- The Washington Times - Monday, January 28, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

This past weekend four men were killed in the District.

Three of them were killed on the 1500 block of Fort Davis Place in Southeast, a two-way street that greets motorists and pedestrians alike: It’s a dead-end street.

All three men were shot multiple times, and the gunmen rifled through the pockets of one of the victims as he lay lifeless.

Residents were stunned by the gunfire and the bloodshed, as Fort Davis Place has been a very quiet street for decades (and I know because a friend of mine since childhood has raised her family there).



Interestingly, D.C. politicians pulled together the usual suspects — not the actual gunman, though. They took the opportunity to recite the anti-gun mantra.

Then the media fell in line. The weekend slayings brought the new year’s homicide count to 18, more than double the seven homicides during the same point in time in 2018.

Now, don’t be too alarmed. The nation’s capital, like urban areas in other regions, is hardly a stranger to gun violence but the deadly moniker of decades ago, “Murder Capital,” no longer applies. In fact, gun homicides in St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans and Kansas City are taking lives at higher rates, according to FBI data.

Still, D.C. officials have nothing to crow about. As Mayor Muriel Bowser said Sunday, “We have had too many gun crimes at the start of 2019 and already too many lives lost. Ending the violence is going to take more than just the efforts of MPD.”

In a similar Democratic vein, D.C. Council member Vincent Gray, who represents the Ward 7 neighborhoods where the four homicides occurred, said: “This weekend’s violent crimes are beyond tragic and intolerable. This weekend’s violence in Ward 7 and in other parts of the city underscores the need for increasing the number of police officers on our streets and in our neighborhoods. However, this has to be done responsibly, with officers who have been trained in and have an in-depth understanding of community policing. We need officers who know our neighborhoods, who are culturally competent and trained to provide intervention and preventive measures before disputes escalate to homicides.”

Even anti-gun enthusiasts can’t lob a cogent and reasoned argument with those policy talking points by the mayor and the lawmaker.

More, however, is needed, and it’s something Miss Bower and Mr. Gray and other policymakers should gin up as soon as possible to answer this question: What role should the religious community play in preventing crime?

We hold candlelight vigils after the fact, and that’s a very good thing.

Police beef up patrols after the fact, as they should.

The city doles out rewards, victim assistance and other taxpayer-based programs, and that’s OK.

But are city officials themselves afraid of religion? Spirituality? Afraid that their constituents might realize that they, too, answer to a higher — much higher — power?

The District’s elected leaders had no problem consulting men and women of the cloth to broker same-sex marriage. Indeed, the D.C. law was signed and celebrated inside a church. So, they wouldn’t be setting a precedent.

As a matter of fact, candidates for office often appear before congregations to push their political agendas.

Miss Bowser and Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham are working on a rolling crime-fighting agenda as you read this — and, yes, that’s a very good thing, too.

It’s just that while human beings are losing their lives amid long-playing anti-gun tunes, city leaders are ignoring the fact they sound more like the devil’s advocate and haven’t yet learned that the best and most effective preachers reach the ears of far more than the choir.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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