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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

THE SYSTEM IS BROKE, BUT DOES ANYONE HAVE THE WILL TO FIX IT?

Anyone that doesn't realize that Hartford has a violence problem must really be out of touch. The unfortunate part is that everyone grows a backbone too late. In Hartford it is usually after the body is already on the way to the morgue and the TV cameras are still recording at the street corner vigils.

This posting is in no way intended to belittle the work of people like the Reverend Henry Brown. Henry serves a purpose and brings attention to the street violence in Hartford, but unfortunately when Henry's attention and prayers are focused on you, you have already met your maker (hopefully). Without Mothers United Against Violence and Rev. Browns people, there would probably be very little attention paid to homicides and violent crime on our streets

Well let me correct that last statement. Very little attention until an election is coming. Everyone wants to talk about homicides and gun violence when votes are on the line. Pedro Segarra and Luke Bronin both made a big deal out of visiting with shooting victims and homicide  victims families during their last rush for votes, but that seemed to stop after election day.

There are so many reasons for homicides in any City, including Hartford.  Despite the fact that Police get the large amount of blame for crime and shootings, it is only their problem after the fact to clean up the mess. I think under Chief Rovella, HPD has done their share, above and beyond, including the PAL program and other diversionary programs they have instituted

Does it seem a shame to anyone else besides me, that the initial identification of our latest homicide victim, Keon Huff was by Police officers at the scene, who according to sources familiar with the incident identified Keon from his photograph on a "wanted" flyer distributed for Keon's TIC from the Juvenile Court. A TIC or Take Into Custody Order is similar to an adult arrest warrant, but it orders Police to take the juvenile into custody  and normally they are taken to Juvenile Detention at 920 Broad Street until they go before  Juvenile Court Judge.

I don't know what Keon did to be the subject of a TIC order, and at this point it doesn't really matter but clearly the Juvenile Court system had already been involved and the system didn't work. DCF had been involved and clearly DCF dropped the ball. The Hartford Schools also dropped the ball and failed Keon, but it seems as though one thing that kept Keon's interest, at least temporarily was basketball and sports.

I think by all accounts, Keon had a pretty tough life. News articles seem to make no mention of a mother and father, an integral part to a child being raised properly and being able to survive, and avoid, the deadly challenges of urban streets. Luckily he had grandparents and an Aunt who eventually adopted him and tried to raise him. But even then, no one seemed to be able to answer where he was going to school, or if he was going to school.

Between the Juvenile Courts, DCF and other State agencies and the Hartford Schools, was no one paying attention? Or are there just too many Keon's out there to focus on? It is not the governments responsibility to raise children, but how do we break that cycle of children having children? It is kind of difficult for parents, and I use that term very loosely, to raise children and bestow on them the value of a good education, a good family and a good job when many of these child "teenage parents" have not experienced those same lessons in their own lives.

That is where the problem starts. Too many of these potential homicide victims are brought into the world by sperm donors. I can't call them fathers , because they aren't. A father takes responsibility for his actions and is there all the way from conception to adulthood. There to raise the life they helped start. A real father doesn't run off after the fun is over to impregnate his next egg incubator.

Unfortunately there are hundreds of children like Keon that are almost definitely born with the odds stacked against them from the start. Poverty , joblessness. poor education and failing schools, urban violence, drugs, gangs , all add up to a real problem with children born lacking the proper support structure to raise them.

And again I will ask, as I have done many times here before, Mayor Bronin, what is your plan? Standing at a vigil after a 15 year old is executed with a bullet to the head is too little too late and telling us society has failed is not a solution. Again, Mayor, what is your plan?

We need to take teenage pregnancy seriously. That is where the problem begins. We need to take drugs, gangs and gun violence seriously. It has claimed far too many victims already, many of them right here in Hartford's neighborhoods. When was the last time you have heard the Hartford Health Department of the Connecticut Department of Health addressing teenage pregnancy. What is done in our schools for education or is it just that dirty little secret we choose not to confront?

During the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton made a campaign stop in Hartford and talked about gun violence and was surrounded by our Mayor as well as Congress people and a Senator or two. If they are going to talk about the scourge of guns on our streets, then lets now hold them accountable. Hillary didn't make it, but we should hold the politicians who were in her entourage accountable and demand they put  the words they use to get votes into real action.

Hillary's campaign rally took place a few hundred feet from where Keon was executed.

Although the Federal  government has shown an increased commitment to fighting crime in Hartford, it is time to ask President Trump to come through on his tough talk on combating crime and we could use the help. But then again, maybe our City's "leaders" would be too proud to accept help from a Trump Administration, but right now we can use all the help we can get as we are starting to look like the Chicago of the East as we keep racking up the homicide numbers this year so far.

It is a complex problem , and I am pretty sure I aggravated many people with this posting, but it is time to have the tough conversations and start confronting the problem head on before another Keon is executed. I think the saying goes the first step in solving a problem is to admit you have a problem. The problem will still be there after the TV cameras leave the street corner vigils unless we start doing a hell of a lot more than we are doing now.

So let's hear how as a society we are going to break this cycle and address the problem of future Keon's before it is too late for the next victim of senseless violence. Mayor Bronin and all those people that like to seek out the cameras at the vigils, give us a plan.

I think we all are waiting and listening.

 Please keep your comments respectful and pertinent to the topic or I will not post them. Thanks

27 comments:

General Grievous said...

No politician wants to tell their voters that, on aggregate, they suck. Unwed pregnancies and absent parenting is absolutely an abomination. Add in illegal drugs and violent gang culture, and there you have Chicago, Detroit, Hartford, etc. Generations of corrupt and incompetent governance have pushed all those cities to bankruptcy and for Detroit, beyond.

Solutions? More can be done to remove illegal drugs, work closer with the Feds, get rid of Malloy's idiotic soft on crime policies. Feral children, there's not much you can do with the current sociopathic brood. The schools can not work miracles by themselves, they need a healthy community. Society has to value marriage and rearing children, how do you change attitudes? The Hollywood sewer pipe and NYC/DC/LA media elites are continually lowering standards and promoting hedonism above everything. Drug addiction, studies show that nothing is effective until the addict has had enough, usually around 7 years if they live that long. See above: severely limit the supply to dramatically drive up the prices, start there. People need jobs, not welfare in lieu of a job. Stop driving up the minimum wage, this eliminates jobs. Mandatory minimum jail sentence of 1 year per violation for anyone who knowingly hires illegal aliens. Bringing in unlimited cheap labor is the most evil 'policy' in existence, and pushback on that a big part of what decided the last election.

Politicians almost universally prioritize reelection fundraising and pandering to their demographic. Term limits would be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

I've said for years that our inner city schools need to incorporate a "life lessons" class in their curriculum. Starting in kindergarten with personal hygiene,manners,respect etc. As they mature subject matter should be age appropriate I.e. sex,pregnancy,parenting,appearance,making money,managing money,bank accounts,insurance ,,,ALL OF THE KNOWLEGDE THATS NEEDED TO SUCCEED ON THE MOST BASIC LEVEL.

Anonymous said...

Everybody has something to say about Keon's parents or lack thereof. I know them. You don't. You don't know what happened, and you're making incorrect assumptions. You should really back up and stay in your lane. If you want to make judgments make them on a situation you're familiar with, not upon conjecture and gossip. Write articles about things you know about, not about other people's dead children.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Ok, so where are the parents? why did his Aunt adopt him and why was he was a ward of DCF? How is it that no one knew where he was going to school? this is why we have a problem, because everyone wants to play "duck and cover" instead of taking responsibility . Grandparents should not have to raise their grandchildren, especially when the "parents" should be doing it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:09 am,

You must be one of the parents or someone feeling guilty about what you should've done and didn't do. On a post on Keon's Facebook page there was mention of him sleeping in hallways. Word on the streets say that his mom abandoned him 3 years ago, left the state. Dad is addicted to PCP and did more harm to the kid than good.

No one deserves to lose their child, no matter how bad of a person they are. But no child deserves to be left to fend for themselves in such a cruel world and environment.

This kid is one of those Kids you mention Brookman, the ones that have the odds against them at birth and like Rev. Henry mentioned a baby was killed, and you are asking all the right questions. I think a lot of us in the community are asking those same questions.I think that for too long people in this community; parents, politicians, and neighbors are not being held accountable for their lack of involvement in fixing this problem. Everyone wants to cry after and play the victim but no one is taking accountability for where they went wrong. My hopes is that this babies death wasn't in vein and that at least it opened everyone's eyes to how big this problem is and what they could and should be doing to prevent future Keon's.

Sleep In Peace Keon!

Anonymous said...

Keon's own family didn't know if he was or wasn't in school. It seems like that wasn't a concern of anyone's. Keon's dad is a dust head. His mom is mia. Keon had a chance in Manchester, but "Keon loved the streets and the street loved Keon," really? Keon had a huge temper and went 0 to 100 real quick. Keon had to fend for himself and was selling drugs. Being in this environment is what led to his demise. It's very sad a 15 year old lived a life like this, and there is no excuse for any death at the hands of another, regardless of age. Your telling me the other 7 homicides shouldn't receive as much attention as this one?

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:09 am,,Dont you see how shedding light on the ugliness related to Keon's street life and death could prevent another life wasted? Ignoring and keeping our mouths shut on Hartfords moral decay will speed up the path to being one of the nations worst capital city's. Sad to say ,but all those preachers,politicians and candlelight vigils aren't gonna make any difference. The skeptic in me says Bronin's aids are calling tv stations for photo op's and exposure at these vigils.. I don't trust him one bit.

Anonymous said...

When babies have babies who have babies again and again generation after generation, you get a breakdown in the family unit. I won't be so foolish or crude to comment on this young man's untimely demise. But unless urban leadership grasp the elephant mortal sin in the room and lead the way, nothing will ever change. When you have a wholesale breakdown of family, primarily due to teen pregnancy, you get all the concomitant problems related to this breakdown.

If the city wanted to take true leadership on this decades long problem, maybe initiate a remedial program for adults and parents. And for God's sake, promote family planning in all of its practices including abortion when events necessitate it.

Revend Brown, you are a good man and you console your neighbor's well. You could be the voice to move this issue forward by advocate for family planning. You could do it if you wanted to.

Anonymous said...

@6:54

I fogot to add that the "remedial" is education for adults in urban communities. I recall last year, a principal in one of the inner city schools make a public plea for parents to sit down with their child at least one hour every night. When I read this, I understood why the remark was made.

Anonymous said...

I know what happened. 15 year old Keon was selling drugs and using the hallway of 393 Garden Street as cover from the police. None of you were overly concerned about him selling drugs, were you? His own people murdered him either to rob him or were fighting over drug turf. Keep it 100 here. This was not a "random" murder.

Christopher Lyons retired HPD said...

The murder of 15 year old Keon Hall was a terrible incident and put the city in a tough spot. It is a awful incident that underscores the problems that a lot of teenage kids fall victim too. Lack of family structure, grandparents raising younger teens and no supervision. Lack of desire to go to school and the pull of the street life is very strong and many young men can't resist. Look at all of the young men that have been murdered or committed murder int his small capitol city. Lives ruined with no hope of becoming whole or successful. Crime will be their lives except of course when they are murdered themselves. Reference Young Teddy Simpson, murdered on Westland Street by people he knew many years ago and yo u will see an mirror image of Keon Huff.

It is probable that young Master Huff knew his killer/s. The 393 area of Garden Street and the intersection of Garden and Mather Streets has long been a place for street crime of all types including murder. One comes to mind, the murder of Mr. Sam Alexander in the 1990's.

No one will talk to the police or will be hesitant to do so because the "Stop Snitching" philosophy used by criminals and cowards is in play.

As for Reverend Henry Brown he is on the street after every local homicide. He is working hard to bring attention to these violent crimes and no one else in the Community is doing so. He encourages people who are witnesses to assist police and it is their decision to do so or to refrain.

Mayors in Hartford since George Athanson have decried street crimes in the same tone as did Mayor Bronin in this terrible case. But not much has changed.

Until the residents of the city get sick and tired of living in fear and turn in those destroying their community this will continue. If someone with courage stepped up, identified a violent criminal instead of letting him or her operate then their community would be safer. I won't hold my breath for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

Kevin why are you always looking to place blame on Hartford schools, this Student actually left HPS to a Manchester district!

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

No, he was temporarily back in Hartford's schools

Anonymous said...

The State TOOK Keon from his mother. She didn't give him up willingly or abandon him. They took him when he was a small child because he was angry, VIOLENT and out of control. Before this happened, she took him to multiple mental health agencies including the Institute of Living - looking for help in controlling him. She LOVED HIM and cared for him. His whole family did. She was a good mother. She tried everything she could, including asking the State for help. So, their solution was to TAKE HIM from her and put him in foster care. Good job State of Connecticut. He was subsequently allowed to run the streets. Thanks DCF, for taking him from his mother and family. Good job. The mother's family is angry and heartbroken, and rightly so.

Anonymous said...

He was taken by the state because of unfit parents. Had the state not taken him, you'd blame the state for not taking him and protecting him. Because the state did take him, now it's the states fault. It's the parents job to correct the child's deficiencies. He was taken at such a young age because he was angry? Really? Why was he so angry so young? And two parents should've put boot to ass. Stop with the blame game. We all know where the blame belongs.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

Unfortunately, many times it takes a tragedy to be the spark that brings about change. As I said in the title, the system is broke, but does anyone have the will to change it. I think we all know DCF is a disaster. How many more stories do we have to read about the deaths of children who have been overlooked by DCF before we admit the system is failing and demand change. Where is the accountability? If the system is overwhelmed and can't handle the load to be effective, then our "leaders" need to step up and figure out how and what it is going to take to fix it. The same goes for our schools and the juvenile court system. And thank you 3:43PM for shedding some light on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Mr Lyons,Well put except for your belief that it will take the residents of the city who are "sick and tired of living in fear" to make a change. What I believe is that we need to view these thugs as residents of the city and address the people who allow them to have a roof over their heads and in many cases in subsidized housing on our tax dime.Preachers,politicians and the media need to hold accountable the very people who knowingly shelter gangbangers. Trust me ,I love my family ,friends,neighbors etc. but I would be the last person they would reach out to for a safe haven to hide,package and sell drugs,,,let alone bring guns in my house. Further more i believe you would see a change in this practice if there was a consequence to the very people who have their names on these government subsidized leases who are found to be willing participants..They will be much easier to find under bridges,behind dumpsters,etc. than in the new Nelson Court project.

KEVIN BROOKMAN said...

4:14PM

I get what you are saying, but for those of us who have never been there, luckily we will never know what Keon's life was like.

I grew up in a stable home with two great parents who showed interest in us every minute we were awake, and probably many nights while we were asleep also. I often ask myself where I would be today if I didn't have the stability of a home life growing up like I did. A father that got up every morning and got dressed and left for work, many mornings before we were even awake and many nights came home from work when we were ready for bed or even asleep. He had a strong work ethic and imparted that on us. My mother was insistent on our education as long as I can remember, enrolling us in the book of the month club when we were infants and most afternoons making us do our homework before playtime in the afternoon. I hated those multiplication flash cards, but she drilled us on those every day, and it stuck. My fathers parents also lived locally and they as Grandparents were a big part of our lives. Our neighbors also were not afraid to act like surrogate parents when needed.

So much of that has changed with current households, but as much as I hated it sometimes growing up, I would never change it for the world. But if we are going to get back to a civil society, we need to get back to respect for each other, respect for education and a strong work ethic from youth to retirement. And that work ethic is not getting up early enough to be the first one selling drugs on a busy corner with a 9MM in your pocket.

DCF cant be held responsible for this, Police can't be held responsible for this, Government can't be held responsible but parents and families can be held accountable and that is where the future lies if we are going to get back on track

Anonymous said...

I just want to repeat perhaps ad nausium, that in my opinion, the cycle of babies having babies must be broken. An until that happens, progress will never occur. I won't ID myself because I would just be accused of probably being a racist. But I will maintain that until community leaders take up this mantra that teen pregnancy must end, the problems will never end. It is not the fault of the school system. It is NOW, not the fault of a system being exclusionary and racist.

When teens become mothers, then 15 years later, their children have babies, they cycle repeats. So I say again to the good Revend Brown, seek solutions to this age old problem. You are a good man and people need your sympathy. But someone or many need to rise to the occasion. Family planning is essential. The federal government spent hundreds of millions and billion, on inner city programs in the 1960s through really today. Many people benefited from these programs. Many non-profits that were creat d very much exploited and profited from these generous programs.

But non solved the problem. Taking hold of this problem must come from within the community. No one can dictate from the outside. And since black reverends generally are held to a high degree of respect, then they should be the ones to lead a revolution in problem solving.

AGAIN, REVEREND BROWN, COME FORWARD AND LEAD TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS. We all want these problems ended.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you dont believe in mental illness. Boot to ass? That's your ignorant solution for a troubled young person? Glad you werent my parent.

Anonymous said...

How about bringing back proactive units to help tamp down street violence and address quality of life issues. It is not THE answer, but it is certainly a tool that can be very effective if applied appropriately. Oh, I forgot Jimmy, it is barbaric.

Anonymous said...

Worked for my brothers and I. Now it's worked for my two sons. None were drug dealers and all stayed in school and did well. And born and raised in Hartford and still here. If I was your parent you'd respect me and thank me.

Christopher Lyons retired HPD said...

In response to Anonymous from yesterday,

Some of the criminals that terrorize the city are residents by their violent actions. They have forfeited any consideration from the community at large and need to be incarcerated as a way to atone for their sins. They need to pay.

I experienced as a member of law enforcement examples of families sheltering relatives who committed terrible acts. Providing a place to hide from police to allow the incident to "cool down", providing support to allow criminals to flee the state and set up elsewhere and providing other support to the criminal. That's hindering prosecution, Interfering with Police and these are serious crimes. There comes a point in life when decisions must be made. Live safe and cooperate with police or continue to live in fear.

There are many murderers that are currently incarcerated from Hartford.
Some are high profile and some are not. What is a common factor is that their crimes they committed were done in front of witnesses who either refused to come forward to assist police either by apathy or outright disregard for the community by not telling police what they needed to know to solve the crime.

I'll bring up the case of Anthony "Stack" Holmes. A bad guy in every sense of the word but he was murdered at the intersection of Brook and Mather Streets (139 Brook Street) on the date of 4-28-12. He was shot to death in front of many witnesses. None came forward with info good enough to solve the case and his killer is still out there on the loose. In life Anthony didn't do too much to endear himself to anyone but his own family. In death no one seems to be wanting to help police lock up his killer.

Same situation.
Same cycle of not helping police
Very sad.

Anonymous said...

The urban street code prevails over all else. It always will in cities like homicide Hartford. It's a name and reputation that's respected in the hood. So let's cut the conversation and realize that this is not going to change.

Christopher Lyons retired HPD said...

Great work by Hartford Police in the arrest of the killer of Keon Huff.

Major Crimes Division, Patrol and anyone inthe Community that assisted police deserve kudos for solving this case so quickly.

Chief Foley said it well. Two lives ruined. But I'm bot too concerned about the person who pulled the trigger. He is going where he belongs and that is prison. I hope he likes the accommodations that the state will offer because he earned them.

Hartford is a little safer with the removal of this criminal via arrest.

Anonymous said...

"Our detectives, our police department, has the opportunity to look behind the curtain and see what transpired in this young boy's life and, to say the least, he was extremely troubled and challenged," Foley said. "Typically, when something like this happens in any city in the country, the finger pointing starts with who's to blame, who's at fault for his death. We would ask that everyone point the finger at themselves to see what they can do better in the future."

Foley's quote above.

But only ONE finger was on the trigger Foley. Knock it off Foley, your getting reckless with your comments, and people are getting suck of it.

Anonymous said...

I think they meant sick of it. Yes, were sick of it. Enough is enough Foley.