I think everyday our leadership vacuum becomes more obvious as our so called leaders go into reactionary mode every time there is a crisis.The vision we would hope to expect just doesn't seem to be a trait of most of our elected officials.
After a recent violent weekend , Mayor Segarra reacted by a media stunt walking "On the Beat " with Hartford's Police Chief James Rovella. I think it would be a fair question to ask Segarra how many times did he walk Hartford's violent neighborhoods prior to that night and how many times has he been back since that night. I think most of us already know the answer to that question. Leadership requires vision... where are we going and how are we going to get there.
Instead , unfortunately far too often we realize we have arrived, now what are we going to do?
If not for the severity and sadness of the Aurora shootings, it would almost be comical for the politico reactions..
Former Governor John Rowland was on his radio show last Friday talking about an executive order he issued after the fatal shootings at Connecticut's lottery Headquarters several years ago. Rowland spoke of how the next day he immediately issued an executive order banning any state employees, except law enforcement officials, from bringing guns to work
I have to ask myself what goes through the mind set of someone planning a mass murder spree. Hopefully I will never know , but I know one thing for sure, an executive order from the Governor or anyone else probably would not enter into my decision . "OHH, I can't walk in and execute my co workers today because the Governor has banned me from bringing my deadly weapons into the workplace". Purely reactionary and definitely not preventative
How many of Hartford's gun toting thugs do you think have actually obtained letters of reference to properly obtain their pistol permits so that they can carry them on the streets of our City? I know one thing though, they definitely have not obtained the firearms instructions required, otherwise their accuracy might be much more deadly.
Going back to the vision thing, I have to wonder after the Hartford Distributors shootings of a couple summers ago, what steps have been taken to prevent another such event. Maybe an executive order banning co-workers from shooting each other?
Maybe we should look at the real problem, rather than reacting by the seat of the pants. What training has taken place with unions and employers to be able to recognize the first sign of potential workplace violence or improper behavior? Have the labor unions conducted any kind of training to identify the next potential Omar Thornton or is it just being left to chance for the next time?
And finally to get to my point and back to vision. Hartford is an extremely violent city, but what are the root causes and how do we attack the problem? The immediate solution might be hiring more police officers , but what about long term? How are we losing the moral compass of our young people who think it is acceptable to put a couple slugs into someones brain to settle a dispute?
Long term one of the solutions seems to be a better societal interaction with our youth and intervention where our parents and schools might be failing them. It is no secret that a strong family structure, critical to raising any child , is lacking in many of Hartford's homes. No father figure, mother's or fathers that are not present or incarcerated all lead to a lack of direction on the part of our young people.
Many grandparents are trying to take up the slack and raise their grandchildren when the parents aren't, but I know some days I don't have the energy to deal with my dog, never mind the responsibility to raise a child and I would assume the same is true for the energy level of many grandparents.
Some of you reading this are probably saying to yourselves that he isn't singing the praises of Chief Rovella once yet, so here goes ,the whole reason for this posting is "vision"
I constantly talk about how impressed I am with the "vision" of Chief Rovella and his passion for Hartford. One area of his vision that seems to outweigh many of the others is his interest in the PAL program, the Police Athletic League. Rovella seems to be paying close attention to the very successful PAL program run by the City of Waterbury
The City of Waterbury has an extremely successful PAL program which serves over 3400 youth in the City, From their website The Police Activity League of Waterbury, Inc. (PAL) provides the youth of the Greater Waterbury area with positive guidance during their crucial childhood years. It has been proven that a strong support system, such as PAL, has a direct relationship with lowering crime rates, and has a powerful impact on a child's future.
You can view more about the Waterbury Program by clicking here
Waterbury is comparable to the size of Hartford , give or take 10,000 residents, yet their most recent homicide numbers for 2008 were a total of five murders compared to Hartford's 32. I can't say it is all because of PAL, but clearly something is working right with Waterbury's youth when it comes to violence.
Rovella's plans for PAL include a greatly expanded use of the Quirk Middle school and its facilities, which would seem to be a no-brainer. A partnership between the Board of Education and the police Department to reduce youth violence in a very violent City is something that would most likely gain national attention if operated properly.
It would seem that if Mayor Segarra shares in the vision and actually appoints the majority of the Board of Education members, there should be no impediments to a plan that could potentially save the lives of Hartford youth from senseless violence. It's called leadership and vision.
Let's stop reacting and start showing some vision.