Monday, June 12, 2006
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 4 Comments
The Latin Kings are one of the most violent street gangs in the United States responsible for murders, arson drug dealing, kidnapping and a long list of violent crimes. In 1993 15 year old Jenna Gonzales was beaten so severely by Latin Kings members that she could only be identified by her dental records. Two RICO investigations have been launched resulting in the arrests of hundreds of Latin Kings members.
Today members of the Latin Kings gang marched in the Puerto Rican day parade. The New York Correction Department's Hispanic Society which was supposed to march behind the Kings made it clear that it was either them or the Kings. The parade organizers made their choice.
At the parade 50 people were arrested for disorderly conduct, including many in Latin Kings colors. Violence has long since been associated with the parade. Buisnesses along the parade route regularly board up their windows. The most notorious incident may have been in 2000 when women were sexually assaulted by gangs of laughing men but the parade annually produces its toll of violence. Last year saw an assault on a police officer, two stabbings and multiple arrests. None of it particularly unusual.
Why do such events keep recurring around the parade? The Latin Kings incident richly demonstrates why. When thugs are treated as heroes and role models, that ends up defining a community's values. Given a choice between a law enforcement fraternity and thugs, the parade chose the thugs. So did Bloomberg who in a typical bout of pandering stated that the city can't say who can or can't march in a parade. Oddly enough since it's the city that provides the permit I imagine the city would. At the very least Bloomberg might have borrowed some of the courage of Rudy Guliani and refused to march in a parade with criminals. But like most politicians Bloomberg prefers to patronize rather than lead, unless there's a bottom line to it.
In doing so Bloomberg like the parade organizers defined his values. Moral compromises in exchange for popularity. Pandering rather than leading. Treating criminals in minority communities differently and even fraternizing with them. All these things helped lead New York into the mess that Ed Koch and Rudy Guliani with difficulty pulled the city out of. And all of them are now returning again.
Leadership does not mean telling people what they want to hear but what they don't want to hear. For a long time now though people have been too afraid to speak and too easily intimidated. Seinfeld which made jokes about every culture had future airings of its episode about the Puerto Rican Day Parade censored by NBC. A Law and Order episode about the parade inspired an apology from NBC. The organizers by contrast have yet to apologize to the annual victims of violence from their parade. They have yet to apologize for endorsing a gang of murderers and drug dealers. Instead the Mayor lectures store owners that closing during the parade could be seen as insulting to Puerto Ricans. At this point closing during the parade is common sense. What is insulting to Puerto Ricans is when a community's heritage comes to be represented by criminals. And if it isn't insulting, then it should be.
The day that Hispanic police officers are welcome in the parade and gang members aren't is the day the parade will stop being rightfully associated with violence by New Yorkers.