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Thursday, June 24, 2004

Horror downtown.

Last night's Detroit Freedom Festival fireworks were marred by a tragic multiple shooting.

Nine wounded, two critically.

The most irritating thing--the outspoken worry about the City's reputation. Worry about arresting the shooter, or more so about the two in critical condition. Work in the reputation musings in a couple of days.

Given the relative lack of problems at recent large Detroit gatherings (the suburbanite beatdown at last year's Fireworks being a partial, but not serious, exception), going into defensive mode from the outset sounds whiny and misplaced. If not flat-out ridiculous:

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said during a news conference Thursday morning that most of the tens of thousands of spectators were not aware the shootings had taken place.

"Ninety-nine percent of those people went home and had a really great family time," Kilpatrick said. "There was no pandemonium, nobody was running around madly."

The mayor said that, apart from the actions of "one idiot," the city provided visitors with "an absolutely fantastic experience" and "customer service at its best."

"So, other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?"

But mostly because it's whiny and misplaced. Kilpatrick is a sharp guy, with a lot of good ideas and follow through, but one of the things he and the rest of the City are going to have to jettison--eventually--is the enormous chip on the shoulder.

What makes the chip worse here is that it's hard to see what any government authority can do to prevent a hot-tempered psychotic from emptying a 9 mm into a crowd on the slightest provocation. Most people--at least the non-reflexive bigots (a/k/a those who count) understand this. So stop dwelling on how bad it makes you look.

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