Guest Blog: Jax Shootings Not an Excuse for Increased Police State

by David Schneider

For my non-Jacksonville friends and family: The mass shooting today at the Landing was one of two that took place this weekend. On Friday, the Raines-Lee High School football game was shot up, leaving one dead and two injured. There were about 50 officers on-duty at the game by most reports, but the shooter was neither stopped nor apprehended.

Raines High School is on the city’s predominantly Black Northwest quadrant of town, which is criminally neglected by the City and over-policed. It experiences higher poverty, fewer living wage jobs, and worse infrastructure from decades of mistreatment.

Mayor Curry and Sheriff Williams quickly declared the shooting was “gang-related,” despite offering no evidence or even knowing the identity of the shooter. Their hope was to turn this tragedy into a political vehicle to pass their insane $24 million increase in funding to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, meaning $0.33 of every $1 in tax payer’s money would go towards policing.

Three points:

1. Both of these mass shootings are horrific and terrifying, yet the Raines-Lee shooting barely made the news outside of Jacksonville. Isn’t it wild how the Sheriff can label one “gang-related” with no evidence and the media looks at it differently than a “mass shooting” like today at the Landing?

2. The scene wasn’t even clear when I heard WJXT4 The Local Station / News4JAX broadcasters saying the one way to prevent this was “more police at the Landing.” This is what happens when you separate these two shootings: You miss the fact that 50 police didn’t stop the Raines-Lee shooting.

3. Jacksonville has seen a violent crime increase in the last year, despite adding 100 new cops in the 2017 budget. The rest of Florida and the country saw a decline. JSO left 70% of murders unsolved last year, despite millions in more funding and more officers. We have a serious problem with violent crime in Jacksonville, but more police isn’t the solution and won’t keep us safer.

I’m hurting today for my city. A lot of families lost or nearly lost loved ones this weekend. The Landing isn’t exactly the hottest spot in town anymore, but I’ve spent many nights hanging out there with friends and family – and it’s scary to see this type of carnage happen nearby. I’m interested in solutions, and I’m not interested in politicians or sheriffs using this tragedy to scare us into fake solutions proven to not work.


David Schneider is a Jacksonville resident and Teamster Union Steward who is helping to fight UPS’ proposed contract for worker power. This entry originally appeared as a Facebook post at: https://www.facebook.com/689056135/posts/10156409096836136/

About Elbert Garcia

Elbert Garcia serves as the New Florida Majority's Communications Director.
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