Monday, July 7, 2014

Dodge City on the Central Canal

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Seven shootings in Broad Ripple.

No, make that seven more shootings in Broad Ripple. As the Indianapolis Star reminded us over the weekend, four people were shot on Broad Ripple Avenue eleven months ago.

David Hoppe
  • David Hoppe
There’s really nothing new to be said about the now-chronic gun violence ripping at Indianapolis. A day after the Broad Ripple shootings, an Indianapolis cop, Perry Renn was killed in a gun fight on 34th Street by someone carrying an assault rifle.

But if there’s nothing new to be said about what seems to be the city’s new normal, there is certainly plenty to think about. Here’s a sampling of what went through my head while reading the Star’s weekend coverage, a story by John Tuohy and Tim Evans titled “Will 7 shootings bring changes to Broad Ripple?” on Sunday morning.

“Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said people carrying weapons are too quick to use them to settle minor skirmishes.”

So much for the NRA’s contention that more guns make us safer. But I’m sure that from now on some folks will make a point of packing when going to Broad Ripple for a night on the town.

“Rob Sabatini, who owns three bars on Broad Ripple Avenue, said friction in Broad Ripple is mostly caused by people who come to the area ‘and loiter in the street rather than going into the businesses.’”

Some people loiter. Some people hang out. Some are just pedestrians passing through. It’s a city, it’s a scene. If everyone who went to Broad Ripple dove straight into a bar or restaurant, the place would look like a ghost town.

“Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Mayor Greg Ballard, said there were plenty of police officers on the strip.”

Which doesn’t seem to count for much when you have a population that’s young, armed, and drunk. I remember talking to Mayor Ballard before he was first elected. He was standing at the scene of a shooting at 38th and Meridian and said he was going to get the criminals off our streets…

“’There are larger societal issues about why this occurs,’ Lotter said.”

So I guess we shouldn’t hold it against Ballard that things seem worse, not better. It’s society’s fault! What a relief.

“Officials have attributed the increase in homicides to a number of reasons, including a rising use of heroin, a huge number of people leaving jails and prisons, a high poverty rate and too many households with no strong authority figures.”

That’s right: All of these things are happening at once. Seems like a pretty combustible mixture. So what do we do? Add guns and stir. But wait, I forgot: Guns make us safer!

Apparently there is now talk about closing Broad Ripple Avenue to cars on certain nights, making the street a kind of pedestrian Mall of Inebriation. This way people with weapons will be less likely to bump into one another.

And maybe bars will start requiring patrons to check their guns at the door.

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David Hoppe

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