Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Response to the Prosecutor

"It's Camden. People have problems in Camden," Ottenberg said. "If they're willing to take themselves out of their position for a few minutes and help the community, you have to look at the bright side and take it for what it's worth."

This is the Camden County Prosecutor discussing Minister Eric Parr allegedly found doing crack in his car in a Courier Post article.

I will dissect this statement.

(The picture shows former governor Whitman frisking a man now dead. She seemed pretty happy to frisk him. I am sure that he would have liked to taken himself out of his position a few times)

People have problems in Camden

True. People also have problems in China, where there was just an earthquake. People have problems in Hillary Clinton's campaign, because many people want her to drop out. I live in Camden. I have problems. The drug set down the street encourages thugs and suburban crack heads to stagger with a swagger in front of my house. Cherry Hill has problems with suicide and drug use amongst some of its teens. Society has problems, as well as our entire world.

Saying that people have problems in Camden oversimplifies and segregates Camden as special in a bad way. It is not helpful for the guy responsible for convicting people to state the obvious.

If they're willing to take themselves out of their position for a few minutes, help the community

Everyone should help the community. Many people do what they can with what they have. They call the police when that see criminal activity. They clean in front of their home. They volunteer. They do their best to raise their children. Some people, like Parr, take their help a step further and get involved in community organizations.

Camden is not hell, even though demons live here. Demons are everywhere, which means that the angels have to work hard to defeat them. Angels sin too.

Working in this community can be stressful. I was once the secretary for DCCB 4. I was often frustrated that the police and city departments were not able to meet the requests of the residents in an effective manner. Although I have never smoked crack, I have probably done some things that I would not want published in the newspaper. This the candid reality of working in Camden.

You have to look at the bright side and take it for what it's worth

The bright side for me is knowing that the young people that I work with and try to teach are receptive. They hunger for knowledge and thirst for leadership.

The statement by the Prosecutor reminded me of the best statement that I heard a local leader make in a long time. A few weeks ago at Rutgers, there was an event that had law enforcement and community leaders on a panel. My friend Cornell, an advocate for young and imprisoned people challenged the leaders to stop abusing their power and use their power to bring hope to the youngest generation. The acting prosecutor, Josh Ottenburg, stated that if Cornell or anyone disagrees with the laws, which he admitted may need updates, the message needs to be sent to the state legislature. As law enforcement officers, they enforce the law as it is, not as it ideally should be. The bright side here is that we the people, in order to form a more perfect society, have to power to fix it.

How will you use your power?

Please reply to the post.

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