LONSBERRY: Lovely's Deadly Year


        They shot him in the face.

               The Edison Tech boy, this morning, a little after 6:30, on Dewey Avenue.

               He got shot in the face. It came out his jaw.

               And minutes after his mom had sent him off to school, he stumbled back through the door, hemorrhaging from what’s left of his mouth, the first shooting of the day.

               Rochester, New York. Lovely A. Warren, mayor.

Where yesterday one guy got carjacked at gunpoint at a red light and another guy was found shot dead behind the wheel of his car. Maybe he didn’t give it up fast enough.

This will be the worst year ever for homicides in the city of Rochester.

Another three deaths, over the next two months, and a heartbreaking milestone will be passed. The reality is, it might be passed by the end of the weekend. Or by the end of the day.

               We are at 66, the guy in his car, on the way to 69, and there are yet doors to be knocked on, mothers’ hearts to be broken, street-side memorials to be raised. The blood will be spilt, the violence will grind on.

               Only three things are certain: death and taxes, and more death.

               It’s that way across urban America. A spike in homicides, especially among blacks, on city streets and in impoverished neighborhoods. With the same litany of reasons cited: Poverty, oppression, covid, hopelessness.

               And maybe those things are factors.

               But they can’t be blamed. At least not in Rochester.

               Because Rochester is different. Same challenges, different outcome.

Horribly different outcome.

The national urban homicide rate this year is up almost 30%. In Syracuse, it’s up 26%. In Albany and Buffalo, it’s up 36%. But in Rochester it’s up 117%.

               One hundred and seventeen percent.

               The homicide rate increase in Rochester this year is four times the national increase and almost five times the increase of its nearest big-city neighbor. And that neighbor, Syracuse, is a useful comparison because its concentration of poor people of color is even higher than Rochester’s.

               The difference is in the city’s leadership. When the wicked rule, the people mourn.

               It’s the Lovely Warren factor.

               Specifically, it’s the consequence of Lovely Warren’s cover up of the death of Daniel Prude and the upset that caused. Her foolish decision to hide that sad incident for months unlocked a floodgate of anti-police sentiment that raged in the streets of Rochester and smoldered in the hearts of its people.

               She might not acknowledge that, and it’s certainly not part of the progressive Rochester narrative, but it happens to be true. It almost happens to be undeniable.

               She’s the only variable.

               And the connection between anti-police protests and the violent surge of the year since is likewise undeniable. When every newscaster, athlete, politician and pop star tells you that the cops are bad, if affects your thinking, and that affects your doing.

               You couple that with Lovely Warren’s defund and demoralize the police approach – she fired the popular chief, cut the police budget by some $4.5 million, and crucifies every cop she can – and you get a 117% increase in homicides.

               When the police are over stretched and over regulated, the streets end up being under policed, and crime runs wild. You strangle the police department, and the city dies.

               As a teen-aged boy and his family learned this morning.

               A week after the president of the teachers union warned of the likelihood of tragedy in the district, a high school student came within two inches of having his brain pan transected by a hot piece of lead. As it is, who knows if he’ll ever be able to eat or talk right again. Five days after the school superintendent said that the police have no place in the schools, and called for more social workers and non-profits, and committees to pontificate on restorative justice and peace circles, a student was gunned down with his books in his hands.

               Because the schools aren’t safe and the streets aren’t safe and the sons and daughters of the city aren’t safe. Because the politicians are at war with the cops on behalf of the criminals. No bail, no parole violation, no teeth, no point. It’s the wild, wild west. The deadliest year in the history of the city.

               When the wicked rule, the people mourn.

Rochester, New York. Lovely A. Warren, mayor.


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