It’s that time of year again. With summer’s arrival, people flow into the streets of America’s poorest urban neighborhoods. Temperatures rise and tempers get shorter. Old beefs between corner drug crews start to simmer again as warm weather brings more addicts to the neighborhood, sparking territorial disputes over the swelling black market. Violence can come to the city in many ways, but it comes, like clockwork, when the weather warms up.
In the past month alone, Philadelphia has seen an 86 percent spike
in homicides, bringing the year’s tally to 173. Nearly thirty people
were shot in the city over Memorial Day weekend alone. In Chicago, a
rash of summer gang violence has the city in a state of emergency, as
its homicide total soars 50 percent over last year’s. Some in the press
have labeled it “worse than Afghanistan.”
It's that time of year again, when the Texas Republican Party continues its grim, unwilling march toward the 17th century by updating its party platform. It's the usual gathering of heavy-duty God talk, racist paranoia, Victorian-era attitudes toward marriage, crippling homophobia, and that bit of Texas right-wing weirdness that I've always been fond of, the abject fear that your child might learn that there are other ways of viewing the world other than holing up in a house with a gun in case today's the day that reparations-seekers descend from black helicopters to kick down your door and confiscate your Bible. The obsession with giving total control over the minds and bodies of minors to their parents blows past creepy and right into Flowers in the Attic territory.