. I've certainly driven by what looks like a drug deal going down, and not phoned it in. Is it just a person in a funky neighborhood coming out to greet a friend in a car, or is it drugs? Hard to know, and I'm sensitive to my own cultural biases. And if I drive by an accident or incident where there are already onlookers there, I rarely stop in the middle of the street. I'm not trained to help, I'll call 9-1-1 if I don't see anyone on a cell phone, but pretty much all I can do is stop and gawk, and that's not helping anyone.

Yeah, it looks pretty shitty for the city. My prayers go out for the victim of this, and other recent crimes. And maybe, just maybe, this will be the catalyst for change both within the cities residents and the city government and law enforcement.

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