After more than a year in New Orleans, I’m still trying to figure the place out. While it may well be the most interesting city in the United States, it is also likely the most dysfunctional, apathetic and dangerous.

How do the citizens of this city continue to tolerate insane levels of shootings and robberies — shootouts in broad daylight on major city streets, prominent restaurants being held up, 17 shot at one event in one day?

Twenty-five thousand of us have signed a petition to keep Confederate monuments in place, but how many have signed a petition regarding crime in this city? How many have written the mayor or the City Council about our crime problem?

The mayor was recently quoted as having said he’d “like” to have 500 to 600 more police officers. In a city with a force of only 1,200 officers, there should be no “like.” The mayor is casually referring to what would be a state of emergency in most U.S. cities.

How about a petition for more, better-paid police officers? How about a petition to recall the mayor or council members if they don’t immediately do something about crime in this city? They will act only when we demand it. Would it really be out of the question to enact a city ordinance restricting the carry of firearms without a permit? Could we leave the pot and crack smokers alone and just focus on real criminals with real guns?

The mayor and the City Council do next to nothing about crime, and we say nothing. But try to remove some Confederate monuments and half the city is in an uproar. Hard to understand.

Richard Westmoreland

retired lieutenant colonel, U.S. Marine Corps

New Orleans