Today I had the pleasure of attending the World Cultural Economic Forum

Today I had the pleasure of attending the World Cultural Economic Forum in New Orleans at the lovely Ritz Carlton on Canal St. - note to self, go hang on the rooftop lounge someday... This event gathered mayors from around the wold to discuss culture, economy, quality of life, bringing change, providing benefits to citizens... it was interesting to hear perspectives from varied countires & locales from Guatemala to Hungary to Ohio to Pennsylvania, St. Paul, and France, etc. Great to hear how mayors are finding that culture and the arts are the way to lead change, create connections from people of different backgrounds, and create small victories in their towns that make their citizens feel happy and good. Really good people spoke today. I had two very distinct experiences today, my day started by walking my doggie through my neighborhood. I didn't have any coffee before heading out and moving a little slowly noticed some broken car glass on the sidewalk. I processed this quickly as a car break-in as you do and continued on. It was pretty hot this morning and as I was running late I didn't go very far, turning around on the same street instead of continuing on finding a new path as we typically would. In doing so I bumped into my neighbor who had a broom and dustpan tidying up her urban square of green. I asked her how she was and she had a odd look on her face, she told me that at 8.30 the previous evening a man got shot in the leg on her little plot of grass here. Then I noticed that 3 cars were missing their glass windows - a beetle across the street without a rear windshield, a sedan right next to her plot of grass missing a side window and having a spider webbed front windshield and another sedan further down the street missing a rear windshield, all from being shot. There were 5 cars up and down the street that were shot out. Evidently someone with a semi-automatic weapon unelashed rounds of rambo style bullets on this little street, usually filled with people walking along. The police showed up eventually, I hear, not asking any neighbors for their statements of what happened, only telling everyone to stay inside and not to enter the crime scene. No one has been questioned thus far. My neighbor is still picking up bullet casings from her front yard. I read last week of a school bus in the Irish Channel, also very close by, being shot at - 2pm in the afternoon. What the hell? Why are guns allowed in places where people live? NO ONE deserves to live with violence in their neighborhoods. And why should ANYONE own a semi-automatic weapon? If people can't give up their weapons - I propose there are zones where weapons are allowed & I think that permissable zone should be about 1' x 1' and they can all pile up in a nice pile never to be used again. How do we end these ubiquitous weapons, shootings, and killings - how can we use our creativity and knowledge to end the extreme violence in our country? Who wants to work on this together? If you are working on this, I want to help. Let's draw a line and stop accepting this as our reality.

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