Welcome Back After a Wild Weekend – Open Item
National events dominated the headlines over the weekend, from the special session in Texas to the verdict in the Trevon Martin – George Zimmerman trial, it was hard to escape. If you did miss it, yesterday we published an item that takes a look at potential candidates for the Indiana Republican National Committeewoman vacancy and what might motivate Governor Mike Pence to make a decision there.
In other news, stateside there was more news about violence in our communities across the state. The rising homicide rate in Indianapolis prompted a comprehensive Sunday article by John Tuohy and Tim Evans in the Indianapolis Star. The violence in Gary has gotten so bad that the local police are seeking help from the Indiana State Police to help them get a handle on the situation according to Christine Kraly in The Times of Northwest Indiana. Also, Fort Wayne recorded four shootings over the course of five days according to Jeff Wiehe and Julie Crothers of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, and it hasn’t been the first spree of violence this year in northeast Indiana.
It’s not to say that communities aren’t working hard trying to address the problem, but their past experience may prove to be irrelevant to the current situation. Troy Riggs, Indianapolis’ relatively new public safety director, was quoted several times over the weekend suggesting that the level of respect for the police has diminished significantly, where in the past unruly youths may have dispersed with a simple request from a police officer now they are more aggressive and it is proving a challenge. Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully is asking questions, and one of those is whether these problems are regional challenges (i.e. should the suburbs be helping to foot the bill for fighting the violence in Indianapolis).
Gary’s move to call in the state police is truly ironic after The Times‘ Rich James ripped Gov. Pence’s selection of Karl Browning for Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation because he feels that highway spending is spent disproportionately in and around Indianapolis. No mention of the state coming to bail out a city’s police force when they’re overwhelmed by a community problem.
Should the violence continue, this could be the early signs of a issue that could consume the next session of the General Assembly. With a relatively boring slate of elections at the state and federal levels, both in the primary and potentially in the general elections, the question as to whether dealing with systemic violence across the state requires the state to step in and take action. Crime is generally a local issue, but increasing violence is hard to ignore and continued concerted coverage by the media could create an environment where some lawmakers will push to make this a state issue. In the meantime, conservatives need to look inside their communities to see how they can help address the problem there in cooperation with local law enforcement.
In happier news, our own Mark Warner was named to the communications committee of the Young Republican National Federation at their annual convention in Alabama this weekend. Mark is an incredibly plugged in guy and while we don’t take time to recognize members of our team who win beauty contests, we do want to recognize those who get recognized for their merits.
Also, in news that is sure to make one Republican county chairman smile, The Associated Press reports that the United Kingdom’s Royal Mail has been privatized. Mike O’Brien, Hendricks County Republican Chairman, has long been an advocate of privatizing the United States Postal Service. This article should energize his call for action to be taken, especially as the USPS continues to facing funding challenges and service cutbacks.
Finally, we should have some more wrap-up of the House consideration of the Farm Bill as the agriculture provisions move to the Senate. Also, our Tweet of the Week victor will be announced later today as well, so stay tuned and share any thoughts or news items you may have in the comments section below.