Last summer, in the run-up to the mayoral election in Indianapolis, then-Mayor Bart Peterson was widely assailed by critics for the astonishing murder rate in Marion County. The critics were largely Greg Ballard backers.
Well, here we are one year later, and the murder count in Marion County is once again astonishing. As of yesterday, 22 days, 15 murders, one associated suicide. Link to Indy Star article on the latest atrocity, with list of July homicides.
So, one new mayor really doesn't make a difference.
I'm sure there will be some petty partisan sniping, regarding the failure of the new Mayor to reverse the course. Certainly the Peterson critics set the table for that. But it wouldn't be any different today had Peterson been re-elected, had Libertarian Fred Peterson been elected instead, or had Ghandi been resurrected and made mayor.
There is a mindset within Marion County, and other major American urban centers that says that violence is the answer to problems. That has to change.
I am not calling for the banning of guns. Removing the legality around the ownership of a particular piece of machinery does not change the mindset. Besides, as we saw in Washington DC, guns were still being used in the commission of crimes there. DC's ban failed to make it a safer place.
I am not calling for the banning of hip-hop, which often glorifies gun violence. Removing the music and videos won't eliminate the angst and dissatisfaction in the minds of those who turn to violence Besides, even societies who explicitly have been in command of their people, such as the Soviet Bloc, had underground avenues through which counter-cultural materials were obtained.
This is going to require an unravelling of what made the mindset in the urban center. That is a task of such broad reach, that it's not worth going on in depth in with a blog post. I must confess that I am not part of the solution. I fled the city. (Not just Indy, but Cleveland before.) It's far easier to just vote with your feet and get out, especially when you feel like you have ideas to contribute that are rejected out of hand.
I don't see it getting better in Indy any time soon. The election of a new Mayor and a new majority in the City-County Council is not akin to the waving of a magic wand.