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Jul 182017
 

We lock up far too many of our citizens.

Of course, I’m writing from New Orleans, Louisiana, which some call the “incarceration capital of the world.” Even ardent law-and-order types have come to realize the problems with this approach. Efforts are underway to reduce incarceration rates in both our city and state. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is playing catch-up, so perhaps we won’t hold this title for much longer.

Even so, it’s shameful.

Yet this is not just a local problem. Across the nation, we lock up too many folks. According to The Sentencing Project, our country is the world leader in incarceration. We have 2.2 million people in our jails and prisons, a 500% increase over the last four decades.

1920 to 2014. Timeline of total number of inmates in U.S. prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)

 

Most of this comes down to policy changes, such as tougher sentencing laws — not rising crime rates. Nevertheless, our prisons function as “seminaries of vice,” where casual offenders become hardened criminals.

Plus, it’s expensive. The whole system stinks.

But we can fix this. If we change our laws, we can reduce crime through the expedient of legalization. Take something that’s illegal and make it legal. Voila! You just reduced crime.

Continue reading »

Jul 102017
 

Photo by Bart Everson. Design by Madeleine Faust.

Fresh paint!

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.

Jul 042017
 

All things are interconnected, including us. Individuals don’t exist in a vacuum, but as a part of a social and biological ecology. From this truth derives the ethic of reciprocity which may be found in virtually every wisdom tradition of the world. Taking care of one another is a moral imperative.

The so-called “social safety net” is a metaphor for how a society takes care of its members who might otherwise come to harm. Continue reading »

Jun 262017
 

Photo by Bart Everson

Lots of rain lately, but I was most impressed by the deluge on Tuesday, the 13th of June. 3½” in about an hour. Thanks to Sewerage & Water Board for distributing these rain gauges. We picked ours up at an Earth Day event, and it’s got my third-grader interested in some basic science and math.

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.

Jun 192017
 

Gun violence continues to plague us.

No, I’m not thinking of the recent shooting of congressional representatives in Virginia. I’m not thinking about terrorist attacks. I’m not thinking of police brutality.

Rather, I’m thinking of the shootings on our streets, which typically do not make national news but nevertheless shatter lives and break hearts.

Three of hearts: public domain image

Most everyone wants the violence to stop. Bullets fly, people die, mothers cry, we demand change — and yet the violence continues year after year.

Current methods aren’t effective. Clearly, we need to try something different.

Here are some concrete changes we could make in order to reduce violent crime in our society. Continue reading »

Jun 122017
 

Photo by Bart Everson

Great to see the restoration of this old plaque at the statue of José Martí — too bad the panels are out of order…

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.

Jun 052017
 

I’d just gotten out of the shower when I heard the brass band passing by.

Still in my bathrobe, I toddled down to the street corner to take a gander. There they were, coming down Banks Street, dozens of people in outrageous costumes, and a bicycle-powered float made up like a pirate ship.

It was Mid-City’s best kept secret: The Krewe of Palmyra.

Continue reading »

May 292017
 

Photo by Bart Everson

The RMMLF-PPPC claimed responsibility for this “carnival of iconoclasm.”

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.

May 152017
 

Photo by Bart Everson

Nothing left but a foundation. Let’s build something new.

Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com.