2008-02-01 / Letters

Poor Political Response

Dear Editor,

If someone from outside of the Rockaway's were to pick up and read the January 25 copy of The Wave, they might have been scratching their heads just before they got out of town as quickly as they could. Cover stories ("Teen, 13 and 15 Charged In Redfern Slay," or "33 Busted in Open Air Drug Market,") were scary enough, but what might have sent them running even faster was the "reaction"' by local elected officials.

Surely after such events, our elected "leaders" would be calling for stricter laws or greater enforcement powers for police to protect the lives of the Peninsula's residents. But sadly, this was not the case.

Councilman James Sanders, representing the area where two teenagers were alleged to have shot another in cold blood, summoned all the powers of his office to write a letter to the Housing Authority blaming the poor lighting conditions for "adding fuel to the violence in the area." It wasn't the proliferation of guns and drugs on the streets in the hands of out-of-control kids, councilman, it was lack of lighting that was partly the blame.

After reading about the dozens of arrest for dealing drugs in the Hammels area, one could turn a few pages to read about Councilman Joseph Addabbo's push to ensure defibrillators are placed in our local libraries or Assemblywoman Pheffer's column regarding how a dangerous website could be used to find people's homes based on their phone number (for years, couldn't someone just look up an address in the phone book and a map to find them?), Why is this new web feature even an issue?

One local group responded with a proposed "day of healing" to instill the power of "healing and hope."

I know these people mean well, and defibrillators and privacy are important and merit consideration but it seems that in the general scheme of things, we ought to be spending some time keeping our proverbial eyes on the ball.

Maybe our City and State representatives should be expending all of their energies persuading and voting in their chambers to keep what occurred on page 9 from happening again. Another local "kid" after being arrested and convicted for "marijuana possession, two separate weapons possession convictions and rape," was let out of jail for another rape in less than a few years and wasted no time (less than ten days) shooting three other kids, killing two of them.

To our officials: what about mandatory minimum sentences for multiple weapons possession convictions or life in jail without parole for a string of violent convictions for illegal weapons possession and rapes, or the hiring of more police officers and prosecutors specifically charged with concentrating on the small number of kids who are making life unbearable for the majority of people in Rockaway? What about child endangerment charges for parents who don't know their middle school-aged child is out in the middle of the night carrying a loaded weapon? Maybe if we were all issued flashlights, Councilman Sanders?


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