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SOMETHING TO KNOW AND PONDER ON 7 May 2016 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

SOMETHING TO KNOW AND PONDER ON

7 May 2016

Dear Friends and Patriots,

This week a conference was held in Birmingham, AL, sponsored by Cities United and hosted by Birmingham’s mayor, William Bell.  Cities United is a national action partnership organization with the objective of eliminating violence-related deaths of African American males.  They cite as their principle the premise that African American men and boys matter and are assets to our nation.  The conference was attended by mayors and leaders from 32 cities and towns from across the country.

Here’s some information put out during the conference:

-        Two to three percent of the population are the ones that are creating the most trouble . . . [in] any city.

-        According to recent data from the CDC, homicide is the leading cause of death for black men ages 15 to 34 nationwide. Black males in that age group are 10 times more likely to be murdered than whites the same age.

-        In most cities, anywhere from 50 percent to 80 percent of murder victims are African American men and boys.

Attendees at the two-day session agreed that the root cause goes deeper. They note that many in impoverished areas of their cities feel sense of hopelessness that makes them think that nothing – including life – matters.

          While you’re contemplating those statements, please peruse the 14 steps Cities United publishes as needs to resolve the problem of violence the organization exists to correct:

  1. 1.Build political will to change. Sustainable solutions must be conceived and

led by local government in partnership with the community. This means committed leadership at the top – governor, mayor, police chief, superintendent of public instruction, local chief of health and human services, elected officials in high-crime

neighborhoods and community leaders. This effort must be maintained and transcend local election cycles. This also means training leaders on effective

strategies to achieve community-wide results.

 

     2.  Create a local leadership team. Organize a cross-sector Anti-violence and

Community Stabilization group in every city to facilitate efforts within city government and between city government and the community.

 

     3.  Connect city leaders in a national network. Help city leaders find out what works in other cities and support them as they borrow and modify successful strategies.

 

     4.  Engage the leaders of the ‘violence factories’ in the conversation. Every city knows who they are. Bring them to the table and get them to enter a dialogue to save lives. Incentivize their participation. Get comfortable with their presence—they are critical to lasting change in communities. Meet them where they are!

 

     5.  Create a city-wide work group or commission. Tap committed individuals to join an effort to improve community, youth and family outcomes.

 

     6.  Be systematic about targeting resources where they are most needed.  Create grids across the city to identify the targeted geography and understand problem neighborhoods. Not every neighborhood is equally impacted. Cities must isolate pockets of violence and concentrate efforts and resources to maximize effectiveness.

 

     7.  Construct and implement a multi-year plan of action.  Document, monitor, and measure outcomes that build in flexibility to modify the plan when outcomes and circumstances warrant.

 

     8.  Develop an integrated response strategy.

• Across government agencies

• Across public and private sectors

• Across age groups

• Across civic and community organizations

• Across faith institutions

 

     9.  Teach every child to read.  Poor reading skills do not automatically lead to violent behavior, but data from various studies indicate that below grade-level reading ability is significantly related to the development of aggressive anti-social

behavior.

• Four of five incarcerated juvenile offenders read two or more years

below grade level. A majority are functionally illiterate.

• Seventy percent of the prison population reads below grade level.

 

     10.  Workforce readiness.  Nothing stops a bullet like a job! Ensure that all young men are prepared for post- high school education or vocational training that leads to the well-paying jobs in your city. Providing youth with summer jobs sets them up for success by giving them a great learning opportunity.

 

     11.  Provide community-wide mental health services. Remove the stigma associated with asking for help and ensure that everyone who suffers from mental health issues receives the care they need. Make the services easily accessible.

 

     12.  Engage and support parents and families. Help mothers, fathers, and concerned family members to lead their families and raise healthy, well-functioning children.

 

     13.  Stop the cycle of violence.  Address retaliation through programs such as Cure Violence’s “Violence Interrupters” or Omega Boys Club’s “Street Soldiers”.

 

     14. Keep the lights on.  Hold public events frequently and at all hours of the

24-hour day in the city’s most violence-prone places.


          All that sounds mighty good and promising, doesn’t it?  Now, look at it all again and note a few things there, and a few things that really aren’t.  Note the emphasis on a lot of organizational activity.  There are programs proposed, services to offer, engagements, and activities galore.  Now, translate that to what it really means. It means a lot of people who would be put on the public’s payroll.  It means careers for some. It means an industry created to serve those who are killing as well as those who might be targets to be killed.  It means another progressive bureaucracy with members who believe they’re doing good, while mostly serving themselves.  The Beast grows, all the while claiming they’re working to tame the very beast they’ve helped create.


          Now think about what’s missing.  Where’s the emphasis on family life and family values?  Item 12 on their 14 point agenda seems pretty darned tepid in that respect.  My own sense is that family life and family values should be number two on the roster, and should be more robustly stated.


          So, what should be number one, if family life and family values is number two?  Why not . . . religious emphasis in the community and family lives?  In communities that don’t suffer with the problems we’re talking about the hallmark of life is strong religious and family values.  It’s as old as time.   Raise them right, teach them right, lead them right, and demand right from them.  If you want to know what’s wrong in most communities that suffer from overly violent cultures, try looking at the lives of the kids through the filters of religious and ethical training and family values.  Where you find a lack of those, I suspect you’ll find the scourge of violence.


          The principle lessons taught by religions and a good family life are responsibility and self-discipline. It’s not about money.  The poorest of the poor can be responsible and have self-discipline.  Eventually those with innate abilities who have the right values and the right motivation will better themselves.   They’ll be compelled to do so just because of their superior ethics and will.  These are timeless truths you find in the Bible; nothing new.  Yet, when you see gatherings like the one in Birmingham and you read the objectives of a national organization like Cities United, you see almost no hint of them.  Instead you see a great example of an organization built according to the secular progressivist dogma that created the problem in the first place.


          If they were serious about resolving the problem of violence in the African American community, why not start with developing ways to instill the values in youth that causes young people to reject the notion of that violence?  Why not openly encourage value and religious based training?  Why not insist on marriage and family stability?   Why not aim support at struggling, but obviously needy intact family units instead of creating a bureaucracy with the primary intent of ensuring the already bad people don’t feel stigmatized because of their predatory ways?


          This is a racial thing, but it’s racial only because our federal government has engineered it to be so.  Yes, the problem exists in the African American community, but that’s because it’s there that the greatest impact of the federal government’s Great Society welfare state is felt.  It’s there that the secular progressive emphasis was pushed.  It’s there, in that new plantation of the entitled that the souls of Black American youth have been lost.   If those same programs were specifically aimed at Appalachia’s poor white population instead, you’d tune into your evening news tonight and hear about the excessively high violence and death rates among white youth in Wheeling and Roanoke, West Virginia instead of among the young blacks of Chicago and East St. Louis.  This phenomena is not a product of race.  It’s not a product of opportunity and poverty.  It’s a product of 50 years of a progressive policy, doing exactly as it was intended.


          That is all.  I can only stand so much madness in one day.

 

In Liberty,
Steve