Carlos Venson, 31, was shot to death on the streets of West Oakland early Sunday morning, just ten blocks from where I live. Mr. Venson, a convicted cocaine dealer, was on felony probation and a stay-away order. An earlier newspaper report that Mr. Venson was on curfew is apparently incorrect and the Tribune will set the record straight tomorrow.
Had he been home with his family, under a curfew, he might be alive today.
Yesterday, National Public Radio ran an excellent piece by Richard Gonzalez on the subject of the curfew. I encourage you to hear it.
February 28, 2005 | Permalink
Venson's death is the fifth homicide in Oakland in 2005. This time last year there were 18 killings. ---
Proof is in the pudding. I would call a 72% decrease in murder a startling success.
Vindication for your policy. Good work Jerry.
Posted by: papertiger | Feb 28, 2005 12:32:24 PM
What parolees and probationers need are not more restrictions and more opportunities to send them back to prison, but help and assistance reintegrating into society.
People such as Mr. Venson don't sell cocaine cause they think it's fun or glamorous or something to do on the weekends - they sell it to survive, to get by. They've been cast aside by society, especially after getting out of prison. Who's going to hire a coke dealer? So what other options do they have but to go back to the streets? Does putting them under house arrest help them with their problems?
That is what All of Us or None and Critical Resistance are protesting. You need to help these people instead of scapegoating them. Your spokesman said, "If you know any felons who need work, send them our way. If we can't hire them, we'll find someone who can." Are you going to live up to that promise on Wednesday when unemployed parolees and probationers show up at City Hall?
Posted by: scott | Feb 28, 2005 12:52:39 PM
"What parolees and probationers need are not more restrictions and more opportunities to send them back to prison, but help and assistance reintegrating into society."
Perhaps they blew their free pass by being a criminal - go out, get a job - even if it's flipping burgers - and WORK your way back into decent society. This gimme gimme victim mentality is beyond ridiculous.
"People such as Mr. Venson don't sell cocaine cause they think it's fun or glamorous or something to do on the weekends - they sell it to survive, to get by."
Are you kidding me?
Well, on second thought, you're probably right. Those 20" spinners are a tad spendy.
"They've been cast aside by society, especially after getting out of prison."
Solution? DON'T GO TO PRISON!
"Who's going to hire a coke dealer?"
That falls squarely into the "not my problem" category. Again, there's a very simple solution - don't be a coke dealer. I have worked some of the worst, soul-sucking crappy jobs to "get by" in my life and managed to do that without selling even one gram of coke.
I must be special.
"So what other options do they have but to go back to the streets?"
Hard work, shelving their pimp-daddy egos and doing the things necessary to slowly but surely integrate back into society.
"Does putting them under house arrest help them with their problems?"
Wow, what kind of twisted upbringing did you have? Everyone is a victim, everybody is "owed." Nonsense. If you choose to be a criminal, you also choose to accept the possible consequences. House arrest is one of the lesser consequences.
In short, society owes you nothing - especially if you've chosen to piss your life away as a coke dealer.
It's a simple formula - work hard, stay out of prison, take advantage of the unprecented opportunities available to you as an American citizen and stop groveling for a handout.
The victim mentality is ludicris.
Posted by: SmugMonkey | Feb 28, 2005 1:35:06 PM
Jerry, keep up the good work. The curfew is a good thing. There is no reason why these criminals need to be out running around between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
You are on the right track. Anything that can be done about car break-ins at near West Oakland BART?
Posted by: Thomas Hawk | Feb 28, 2005 1:37:30 PM
That murder occurred about 5 blocks from my pregnant wife's art studio.
We drive into that neighborhood all the time. The crack dealers are out openly dealing on these blocks:
I was mugged on 34th and MLK 2 years ago. Day after my birthday, in fact. At noon.
I would invite Scott to live and work in the neighborhood. His acceptance of drug dealers on the corners might change a bit.
The dealers are a blight on the neighborhood. They are career criminals, gangbangers, thieves, pimps and worse.They keep honest poor people from enjoying a warm evening walking around the block, from starting up a business (why run a corner shop, when you're going to be robbed every other week?), from doing things that other, more fortunate Oakland residents take for granted.
Why do you, Scott, support house arrest for the honest working poor people of Oakland?
And if the ex-cons want to work, there ARE programs for them to stay clean and find work. They've had their chances, and too many of them CHOOSE to go back to dealing, stealing, and worse. And I don't see why we should have sympathy for people who CHOSE to make crime their job.
Posted by: David | Feb 28, 2005 2:07:08 PM
"People such as Mr. Venson don't sell cocaine cause they think it's fun or glamorous or something to do on the weekends - they sell it to survive, to get by."
No, people such as Mr. Venson don't sell cocaine at all. He's dead, you know.
Under a curfew, he might be alive today. But, he wasn't and he's not. Aren't you glad he had the freedom to go get himself shot? I wonder if he had a chance to get high before he was gunned down. I'd hate to think that he got capped without excercising his right to smoke some crack. Aren't you glad that mean old Mayor Brown wasn't violating his rights while trying to make the streets of Oakland livable?
Jerry is saving lives. Find a way to work with him, not against him.
Posted by: Pablo | Feb 28, 2005 4:12:23 PM
From what I understand ex-felons are discrminated against in a number of federal programs, not that there is many left. IN particular, I think HUD (OHA) possibly Pell grants (those being cut too. I guess though there is always the military--you know, go to a foreign country and meet other people as the propaganda goes and then Uncle Sam might pay for your college education if you manage to come back alive. Seriously, a lot of union jobs are not open to ex-cons either. I don't know how many employers in fact welcome ex-cons. These people who say there is work, could they please list the employers who hire ex-cons?
And for those who say don't go to prison in the first place, there are more people in prison today than ever in our history before. Is this do solely to moral failure, and if so, what is the solution to correct these moral failures who come from dysfunctional homes and have "parents" who rely on their children to deal drugs in order to pay their bills?
Lastly, now that Bush as called America a Christian country, where is the Christian spirit of redemption, repentance, foregiveness and hope?
Posted by: Contrarian | Feb 28, 2005 4:46:28 PM
You have way too much intelligence and common sense to be Mayor of Oakland. How did you ever get elected by that Berserkeley crowd?
Posted by: Freedom Fan | Feb 28, 2005 4:57:12 PM
l5 million children in this country live below official poverty line according to l996 U.S. census figures.
One out of every four children live in poverty; 48% of all poor people are children.
President Bush will not be giving more money to Leave No Child Behind but instead will be cutting more educational programs that support children in school.
Question: Where do you think these children will end up? With Pixar or the Alameda County Juvenile Hall?
Posted by: Factman | Feb 28, 2005 5:08:41 PM
Felons cannot join the military. The volunteer military is not a welfare agency.
"One out of every four children live in poverty; 48% of all poor people are children."
How about if you turned into linkman? By your figures there is one child one adult relationship? So each unwed mother or otherwise single parent that meets the poverty level criteria only has one child? Give me a break!
Posted by: jreid | Feb 28, 2005 7:18:54 PM
Question about the definition of "poor", as it was not too many years ago I was in that classification. I wonder what the poverty rate it and relative to other countries how we stack up. Just to summarize, my parents were liberal democrats and I grew up during the civil rights era. I was of course oblivious to the drama going on being too young to notice, but my parents never talked politics that I remember. The only time they discussed anything political was during Watergate and I remember my mother commenting about how she thought Ford could speak without reading a prepared text. Other than that they were always democrats. I voted for Reagan when I could vote, pretty much just based on how I felt about him as a person. I guess what I am thinking out loud is if you do not have any political history, what makes you vote one way or the other seems to be how you personally like the candidate. Does that make any sense and yes I know I have wondered away from the article a bit?
Posted by: jlfintx | Feb 28, 2005 7:46:07 PM
What does any of that have to do with my questions? You have not "wandered away from the article' you never came close. If you want to post your thoughts feel free but don't direct them to me.
I am questioning "factman"'s sources. He posted facts that I find exaggerated if not false.
Posted by: jreid | Feb 28, 2005 8:37:16 PM
We need more police/people on the streets, and more patrolling. That's it. We need more African American police officers and we can also deputize older folks to patrol the neighborhood, give 'em a patrol car and a radio.
A curfew is good. We can do better.
Posted by: Rafael | Feb 28, 2005 10:07:12 PM
http://www.answers.com/topic/united-states-prison-population (Wikipedia source) and many others.
U.S. has one of the highest numerical prison populations with 57% incarcerated in federal prison for drug use. This site states our imprisoned population is 5-8X higher than Canada or Western European countries.
Straight Dope source email@example.com also has some interesting comparisons of U.S. prison population with those of totalitarian countries which are the only ones leading us.
There are many sources available and tons of published articles citing that there are more children born into poor homes today than every before. The U.S. in other words is going backwards not forwards.
Also,just read Sunday's newspapers about Bill Gates at the Governors' Conference talking about the 30% or higher high school dropout rate and the fact that high school students are unprepared for work in todays workworld and fail to have basic skills upon graduation.
The bottom line is why are we seeing a great leap in actual numbers of those incarcerated between l990 and 2005? Are we a country of "moral failures"?
The same goes for children born into poverty. The statistics re more poor children are incontrovertible. If you don't like mine, go find or post your own.
But you are ducking the question of WHY the absolute numbers of poor children and incarcerated population is rapidly expanding in the U.S., land of the free, home of the brave?
Posted by: Factman | Feb 28, 2005 10:35:03 PM
"All of Us or None and Critical Resistance, two local anti-prison groups, have announced plans to protest against the curfew on the steps of City Hall this Wednesday at 11 a.m."
Maybe they'd have a bigger impact if they protested *after* the curfew kicks in.
Oh, they're probably afraid to be on the streets at that time of night because they're scared of the criminals they're trying to unleash upon society.
Posted by: Kevin | Feb 28, 2005 10:51:05 PM
"President Bush will not be giving more money to Leave No Child Behind but instead will be cutting more educational programs that support children in school. Question: Where do you think these children will end up? With Pixar or the Alameda County Juvenile Hall?"
I'm confused. Are you concerned about the children or about blaming Bush?
Posted by: Fen | Mar 1, 2005 12:18:30 AM
Who shot Carlos Venson and why? Is there a link to the (accurate) story? Why would he be on curfew? And am I supposed to weep for him?
Posted by: nora | Mar 1, 2005 6:54:47 AM
So this account is incorrect?
Posted by: nora | Mar 1, 2005 7:10:40 AM
Your statistics are (perhaps) incontrovertible regarding children in poverty, but that's only because they're dependent on an ever-changing definition of poverty. Jesse Jackson will tell you to feel sorry for yourself if you don't have high speed internet access in your home.
As for crime, which is more of what this post is about, do you believe poor people are natural criminals? Is there some "incontrovertible" evidence that proves poor people are criminals? There are plenty of honest, hard-working "poor" people in Oakland who would like nothing more than to get these junkies and dealers off their neighborhood streets. You whine about the incarceration rate--but it's the single most important factor that has caused the rapid decline in crime rates across the country in the years since 1992.
Drug dealing is not just another career choice. It's a choice to enter into a criminal world of theft, assault, prostitution and murder. It's not a "victimless" crime.
Oh, and Kenny. Read LGF once in awhile instead of just spouting what some Lefties have to say about it. Or show a little less hypocrisy and try criticizing the new DNC chairman Howard Dean: "I hate Republicans and all they stand for."
Posted by: David | Mar 1, 2005 8:21:16 AM
Lets not start on LGF again, thank you.
Nora, Venson wasn't on curfew, but I bet his killer was.
Posted by: papertiger | Mar 1, 2005 10:33:41 AM
You should heed the comments of David above, describing hoodlums on MLK and 34th area. He sounds like a good man. I know for a fact there are many like him, who are prevented from fulfilling even modest aspirations, because of white liberal policies of coddling hoodlums.
The curfew is a good idea.
Posted by: Bob Flynn | Mar 1, 2005 10:41:51 AM
That has to be the secret of Jerry's success in politics.
It's the name. Everybody feels like they know him personally. Willie Brown is just as well known, but nobody calls him Willie.
There is just something about the name, Jerry.
Correct me if I'm wrong but do you remember ever refering to him as Governor Brown? Nope - it was always Jerry.
Posted by: papertiger | Mar 1, 2005 5:28:59 PM
A convicted dealer?
Hey, I don't have a problem with convicted drug dealers going out late at night and shooting each other. Saves on prison costs.
Posted by: Iguana | Mar 1, 2005 5:54:38 PM
The curfew is a non-solution. It will be good for Jerry's attorney general run; and various windbags who don't live in neighborhoods where people get shot will claim that he's getting tough with criminals; and this is what Oakland needs.
The problems in Oakland are a lot deeper these phony legalistic moves. Drive through the poor parts of Oakland. Check out the lower bottoms. A curfew aint gonna stop people from killing each other and the working poor will continue to suffer their sufferings.
Posted by: drydock | Mar 1, 2005 6:54:19 PM
...But if less people die on the streets of Oakland, drydock, the curfew may be seen as part of a solution. From what I understand, the curfew is just one of many smart techniques Oakland is using to curb violent crime.
It is true that the working poor suffer. They do not suffer less, however, when their streets are run by the law of the drug thugs instead of the law of the people. I lived in West Oakland for years (several homicides within a few blocks) and the problem in Oakland is not enforcement -- it's a lack thereof. Many brutal individuals with guns feel free to stand on the corner at all hours dealing, mugging and disturbing, and when the police step up the heat, the Birkenstock liberal white dreadlocked latte crowd screeches "injustice!"
Posted by: West O Windbag | Mar 1, 2005 8:38:02 PM
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