Flipping through one of our favorite downstate tabloids the other day, we learned that it took a gunman shooting five people and leaving a community on edge for Buffalo’s imbelic mayor, Byron Brown, to realize that his city is suffering from a surge in homicides and general decline in public safety (as of this writing, the total murders to date for 2009 stand at 36 in mid-August, while the total number for all of 2008 was 38).
An article in the Aug. 6 edition of Newsday contains some stunning news delivered in the printed-word equivalent of deadpan: A day after a mass shooting in a distressed city neighborhood left two people dead, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown returned to the scene, bringing along crews to clean up overgrown and debris-strewn lots and paint over graffiti. Police closed off the street as dozens of workers from the city, Erie County and community groups tackled the job. Brown said he wanted to show the city's support for residents on the street, where abandoned homes have been scrawled with gang-related graffiti, "Die" and other messages. "We want to say to the irresponsible property owners and the criminal element that we're going to crack down with all the legal forces available to us," Brown said.
Now, we here at Niagara Times were left asking some obvious questions by all this, namely, Why the hell didn’t Byron show his support for residents before people got shot? And, the best he can come up with is spray-painting over graffiti?
And yet we still managed to find someone even more horribly misguided—no, make that stupid—than Byron Brown:
Darnell Jackson, a former gang member turned community activist, says the community needs to speak up with one voice.
"Until all of us come together and demand accountability on this HUD money and the economic stimulus money that is supposed to be headed to our community, we are going to continue to have these problems," he added.
In Byron Brown’s Buffalo, the root cause of crime isn’t criminals, it’s graffiti and a lack of stimulus money. After all, that much Krylon costs a lot of money.
We wish we could recommend a solution straight out of Escape from New York, but building a wall around Buffalo is a bit draconian.
But only a bit.