Donald Trump Calls Out Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Responds

Donald Trump smug smile

Donald Trump mentioned Pittsburgh today, and that was a mistake.

The Bumbler In Chief called out Pittsburgh today when he announced that he would ditch the Paris Agreement.

The reaction from Pittsburgh has been a fast and furious rebut.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Pittsburgh is hogging the national spotlight, and it’s being shone on the city courtesy of President Donald Trump, who in a climactic moment about the climate, made the alliterative assertment that, when it comes to which accords he’ll agree to, he “was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Which was surprising to Pittsburghers, because It’s worth noting that in November’s presidential election, Allegheny County and Pittsburgh were won by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

So far, reaction has been swift.

And then there were the tweets, these from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto:

And the voices go on from there.

Pittsburgh Launches Anti-Violence Program Reminiscent of CeaseFireChicago

The city of Pittsburgh is launching an anti-violence program.  Reading about it, it reminds me of Cease Fire Chicagco, with a twist.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The program is based on the work of David Kennedy, a professor in the anthropology department at New York City’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It involves “call-in sessions” that bring gang members face-to-face with relatives, community leaders and law enforcement officials who tell them of the pain they cause and offer to help them escape the street life — or threaten to crack down on the whole group if one member commits another act of violence.

So far, Pittsburgh hasn’t held any such sessions. But city Councilman Ricky Burgess thinks one can happen as soon as the fall.

And more from the same article:

“There’s a nearly 15-year history now of the kind of work that Pittsburgh is undertaking,” Mr. Kennedy said last week. “There have been many, many cities that have done this. Everyone who has been serious about sticking to the core elements has been successful.”

Boston, the first city to undertake the program, demonstrates the limits of such success. After posting a two-thirds decline in youth homicides in the late 1990s, the murder rate started to climb again as police and community groups lost their focus on gang violence.

The process pioneered by Mr. Kennedy is complicated and labor intensive. Organizers must create a list of a city’s most violent groups. They then identify group members who are already under probation or parole and compel them to attend a first call-in session, often in a courtroom.

At the session, relatives of homicide victims talk about their anguish over the death of a loved one, while clergy members or other community leaders describe how violence is harming a community.

And I like this anecdote from North Carolina:

[Police Chief James Fealy of High Point, N.C.] cites as an example one man with an extensive criminal record who was threatened with hefty consequences if he didn’t stop selling drugs. Three months after the call-in session, officers caught the man smoking marijuana. But he was only charged with possession.

“We didn’t tell him he couldn’t smoke dope. He wasn’t dealing drugs,” Chief Fealy said.

Planners in some cities have to be ready to adjust tactics as the situation on the ground changes.

Imagine that: NOT arresting someone for smoking pot.  What a concept!

I like this concept Pittsburgh is considering because it dares to look at things differently.  Endless incarceration is not the best path to a crime-free society.  Incarceration is a simplistic and inadequate solution.

The solution that works actually takes more work than that.  Any real solution is going to be “complicated and labor intensive,” and that’s the only solution to violence that will last.

Missing Myron Cope

My Dad called this morning to break the news, and it felt like somebody in the family had died. Amazed at my own reaction, I realized how much this incredible talent meant to me and my family. I never even met the man, but he was as much a part of my childhood as anybody else.

Yoi.

Cope was always there. No matter what, Myron would help us make sense of it all, every game, win or lose. Myron gave us the Terrible Towel so we could celebrate, and he let us know when it was alright to bring the Towel to the stadium.

And we followed him religiously. The Steelers were our religion. Even our priests knew that in Pittsburgh, there was the Christmas Season, Lent and Easter Season, and Steeler Season. Period. Some of them even had black and gold stoles.

Rule #1: The Terrible Towel only came to the stadium for the playoffs. That was when we were all but certain we would get there every year. And when the Steelers weren’t so great, Myron was there to tell us why, “Hmmm, haa!”

Rule #2: Listen to Myron.

I waved that Towel to the sky this evening, and I wept inside. And laughed. All day, for some reason, I had Myron’s horrific version of “Deck the Halls” running through my mind.

Double Yoi!

The Terrible Towel

Thanks, Myron.