Crème is 5!; bravo, Governor Grisham

by Mick Rhodes |

Owner/visionary Erica Dubreuil opened Crème Bakery on September 19, 2018, intent on complementing Claremont’s already lively coffee and pastry scene, with Some Crust the next block over, Last Drop Café across the street, and two chain coffee spots also steps away.

I was skeptical, wondering how another Village bakery was going to fare. But then I made my first trip to Crème and wondered no longer.

I was immediately hooked on Dubreuil’s fantastic baguette sandwiches, particularly the Saucisson Sec, a deceptively simple little bomb of happiness with its dry Italian salami, fontina cheese, Dijon mustard, and cornichons. Oh. My. God. Later I got my hands on the pastries. Game over. I was and remain a devotee.

Crème Bakery on Harvard Avenue is celebrating its five year anniversary. Courier photo/Steven Felschundneff

Now Crème is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Amazing, isn’t it, that so many lovely little bakeries can coexist and thrive in this relatively tiny town?

And it’s not just the food.

Dubreuil’s stylish presence is also a lure. Her elegant 116 Harvard Avenue store would be at home in Paris or London. And though the queue often snakes out the door and up the street, I’ve never seen her short or harried. She’s always a welcoming picture of peace.

Surprisingly, Crème is Dubreuil’s retirement project. I joked with her last week that for most of us, retirement means we don’t go to work any longer. Lucky for us she has other ideas.

So I raise my coffee cup to Crème. The restaurant business isn’t an easy ride, and Dubreuil’s managed to establish a beachhead that with any luck, will remain for many years to come, providing solace and Saucisson Secs to grateful believers.

And now for something completely different

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham showed the world what a leader looks like last week, signing an emergency order banning open and concealed carry of guns in Albuquerque and the surrounding Bernalillo County, citing the recent killings of two teenagers as partial impetus.

“Gun violence is an epidemic in America, and I’m done letting it be an epidemic anywhere in my state. Enough is enough,” Grisham said.

Good on ya, governor. Thank you for showing some backbone and standing up to this grotesque public health emergency. It’s about time someone did.

Before you gun fetishists sit down to fire off a scathing letter to the editor, sit tight; Grisham acknowledged the move is not going to stop criminals from carrying guns.

“But here’s what I do think — it’s a pretty resounding message to everybody else in that community to report a crime, to tell us what’s going on, to aid law enforcement to do something different,” she told reporters.

That “something different” bit is important. No less an authority than the Journal of the American Medical Association recently released the results of a comprehensive study, “Characterization of Mass Shootings by State, 2014-2022,” that makes clear our strategies have failed.

JAMA recorded 4,011 mass shootings over that period. School or work shootings accounted for 1.4% of that total. Hawaii and North Dakota had zero mass shootings. Illinois saw 414, and California an eye-popping 367. Overall, a total of 21,006 Americans were killed or injured by mass shootings over the nine year study period.

And it’s only getting worse.

“The US has more than 10 times the number of mass shooting events as other developed countries,” read the study. “Mass shootings in the US have increased in frequency, with more than half occurring since the year 2000. These events have a direct toll on individuals injured or killed, as well as a psychological impact on families, friends, and society.”

Governor Grisham’s order contains carve outs: “Exceptions include for licensed security guards and law enforcement officers,” reads the order. “Citizens with permits to carry firearms are free to possess their weapons on private property (such as at a gun range or gun store), provided they transport the firearm in a locked box, use a trigger lock, or some other mechanism that renders the gun incapable of being fired.”

California has the most stringent gun laws in the nation, but still, mass shootings occur. According to the Giffords Law Center’s Gun Law Scorecard, we’re ranked 43rd out of the 50 states in gun deaths at 9 per year per 100,000 citizens. By contrast, Mississippi tops this grim list at 33.9 deaths per 100,000.

Criminals will always find a way to get their hands on guns, apologists say, and they’re not wrong. But The National Institute of Justice, a research agency of the US Department of Justice,  reports that from 1966 to 2019, 77% of at least some of the weapons used by mass shooters were purchased legally. So at least when it comes to mass shooting events, it would seem sensible gun control legislation would help to stem that ugly tide.

People are being shot in schools, malls, workplaces, and at concerts, and it’s just getting worse. Why not try something new, like Governor Grisham did, and shake things up? If it fails, well, somebody did something besides throw their hands up and declare the gun lobby an immovable, all-powerful inevitability that cannot be dislodged from its traditional perch, gumming up congress’s ability to enact sensible gun policy.

Something isn’t always better than nothing. But in this instance, it’s worth a try.


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