Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Ya Got Trouble. Right Here in River City, My Friend.

Yet another party weighs in on the downtown problems with "flexing," or what another generation called cruising. I've commented before on this already, here and here. But now John Thayer, of Special Events Management, who was commissioned by the Center City Commission acting for the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, has this to say (second letter):
Your article failed to articulate many of the more serious aspects
of Memphis's cruising scene. Some behavior by participants has
created an atmosphere of disorder and fear in a lot of people's
What?! "An atmosphere of disorder and fear in a lot of people's minds?" That describes most of Memphis, for heaven's sake! How about we address that first?

Groups of youths block intersections and jump on hoods of other
cars, while others rock the vehicles violently and make verbal
threats toward female occupants.

Other cruisers exit their cars and dance in the street. Challenging
and threatening words and gestures are exchanged by vehicle

Many cruisers violate laws on seatbelt use, open alcohol, illegal
lighting devices, loud music, reckless driving and belligerent and
offensive conduct.
I'm not excusing this kind of behavior, but how does it differ from most teenage wild behavior these days? Or from the past forty years, for that matter?

Read that first paragraph again. Does it conjure images of say...wild animals? Thayer goes on to cite an example of "African-American" youths with a white doll, blood-smeared, on their car grill. Why? One assumes, in conjunction with that paragraph noted, to rile up certain quarters. Can we assume that when college-football fans drive through town with their Rebel flags we can expect police to also stop this kind of behavior, with it's attendant "atmosphere of disorder and fear?" Probably not....

Nowhere in his letter does Mr. Thayer mention any crime statistics, or list any actual crimes against people committed. All he has is a vague "threat," an "atmosphere of disorder and fear," and more vague warnings about "reputation and desirability."

And, for the third time, nowhere is it mentioned that all this activity happens right below the snooty noses of some very wealthy and powerful people living up on the Bluffs. Folks powerful enough to get the Center City Commission and the Crime Commission to spend hard-to-find dollars on this silly study.

When white kids did it over the past forty years, it was called "rowdy." When black kids do it today, it's "disorder and fear."

Until next time, that is all.
Your Working Boy

No comments: