I started writing this post at the beginning of the month. Due to blog issues it was lost twice. One last try, because this is important.
The start of July 2016 saw the deaths of two Black men which were partially caught on video. One was a career criminal, who was killed by police while resisting arrest. One was a positive influence in his church and community, who died due to a tragic miscommunication between himself and the officer. I grieve for these dead men, the officers involved and all of their families and communities.
While I do not fault the Black community for being outraged over these two deaths, I have to ask this: every week, forty-eight Black people are killed across this country in Black-on-Black violence with nary a peep from social media, nor the national-level media. Even the local media covers it like "Yeah, another 3 Black people were killed and 12 wounded in weekend violence. Stay tuned, we'll report this again next week." I then see the local Black leaders hold prayer vigils and call for the end of violence.
And not a damn thing happens, except more young Black people are killed. If you want to solve a problem (i.e., the scores of Black deaths), I suggest you break down the problem and then with all of your effort go after the biggest issue.
The federal government cannot solve this issue. Nor can the state government, nor county/city government. They can be part of the solution, however the People must take action if this is truly to be solved.
This is what I see:
- A Black culture that glorifies violence in its many forms.
- A Black culture that punishes advancing in life.
- A broken prison and parole system.
- A community who fails its citizens.
- A surplus of idle hands.
I refuse to paint this issue with a broad brush. This is not "all Blacks" or any other nonsense. This is a very specific segment of the Black population. To change how society handles them is a task that falls on all of us. To changes themselves, that must come from within them.
I want to start out saying the majority of Black families (single-parent and nuclear) want and push their children to learn, gain knowledge and succeed in life. These parents are to be commended for their actions.
When I hear Blacks roll by me in their cars, blaring Rap music I get sad. Most of the Rap music I hear uses all kinds of derogatory and dehumanizing terms towards women, as well as advocating violence and illegal activity. I understand this music is a reflection of their daily lives. That does not preclude those same Rap artists from focusing on the positive aspects of the lives of those people. When it comes to advancing in life, there is a portion of the Black population that punishes other Blacks for wanting to succeed. If a Black schoolchild is studying to be a professional (either white-collar or skilled), they are punished by their peer group for "wanting to be White." The result, an untrained young Black person lacking the foundation of knowledge to operate effectively in this society and is unhireable for anything more than grunt work at minimum wage. The males are forced into illicit activities to provide income, thus dying early in gang violence or spending most of their lives in prison. The women survive by popping out babies to get on Welfare.
Make no mistake about it, what I have just described is a small percentage of the Black community. That being said, it is this sliver of the population where most of the violence and lawlessness comes from.
The ideas I am about to describe to you will not be easy. Nothing worth having ever comes easy. It will not be a fast solution. This is a "crock pot" solution versus a "microwave" solution. If the proper effort is consistently applied, it will take at least 20 years before meaningful change happens.
The prison system has to change. The current prison system is not designed to rehabilitate. It is designed to crush the mind, spirit and body of the prisoner. Yes, there are isolated programs to teach felons trades, but they are just that, isolated. A trade school program to certify these men and women in lucrative, marketable skills is essential, both in High School (so they don't get into the justice system in the first place) and prison (so they have skills to keep them out of prison).
The parole system has to change. Right now a felony conviction ruins a person for the rest of their lives. It cuts off most of their opportunities and relegates them to the low-paying, unskilled labor which almost guarantees their re-entry into the justice system. There needs to be a universal incentive for businesses to hire first-time felons who acquired those marketable skills and put them to work.
Society has to "disavow" its criminals. Up until the Civil War, miscreants (defined as depraved or villainous) who caused too much trouble in a town or village were "ridden out of town on a rail." Let me show you want that meant.
This is a fence rail. notice how the top rail is actually pretty much square in its cross-section.
Because our colonial ancestors didn't have the time or equipment to make their fence rails fancy, the old-fashioned and simplest way was to quarter a log, like this:
So when someone was "ridden out of town on a rail," the townspeople stripped the miscreant naked, then carried him to the edge of town on said fence rail, lifted upon the shoulders of two men. The rail was positioned with the point upwards (as shown) and the miscreant straddled the rail. I think the terms "extremely painful" and "wood splinters in the genitals and crotch" would be accurate regarding said ride. Tarring and feathering (coating the miscreant with liquid tar then covering him with feathers) usually accompanied the "traveling by rail," either before or after. Below is an image from the book Huckleberry Finn describing such an incident. Notice the miscreant has already been tarred and feathered.
The whole purpose of this exercise was to "encourage" the miscreant to either conform to the socially acceptable behavior of the town or move on down the road to the next town.
Today, we lack the necessary plethora of strong men and fence rails. That being said, the mother of a criminal who performed a drive-by should not be on TV saying, "He's a good boy!" Your "good boy" shot 20+ bullets into a house full of people because he didn't like one of them, killing three including a toddler. This criminal, violent sub-section of our society needs to be forcefully ejected from town and be told in no certain terms, "Don't come back." Everyone in the neighborhood knows where the drug houses are and who the gang-bangers are. I also know the gang-bangers are well-armed and have zero compunction against shooting you in the head, then sitting on your still-warm body and eating lunch. The gang-bangers will be run out of town when the people in those neighborhoods throw them out despite their fears.
I am not advocating violence except as a last resort. If you can run the gang-bangers out of town without anyone getting hurt, I'm all for it. Absent that outcome, the most extreme option might be for our neighborhoods to gather together at 2 am to throw Molotov cocktails into the windows of every drug house and shoot everybody who escapes the flames. Gang-bangers are a cancer in our cities and towns. Surgery to remove the cancer must be performed, amputation if necessary. I understand the actions and consequences of these actions and I do not say this lightly.
Once the criminals are flushed, then businesses can come into the depressed neighborhoods and start offering jobs. The jobs can be right there or shuttle service could be offered. I don't know how exactly it would play out. When the Black population from these poorer neighborhoods divest themselves from the criminal element, acquire a positive and drug-free attitude, the jobs are there. I know of one factory in my city that is short-handed, simply because many of the job applicants can't pass a drug screening.
Learning must be equated with prosperity. Once these prior changes are well into effect, then the Black culture needs to start associating learning, knowledge and skills with success and affluence rather than just sports ability or how well they can write and perform Rap music.
I for one want everybody to succeed without regard to their skin color, sex, ethnic heritage, socioeconomic background or anything else. Everybody has a different vision of success. While some want to strike it rich, become a CEO and make a Billion dollars a year, others may want to meet their monthly expenses, save for retirement and spend every evening at home with their family. I'm all for you deciding what you want.