Recently, I joined the group Mothers Against Violence in New Orleans. As with the many marches, processions, gatherings, I find a show of concerned people that is not effective in ending violence. I do agree with the premise that violence is everyone’s problem in New Orleans. Unfortunately, we usually see an extreme majority of black people attending the march, giving the impression that white people do not care. But for shared activities such as French Quarter Festival or Jazz Festival, everyone wants to attend, which I find fits our cultural diversity that is special in New Orleans. At these fun events, all races enjoy the activities, which include music that directly came from diversity.

I see the mayor always attending, speaking and getting many photo ops. What I do not see is programs to educate parents on the signs that they may have a son who is committing murder or is likely to be a victim of murder. I feel a program similar to suicide awareness applies to homicide awareness. This program would include coaching for responsible parenting to detect signs that their son is involved in a gang, has a weapon, has a bad attitude, does not have a job, has unexplained cash, etc. You can add to the list. There definitely are signs that can be used to prevent future homicides. It’s very tragic to hear a mother say she has four (dead) sons who all are victims of violence. The question is how do parents prevent this from happening? More than midnight basketball is needed. I did see a local rapper who walked with young black men and is a model of personal interaction to help young people.

Ben Claassen

retired engineer

New Orleans