Cease fire: A recent history of gun violence in City Politics

The victims of Toledo’s epidemic of gun violence are increasingly younger. No City neighborhood is immune. The body count continues to rise as the blood washes along city streets.

What is to be done?

Whatever the solution entails, we can be sure of one thing. It doesn’t include Carty.

Yet there he is, providing nominal leadership to this group and that coalition, bloviating and offering a 10-point plan. Wait, that’s not quite enough, how’s a 12-point plan sound instead?

And while Carty and his ilk make political hay out of the ongoing tragedy, the suffering in city streets is real.

Guns, blood and ambition

Turn back the clock to twenty twenty. The depths of the pandemic brought an unnerving rise in violence involving firearms. It seemed every few days another dispute ended in gunfire.

The carnage did not go unnoticed, and Mayor Wade stepped up by announcing the Mayor’s Initiative to Reduce Gun Violence (or to Produce Re-election, or something like that). By early twenty twenty-one Wade hired former football player and native Toledoan JoJuan Armour to lead the initiative. By August outreach staff were put on the streets.

Wade promised a public health approach to interrupting the violence. While the program was slow to get off the ground, data shows it was reasonably effective where it was focused, in the Junction-Englewood neighborhoods.

Lurking in the background ready to pounce for political gain was the ever-ambitious Carleton S. Too slow, he fumed! Ten-point plan, he demanded! And promptly announced his candidacy for Mayor against Wade’s re-election bid.

Lest we forget, this is the same Carty who demanded a “war on guns” as a candidate for Mayor against then-incumbent PHH’s re-election bid in twenty fifteen. And who furloughed seventy-five police officers after driving the city budget off the cliff as mayor in twenty oh nine.

Meanwhile city council candidate Michele Grim drubbed Carty’s twenty twenty-one ten-point plan as outdated and filled with “failed ideas” like curfews and gun buybacks. She then offered her own ten-point plan featuring street outreach, domestic violence prevention, and other deterrence ideas. The predictable political battle ensued.

And the gun violence continued unabated.

Back to the future

Fast forward to twenty twenty-two. Carty lost his mayoral bid to Wade and jumped to lead a Coalition for a Peaceful Toledo. You read that right, the man known for throwing coffee cups and road rage calling for a peaceful Toledo.

Grim got elected to city council, forgot her ten-point plan, and then got elected to the statehouse. Armour resigned from Wade’s initiative, and Wade moved on to discussing police tactics to reduce gun violence.

Here we are in twenty twenty three. Guns continue to blaze across the city. Wade is seeking a new initiative by partnering with the group Cities United.

Carty’s group is renamed Coalition for Peaceful Toledo Neighborhoods and is now led by all living former Toledo mayors. Donna Owens, Carty, Mike Bell, and PHH recently released their own twelve-point plan. Filled with generalities like supporting neighborhoods and families. Along with more police and surveillance cameras.

So far this year at least seven teenagers have died of gunfire in the city. Fifteen-point plan, anyone?

Enough of plans and political posturing. We need action. Treat this epidemic like the public health crisis it is.

Who will step up to once and for all lead this charge?