Time to End Politically Correct Neglect of Gang Activity

Now will they take Ald. Thuy Pham-Remmele seriously?

If the shooting death of 17-year-old Karamee Collins, Jr. on the city's Southwest Side doesn't convince her fellow aldermen, not to mention Mayor Dave "Choo Choo" Cieslewicz, to forget about trains for a while and heed Thuy's warnings, what will?

Thuy has complained about being dismissed when she raises the crime issue in her district, where the Collins shooting took place. She has asked for more police officers for her district, with limited success. She has been treated like a kooky alarmist, when she's simply trying to address a problem, a very real problem, in her 20th aldermanic district.

It is a problem, by the way, that could ultimately chase away residents and commerce and tax base.

Fortunately, Madison police have detained suspects believed to be involved in this senseless crime. At this writing, we don't know their backgrounds, including whether they are involved in a street gang. We do know they shot Collins in the back during a drive-by shooting, and that the victim had been charged in a fight earlier this year that reportedly had gang overtones.

Gang. That word should shake Madison politicians out of their crime-fighting lethargy. My concern is that gangs are being squeezed to an efficient extent in larger communities like Chicago and Milwaukee, only to find a safe haven in PC Madison.

They need to be disabused of that notion, and Thuy is eager to lead the charge, but it's not easy to convince PC types to take crime seriously. I recall a mild debate about graffiti in 1990s Milwaukee. Most of the community understood the necessity of confronting it head on, but there were a few misguided folks who wondered, "What's the harm?"

Well, let's see. First, graffiti is a sign of gangs, therefore crime activity. Second, women have a funny habit of avoiding places where they don't feel safe. Third, women make the vast majority of purchasing decisions in the family. Say goodbye to commerce.

The city's astute investments in economic development on the Southwest Side — near Hy-Vee, Arbor Gate, and Allied Drive — could be undermined by this development. That's one of many reasons to work with police on a sensible gang-fighting strategy, just as community leaders in Milwaukee have finally done with promising initial results.

The Collins murder should be the ultimate in wake-up calls. It's time for certain people to stop hitting the snooze button.