Skip to comments.Block-thrower damages car & shakes activist's view of Sarasota [or liberal meets concrete block]
Posted on 05/05/2006 8:01:45 AM PDT by dukeman
On April 12, a Wednesday, a boulder-size concrete block was hurled at my car as I passed the Janie Poe public-housing complex on Central Avenue in Sarasota's Newtown. [The predominantly black neighborhood north of downtown.]
It narrowly missed the windshield and, after swerving out the way of oncoming traffic, I hotheadedly pulled a U-turn back toward the 15 or so youths -- who appeared to be 12- to 18-year-olds -- standing in front of and just beyond the wall of an apartment at the edges of Janie Poe. I turned into 23rd Street and called 911, and several of the youths came at the car with a barrage of smaller rocks. This time I did not think twice about speedily getting out of there. The 911 dispatcher told me to go home and that an officer would be there to take a report if I chose.
Awhile later at home, after yet another call to 911 by my husband, wondering where the officers were, two patrolmen showed up. I hurriedly explained the incident, thinking that we would drive back to the scene and that I would show them the where and who of it all. Instead, the officers admonished me for having been on Central in the first place. Their solution was for me never to drive on Central again and instead stay on U.S. 41, where I belonged. Perhaps misunderstanding that our similar skin colors suggested that we were of one mind, one said that if Janie Poe were to catch on fire overnight it wouldn't be a bad thing. Coincidentally, as we stood there, a radio call came in saying a police car was under attack on the same corner by youths throwing boulders.
The officers wrote all of it off to criminal mischief. I liken it more to assault with a deadly weapon. The cinder block was not simply tossed from beyond a wall; my car was singled out by a youth who ran up to and alongside it and hurled the block purposefully, leaving a crater on the hood.
Until then my daily trek along Central had been a benign journey home, but the incident has shaken my sense of where and why I live here. I can't ignore the irony of this incredibly philanthropic city, which lulls us into a false sense of security that life is so good in Sarasota and aren't we all doing a lot for the community?
I don't operate in a vacuum, and it's bad enough that if I ever wanted to buy drugs in this town, or pay for sex, I wouldn't have to think twice about exactly which corner I should head to, passing it every day as I head downtown.
But sadly, Janie Poe is just one sharp example of the rampant income inequality in Sarasota,and the boulder-throwing an illustration of the complexities we face throughout our community. I've seen various politicians show up at Janie Poe for photo-ops in recent years, and I've read about the wretched conditions the residents face. Recently, I had read an article in West Coast Woman about Valerie Buchand, a community activist who works tirelessly for the rights of Janie Poe residents. So I called her.
Ms. Buchand said policing in and around Janie Poe has been a problem for years, and wondered "who the police are working for." She said that the laws should be for everyone, and that they \[the police\] could care less what happens within the environs of the public-housing project and that if this happened on Lido Key the response would be anything but nonchalant. Ms. Buchand hardly condoned the acts of the children, saying that if their mothers knew what they were up to, they would take them to task. She urged me to speak up about what happened.
I'm aware of the good work that the relatively new police Chief Peter Abbott is doing since his arrival in late 2002. So I called him and reached his assistant, who was duly dismayed at the incident. I offered to send along a draft of this missive for his response, rather than elicit a reaction after the fact. She seemed appreciative, but I have received no reply.
My first reaction is to indict law enforcement; the police are supposed to uphold the law, not make excuses based on where one drives. What on earth is going to happen when Wal-Mart opens on U.S. 301? Will people need to avoid Janie Poe and circumnavigate that part of town because the police would prefer that the project burned rather than participate in real policing to keep all our neighborhoods safe?
But for me it's clearly only part of the problem. Why should it be unsafe to drive on any road in Sarasota at midday, and why are these children growing up in an environment where the pastime of throwing rocks into traffic is OK?
I've been thru Sarasota a few times over the years.
I didn't even know there was a black area of Sarasota!
Wasn't it in Sarasota that somebody tried to run over a congresswoman?
'Cause air-headed Liberals have been setting social policy for about 40 or 50 years.
Nothing seems to focus her mind. A breezeblock on the bonnet and she's STILL groping for such tropes as societal causes and the whole cycle of poverty.
Recalls to mind talking to Boca Raton cops about 'Pearl City'....Their remarks were someting like-----Throw a bunch of guns 'over the wall' and let them kill each other...and that was nigh on to 20 years ago!...Things Change??? Nah...
...and there you have it.
Facts are facts. Liberal minds like this are one of the reasons she has places like this in her town.
She in fact should use some common sense and avoid those areas of town, while at the same time realizing that she needs to support hard nosed, conservative representatives and police chiefs who are then free to address such areas, holding the people who are "throwing the block parties" responsible for their actions and incarcerating them.
No, she should indict the criminals, not law enforcement, for such incidents, and then indict herself for ham stringing law enforcement with officials who do not address the real issues...instead making them worse with their liberal, blame someone else, we want it all now, attitudes.
Actually, she doesn't seem to have learned very much. I don't expect her to be voting Republican any time soon. As for quoting one of the police officers talking about the project burning down, I think she's an ungrateful b**** to put that out in public and probably get the officer in trouble, when he was only being frank about police policy. He doesn't make policy, I'm sure, and his honesty shouldn't be used to get him into trouble.
Florida-worst state ever! A few years ago a teacher from Alabama was killed vacationing in Florida by some thugs who THREW A BOWLING BALL on her car from an overpass. It went through the windshield and she was killed instantly. They were juveniles, probably out by now.
Not to worry, one of your most hated ideals, CAPITALISM, will force a cleanup of the whole neighborhood.
The rest of us have known for years that your most treasured insitution, BIG GOVERNMENT, is far too weak and ineffective.
But in your heart, you knew that too. Stop lying to youself, and others.
The solution to this problem seems a no brainer....no pun intended.
Notice that she didn't say "parents" or, heaven forbid, "fathers."
Hello and welcome to reality...
This was a good article until I got to this sentence. I don't think "income inequality" is really the issue here, and I don't think the problem is incredible complex either. The problem is moral, not economic.
Definition of a Conservative, is a Liberal that's been mugged.
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