As noted several times here and through other media, Gambit contributor Deborah "Big Red" Cotton was one of the 19 people shot at yesterday's Mother's Day second line put on by the Original Big 7 Social Aid & Pleasure Club. Also noted here was Cotton's 2010 article on the media bias against SAPC's where she highlights how the news media misreported shootings that occurred in the vicinity of a where a second line had passed, but not during the actual parade, as "second line shootings."
There is no doubt that the shooting yesterday happened during the parade and, as stated by Mayor Mitch Landrieu and Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas, there is also no doubt that the second line had nothing to do with the shooting.
The picture you see above is a screengrab of a Google map I made to help illustrate where the shooting happened in relation to the parade. It should be noted that, as can sometimes happen, the parade route was changed at the last minute from the route announced by the Original Big 7 and published by Cotton on this website and by Charles "Action" Jackson on WWOZ's site.
Jackson said that last-minute route changes occur regularly at second lines and for several reasons, including because of road closures and construction, if the SAPC is late starting the parade and if there are concerns about the condition of the roads where the parade is taking place. Jackson said that yesterday's parade, which was slated to start at 1 p.m., didn't actually start rolling until 1:30 p.m. and was only marching for a few blocks and hadn't reached its first stop when the shots rang out.
"A lot of people hadn't made it there yet," Jackson said via telephone. "I don't know how much worse it could've gotten if more people had gathered."
Though three people remain in critical condition, it is a minor miracle that no one was killed during this parade and, even though dozens of people were in the line of fire, the fact that the shooting happened so soon in the parade spared many more from being hurt.
Another map to take note of is pictured below. It shows all of the violent crimes - specifically those designated assaults - committed yesterday throughout the city. It should be noted that five of those crimes, including the shooting, happened within 10 blocks of the proposed parade route.
As many have pointed out, the shooting happened at the parade, not because of it. As you look at the NOLA Crime Map you'll see that there were at least 22 other incidents where violence was perpetrated throughout the city. It's important to look and reflect on both these maps because they represent, as SAPC Task Force President Tamara Jackson told me over the phone, "the systemic problem" New Orleans has with violent crime.
"I was angry at first," Jackson, who did not attend the parade, said when she heard of the shooting. "You're only allowed four hours and it's four hours of celebration of life. For someone to come to that parade and try to take someone's life is horrible."
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