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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Morning folks, and thank you for reading and commenting on chapter two of our race relations series. Please continue reading this post, but don't think you have to just "move on." If you're not finished with chapter two or you haven't read it yet, click the link and take a couple of minutes to read that post too.

In the mean time, I wanted to weigh in on something that happened here in the Miami area last week: the Rev. Jesse Jackson came to town to speak about the economic and structural meltdown in Haiti and to exhort Americans to be compassionate, help lower food prices in Haiti, etc.

Inevitably, when he was done at least one local TV reporter cornered Jackson and asked him about violent crime - murders, robberies, drug dealing, gang activity - in urban communities. There seems to be a lot of all of the above lately, at least here in South Florida.

I didn't have a problem with what Jackson said. What disappointed me was what he didn't say. Granted, he only had enough time to give a soundbite on local TV. But his comments were general in nature and safe, too safe. Things to the effect of we have to find solutions and a better way and what not.

All that's fine and good, but there are small-minded people who have been designated community leaders who will latch onto generalized safe comments about crime, and they will, of their own volition, stretch them and interpret them to mean government solutions. They don't get that back in the day "community solutions" literally meant that - neighbors, and churches, and relatives, and friends, not government.

Governments have never fixed anything. At their best, they've taken tax dollars, your dollars, and offered assistance: work assistance, school assistance, food assistance, etc. At their worst, they have spent your money, and not wisely.

Yes, they should use some property tax dollars to build parks and youth centers to give kids stuff to do. You know, the whole idle mind being the devil's workshop and all.

But once and for all governments can't stop violent crime...unless they establish some sort of Martial Law. And nobody with good sense wants that. The violent crime problem is a complicated issue, but not so complicated that we need bureaucrats mucking it up.

Violent crime is about behavior, soul - in this case the ability to place a value on life on an almost spiritual level, and familial leadership.

I don't know everything by a long shot, but I feel like a broken record player on this issue: If folks want the shootings and robberies and all that nonsense to stop, then a standard has to be set in which every parent teaches his kid that no matter how down on their luck they get and no matter how down on their luck all the folks around them seem to be, nothing - not money, not cars, not attractive members of the opposite sex, not power, not fame - is worth as much as another person's life.

If kids start to believe that other folks' lives are sacred and shouldn't be risked or taken for any reason outside the confines of life-or-death self defense or military combat, then when they're adults and feeling desperate for any one of those items they'll find another way to get it, or they'll exercise reason and logic and resolve to do without.

OK, I'm done. I get dizzy when I stand on soap boxes.

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  • Damn good advice. Irresponsible parents are the cause of too many future criminals. If some kid has no decent parental role models, they start looking up to any lowlife on the street who can get their attention. And since their parents don't inspire respect, they start following criminals who pretend to give a damn, as long as the kid will obey orders.
    Just my opinion.

    By Blogger BobG, at 2:29 PM  

  • It's for certain that kids won't respect a government. We don't respect them anymore, and shouldn't for all the good they have done. Of course we only have ourselves to blame for that, and the argument extends right back to the kids.

    When I graduated from high school, my father made enough money to support a house, a wife, three kids and two cars, we took a vacation, and they saved money. Then Viet Nam happened, and I made almost as much as he did when I graduated college, and my mother had to go to work, and I had moved out. Parents haven't been home for their kids since then.

    We just never had the opportunity that kids have now to get into trouble. An oversimplification, perhaps.

    By Blogger The CEO, at 11:34 PM  

  • It's a simple take, yes, Monty. But it's logical. You're right. With information - good and bad - flowing freely and all the "guardians" at work, kids do have more opps to get into dirt. On the other hand, we have the kids whose guardians are home all the time because they can't or don't or just won't work. What's the issue there? Lack of respect for the parent? Certainly not absenteeism.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 9:36 AM  

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