Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Neighborhood In Lockdown

A neighborhood is in lockdown, no one is allowed to enter without police checking their IDs and all seeking entry must prove they either live in the neighborhood or have some legitimate business. The neighborhood is in Washington, D.C. - where enormous attention was riveted back in March when the Supreme Court invalidated the voter-approved law regulating gun ownership.

The community, Trinidad, had previously enacted a previous lockdown in early June, following a spree of shootings that left 7 dead. The checkpoint system was halted, but has been enacted again following another spree in the same community this past weekend, two were killed this time, including a 13-year-old boy in the area who was visiting relatives.

Officials have also installed ShotSpotter sensors around the city, which alerts police when gunfire occurs. Of course, once a shot is made, it cannot be unmade, only responded to by police.

A Washington Post columnist, Courtland Milloy, spoke to some of the young kids living in this world, and their best advice is not to be outside once it's dark. The current lockdown is set to end tomorrow and few can say with optimism that the shootings won't start all over again.

Sadly ironic is that the city's gun laws, the one overturned by the Supreme Court, remains in effect. The city is trying to re-write the law and in the meantime, it certainly appears to make zero difference if handguns are banned or not. Or perhaps it might - once a shooting spree starts, more shots might be fired back.

The earnest and devoted attention and discussion which the D.C. v Heller case created is noticeably absent in the nightmarish world in Trinidad, just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol. For those residents, the real questions are how to survive for now and how to create a neighborhood controlled by something more than rage and random violence.

UPDATE: The "military-style checkpoints" will continue for another five days according to law enforcement officers in D.C.

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