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.