(Posted November 10, 2005)
Commentary: On Saturday night, within an hour of each other, 21 year old black army recruit Matthew Pickett was beaten to death on the way to a movie at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, and 19 year old black nursing student LaKita Tolson was gunned down outside a club for teens that does not serve alcoholic beverages.
On Friday and Sunday, Michael Broderick, 50, and Leroy Beatty, 21, were shot outside their homes in different parts of Prince George's County.
There are just four of the latest victims of the county's growing murder epidemic. There have already been more murders this year than all of last year.
So, how did the county council respond? At their Tuesday meeting, they voted to ban smoking.
To the council, smoking seems to be a higher priority than homicide.
The county has limited law enforcement resources. The existing resources are inadequate to protect the public from violent crime, how dollars or people will be diverted away from making the streets safe into smoking enforcement?
Smoke-free restaurants are nice, but I would gladly put up with some smoke if it meant I would be able to feel safe on the streets or on the way to a movie.
In other words, I question the council's priorities, and as an election year nears, I hope that some opposing candidates will come forward who feel some passion for protecting the public from active, violent criminals.
Earlier news and commentary.
"Council passes restaurant smoking ban"
Gazette, November 10, 2005 (by Tiesha Higgins, Staff Writer)
"Smoking Ban Passed In Prince George's County"
wjz.com, November 9, 2005
"Prince George's County Passes No-Smoking Bill; Council Vote Is Unanimous"
nbc4.com, November 9, 2005
"Smoking ban OK'd in Prince George's"
Times, November 9, 2005 (by Derrill Holly, Associated Press)
"Pr. George's Joins Ranks of Smoke-Free; Measure Will Affect Restaurants, Bars"
Post, November 8, 2005 by Sudarsan Raghavan, Washington Post Staff Writer
"Pr. George's County Going Smoke-Free"
wtopnews.com, November 8, 2005 (by Derrill Holly, Associated Press Writer)
"P.G. Council Approves Smoking Ban"
wjla.com, November 8, 2005 (AP)
"Prince George's Council Approves Smoking Ban"
nbc4.com, November 8, 2005