City Desk

Bryan Weaver on Jamal Coates

Ward One community activist Bryan Weaver has been all over the news lately schooling every reporter parachuting into his neighborhood on Jamal Coates, the recent history of crew-related shooting deaths, and the entrenchment of these crews in Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. Today, Weaver wrote his own essay on Coates for Greater Greater Washington in which he highlighted what he sees as the District's lackluster response to gang violence:

"The point being made in article after article is that last week's murder happened in the rapidly gentrifying part of the city. But we can't coffee-shop and bike-lane our way out of this tragedy. There are still numerous people in DC who have degenerated to the point of expressing dissent through murder and haven't learned to disagree without becoming violently disagreeable, no matter where they live. But my hope is that the people who use those coffee shops and bike lanes can and will be the change — if they care enough to do so...

We must demand accountability from our elected leaders, not just sound bites for the 6pm news. The last thing we need is another blue-ribbon panel/commission/taskforce/coffee klatch on how to the fix the problems plaguing our young people and ultimately our city. We need real action.

We need people who are really willing to look at our system and fix it, from how we educate our children to how we adjudicate them. The solutions to our public safety problems need to be enforceable and long-term. Blanket ideas like civil injunctions and curfews, that are not well thought-out, can't be the only solution."

With budget cuts and hiring freezes coming, there will surely be more Jamal Coates stories. The question is what does the city do with the resources it does have.

Coates' funeral is tomorrow at King Emmanuel at 11 a.m.

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  • joan

    ask Ron Moten

  • Skipper

    More taxes is the solution!

  • Jason Cherkis

    yay! jokes! Thank you so much.

  • DCexpat

    Since we just reelected Phil Mendelson, nothing will change unless he's removed from the Cmte on Public Safety / Judiciary. He doesn't have to deal with crime directly and thinks these are unavoidable and minor problems in the city. The best step right now would be to pressure Kwame Brown to assign another chair to that Cmte, which is unlikely by my count.

    Just review the legislative calendar for the last several years, crime almost never comes up. Its just not a priority for our leadership, and a crime crackdown would present the specter of a lot of black men going to jail, which is politically unpalatable.

    This is why so many choose VA and MD over DC, the crime that is "normal" in DC is cause for crisis response a few miles away.

  • JM

    Well, I think many of us using the bike lanes and coffee-shops have pretty well written off the bottom rung of the city. We've given them forty years of free schooling, free clinics, job training, recreation centers, Head Start, housing vouchers, and so on. Nothing takes. I have better ways of spending my time then trying fruitlessly to intervene in the lives of all the junior thugs in my neighborhood. I'd rather elect someone who is willing to toss them into prison and take away their housing voucher. What happens to them after that? I don't really care.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    So what do you suggest then Cherkis? How can we solve this fantasically simply problem that Weaver identifies?
    More blogging? Let's solve the City's problems by sharing blurbs, having them dissected, and then criticizing the dissectors. Solid.

  • John

    Jason: Seriously, what is supposed to be done? More taxes and spending? We already drop serious cash into DCPS, and various and sundry programs...and we still have this. Shoot for the #1 $ to student ratio vs the 3rd? (If I remember the numbers correctlty.).

    This is a problem without a nice clean simple solution.

  • noodlez

    That was a great piece by Mr Weaver.

    Jay-Jay don't be so sensitiv! Just continue to do your thing by shedding light on the subject and hope the freezes by the soon to be former mayor dont cut more programs to send more young folk spiraling outta control.

  • Reid

    Wow what an insulting non-sequeter. I could just as easily say we can't city park our way out of this mess. But it would be nonsense because it's not as if proponents of city parks are making the argument that city parks will reduce gang violence. They, like coffee shops and bike lanes, are just good things in their own right. Weaver's attempt to play the gentrification card in this manner is hamfisted and insulting. I don't quibble with his underlying message but that sentence was unnecessarily antagonizing and makes me less interested in listening to his further thoughts.

  • Rick Mangus


    To: All Low life simple ass DC Scum

    Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 11am

    Place: King Emmanual

    You can bring you homey, hoop-tee and 40 oz., weapons and drugs of choice.

    Bryan Weaver and Jason Cherkis will be on hand for a good liberal ass kissing as well.

  • downtown rez

    If we are now spending 1/3 of our entire budget on human services- and that is not counting all the money we spend on schools (provide opportunity!) and parks (provide healthy out of school activities!)- what else is there to do besides make sure that 1/3 is spent in the most effective possible way? Remember that everything except school- government ops, police and fire, DPW and DDOT- everything- was cut more than human services.
    Hate on Peacaholics all you want, but the idea behind it was, essentially, to foster a professional corpse of mentors drawn from the population they are supposed to serve.
    In the end, any improvements will need come from more efficient service delivery.