First, thanks to concerned citizen and column reader Susan Siskind for her addition and correction to my previous column “The Troubling Bail Reform Law.” It’s about the victim of the unreformed bail law often used as a moving example for its recent controversial reform. Eighteen-year-old Kalief Browder committed suicide in 2015, not in his jail cell, as my column mistakenly said, but in his home. This tragic act was reportedly due to his three-year jail ordeal for allegedly stealing a back pack while on probation.
That is appalling, and so are the details Siskind shared about Browder’s early home life – a family reportedly torn by drug addiction and neglect. Such stories so desperately need to get out there so infinitely more is done to overcome whatever causes such heart- and spirit-breaking conditions.
The verb “overcome” of course reminds us of Martin Luther King Jr., and his birthday just passed. And surely such terrible, or any such neglect and abuse, so need to be overcome. Ah, and King being a reverend reminds us of faith group involvement. And infinitely more must be said about the 12-step groups, which often meet on their premises. The real life before-and-after stories heard at 12-step meetings so need to be widely heard, where so much regrettable and worse behavior never occurs sober.
Intervention is still too seldom used. And it’s just not true that “users” must want to get treatment before they can get help. Intervention does work, and thanks to former first lady Betty Ford and her family for making this ultimate saving measure so widely known. If ever a first lady’s contribution as told in a book should stay out there it’s Ford’s autobiography “A Glad Awakening.” For information for 12 step groups and other programs, call 866-554-7472, a national substance abuse help line. groups call.
Cause for Alarm
As for the new bill reform bail law, all out attention must be paid to the dark side, where some who qualify will become repeat offenders. This quote from a Jan. 25 Daily News story, “Bail Reform Stirs Crime Surge: Shea.” (Shea is the new NYPD commissioner, of course.) is cause for alarm: “The rise in crime in the first few weeks of 2020 is directly tied to the bail reform law that took away judges’ discretion to lock up potentially violent offenders.” Attention must be paid, and in the paper of record. And of course, register your concern, with local city officials. (See this paper’s Useful Contact column.) And yes, get involved with your police precinct community council The 19th precinct community relations officers can be reached at 212 452 0613. Call 311 for more information.
Safe walking conditions a must!
And of course, it’s not only about violent crime, but whatever makes our community life less safe. And that, my friends, surely means safe walking conditions – strict enforcement of the laws that provide it, especially for electric bikes and scooters. Why did the governor okay this without first demanding license plates and riding tests for these fast-moving machines. And of course, enforcement, enforcement enforcement!