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Crime and Natural Disasters to Increase

Ominous Signs of Corruption

Corruption was displayed by both citizens and public officials just days after Hurrican Katrina hit New Orleans. Was Ellen G. White right about her predictions of corruptions in the big cities?

Public Officials

There are certainly many fine police officers out there, but the following news story concerns us. If too many police officers are that corrupt, then it is fairly certain that society as a whole is probably worse. Notice especially the date of the bookings of the first two mentioned officers, just five days before Hurricane Katrina hit:

A New Orleans police officer [Keith Griffin] was booked Wednesday [Aug. 24] with aggravated rape, kidnapping and malfeasance in office after forensic test results provided enough evidence to go forward with a case that has been investigated for more than a month.

. . .

He was the second New Orleans officer booked with a crime Wednesday.

In an unrelated case, Leflora Young, 34, was booked with writing a worthless check.

Young, an 11-year veteran assigned to the community policing unit, allegedly wrote checks to various businesses from a closed account, Defillo said. Young was booked in the most recent such allegation, Defillo said, in which he is accused of cashing a $500 check at a neighborhood convenience store.

. . .

The two cases follow a troubling trend of New Orleans officers being accused of crimes in recent months, including at least two cases in which officers were accused of sexual misconduct.

In April, seven-year veteran Corey Johnson was booked with aggravated rape . . . .

And in April 2004, 16-year veteran James Adams was booked with aggravated kidnapping, extortion and malfeasance . . . .

In other police misconduct cases, eight officers were arrested during a six-month stretch last year on charges that ranged from shoplifting to theft to conspiracy to rob a bank.—"Orleans cop booked with raping bicyclist," Times-Picayune, Aug. 25, 2005, bold added.

Private Citizens

And the problems weren't just with police officers. Consider the following story about what one of the young, former citizens of New Orleans was up to, and thus catch a glimpse of how that city was a disaster ready to happen whenever a catastrophe struck:

When Hurricane Katrina hit, Ivory "B-Stupid" Harris was living at 2800 Perdido, the parish jail. . . .

The 20-year-old man had racked up a staggering list of arrests in New Orleans, including two on murder charges. But he was never convicted of any serious crime.

When New Orleans flooded — five days after a local crime commission criticized police and prosecutors for doing a poor job of putting violent criminals behind bars — Harris was one of thousands of inmates farmed out to jails throughout Louisiana.

And when he was released in Shreveport on Nov. 3, Harris became Houston's problem and a key figure in Houston's new crime controversy.

Harris is among 11 Katrina evacuees suspected of transferring their New Orleans turf battles to Houston and carrying out homicides, robberies and kidnappings that began after his release from Shreveport. . . .

He was arrested in New Orleans Jan. 4 [2006] on a criminal trespass charge — and released on a $2,500 bail bond.

. . .

The crime commission's damning report less than a week before the hurricane said that only 7 percent of those arrested were ever convicted and that 60 percent of all convictions were for misdemeanors. It also said violent offenses such as murder, rape, battery or assault made up only 5 percent of all convictions during 2003-04.

Another commission report in March underscored how easy it was for people with long records to get their bonds reduced and obtain release before trial on charges of committing violent crimes.

. . .

As a result, Goyeneche said, violent criminals allowed back on the street were frequently able to intimidate victims and witnesses before trial, resulting in prosecutors dismissing cases they found nearly impossible to prove.

"Every year, there are one or two people killed who were scheduled to testify in criminal court," Goyeneche said.

. . .

Harris had a record of more than a dozen arrests as a juvenile before he was charged with the April 9, 2002, shooting death of 24-year-old Alphonse McGhee in the courtyard of the CJ Peete Housing Project. An Orleans Parish grand jury indicted Harris as an adult on first-degree murder charges . . . .

The district attorney's office dropped the charges against Harris on June 10, 2004, after a key witness's identification was deemed inadmissible at trial. Harris could have been eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

. . .

Less than a month after his release, he was arrested on a weapons charge.

He was in and out of jail for the next two years, including arrests on charges of aggravated battery, simple burglary, another weapons charge and a slew of misdemeanors.

Last spring, Harris was charged with murder again. He was accused of gunning down thrift-store owner Yoshio Watson, 30, on May 12. His picture ran in the "Wanted by the Law" section of the New Orleans Times-Picayune twice before he was arrested June 19.

But on Aug. 22, a week before Katrina threw the city into chaos, the district attorney's office dropped those charges against him.

. . .

In December, New Orleans evacuee Jack Jabocy Griffin, 20, was shot to death in his car in Houston. The police have named Harris as a suspect and think Griffin's death may be tied to a pool-hall shooting in November.

Harris also has been charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping in Houston.

"So he was let out, went to Houston and started causing problems there," said Crime Commission senior analyst John Humphries.—"New Orleans failures led crime here," Houston Chronicle, Feb. 4, 2006, bold added.

The Lesson to Be Learned

Sadly, it seems that there is an endless supply of similar stories of increasing corruption in other locations. If Mrs. White's prophecy of society trampling God's law has been fulfilled thus far, is it safe to assume that we will see increasing chaos and crime in the future?

It is imperative that we all be fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the power of the indwelling Spirit live upright, moral lives. And it is imperative that we do all we can to influence others to do the same. Then whenever disaster strikes, reason can hold sway rather than passion, mildness rather than violence, self-sacrifice rather than self-indulgence.

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