It happened again recently: a musician leaving a gig at a Frenchman Street club late at night was robbed at gun point of cash, a cell phone, and other belongings. Fortunately, in this particular instance, his instruments were not taken in the robbery, so he can continue to work. This is an all to frequent occurrence in our city, afflicting not only musicians (easy to spot if they’re carrying an instrument) but also bartenders, waiters and waitresses, dancers, and others who work into the wee hours and are usually paid nightly in cash. These robberies are generally ignored by the media because publicizing them would be bad for the tourist business, and the Super Bowl is coming up soon!
The problem is, of course, that we have simply allowed our city to become infested by a group of predators. I believe that if you think of it in terms of what action you would take if your kitchen were infested with rats, and examine what solutions might solve the problem and rid your home of the rats, and which solutions might not have long lasting effects.
I believe that if you call a pest control professional, they will assure you that the only way to permanently rid yourself of pests is to exterminate them. You cannot rid yourself of them by building schools, forcing them to wear ankle bracelets to track their movements, holding job fairs, improving their housing, or establishing midnight basketball programs. You must permanently eradicate them, as this prevents them from causing any further problem and also prevents them from breeding.
Musicians (and others in the hospitality industry) need to arm themselves and begin the process of ridding the city of predators whenever a robbery is attempted. We simply cannot wait for law enforcement authorities to arrive. By the time they get to the scene of the crime, our money, our cars, our personal property, and our instruments are long gone, and if we’re lucky, we’re still alive.
Honestly, you need to consider the current situation and decide if you wish to be a victim or proactive. A gun in the hand is worth far more than a police dispatcher on the phone. The rats are in the kitchen. We must now decide what to do about them.