19 November 2007

Nation's Capital or Murder Capital?

A few nights ago in Washington DC, a young man named Timothy Spicer was getting into his car at a metro station when he was car jacked.
It wasn't enough that some thug wanted to steal his car, but they shot him three times and left him to die, which unfortunately he did a short time later. Then this same ruthless animal took his car, drove it for a few hours and then abandoned it in south-east DC. This savage hoodlum, KILLED a man, KILLED a father in cold blood for what? For a joyride? To get to his girlfriend's of his mama's house a little faster than a cab or a bus? Actually, it doesn't really matter. No reason is justifiable.
Of course, now almost everyone in DC is asking, "What can police chief Cathy Lanier do to solve the high murder rates in the district? What can police chief Cathy Lanier do to stop the violence in the streets?"
My question is, "What is DC going to do to stop the violence and the murders?"
I always hear around DC what is the POLICE CHIEF going to do? And, I'm always amazed. There is NO magic solution that the police chief is hiding or holding onto that is going to make these knuckleheads, hoodlums, thugs and monsters stop robbing, raping and killing innocent people. The police chief just can't reach into his or her [now "HER", but not too long ago "HIS"] pocket and pull out a substance that will make these people go away or at least stop being criminals.
All a police chief can really do is strategically move and allocate manpower to try and put band-aids on gunshot wounds [no pun intended] around the city. A chief can also try to maintain a system of post crime investigation that truly hunts and fully prosecutes criminals.
But, neither of these are REALLY and TRULY going to stop the vast majority of murders and violent crimes. Sure, they'll stop a few, but the bulk of crimes will continue. I think in DC there are probably over 1000 city blocks of varying sizes. Considering that you would need between 1 and 7 officers on foot patrol, shifts a day, almost 24 hours a day, for weeks, months and years to really make a big dent in the DC murder rate and frankly, DC doesn't have the manpower or the budget for such foolishness. Then when it comes to post crime follow up, the DC police constantly run into the 50 people standing over the body that "didn't see nuffin'. " It is truly a lose-lose situation for those who think the police chief is the savior.
It all comes down to simply one thing - if person A wants to kill person B for any reason... drugs, money, love, hate, whatever - there is a good chance that person B is going to be in the morgue in a very short time. DC is a city with tough, though useless, gun laws and getting a gun is not hard to do if you know the right people or can hop across the border into northern Virginia or central Maryland. Person A can get the equipment they need to slaughter person B and the police chief and police department can do little to stop it.
There are really only a few ways to stop the violence and murder in DC, some are legal - though not politically desirable and still others are illegal and unfavorable and yet highly effective.
-I think one solution to the crime rate would to be a massive overhauling of the public education system. The schools have to truly teach the children and teach them well. The teachers have to be talented and highly motivated [and yes, highly paid and highly recruited] and they must be supported by the parents! The parents are vital to children that become strong learners. It is only through solid learning that the young people can grow up to have options in their lives. With a school system that is just barely making it, kids just get pushed through and when they come out at 18 or 19, they are not prepared to find truly gainful employment. And these young people become very susceptible to the call of the violent and hungry streets. YOUNG PEOPLE MUST BE EDUCATED!
-The district of Columbia must also, constantly, seek to bring new business and industry to within its city limits. Young people must have job opportunities that will allow them to have comfortable and productive lives. I'm not knocking fast-food jobs, but before young people are drawn into the street life, they must be given professional and intellectual options to bring out the best in them, without that opportunity they will see no self-worth and will feel that being a thug or a "baby mama" is all they are good for. YOUNG PEOPLE MUST BE EMPLOYED!
-Lastly, law enforcement has to GET THE GUNS. I have no proof of what I am about to say, but in a city where civilian ownership of a firearm is illegal, I am willing to bet that there are easily 10,000 illegal guns inside the city limits. The gun violence is too high and there have been too many shootings and murders in the last 15 years to believe that there are less than 10,000 guns. Now, this is where it gets tricky. You can't just say, "Okay, everybody turn in your guns." That might get you a few hundred, and those will be 50 year old relics from law abiding citizens that didn't know what to do with Grandpa's old pistol from WWII. Police need to get out on the streets and do something akin to random spot-checks. YES, I KNOW that violates the 4th Amendment, and there is part of the problem. It's illegal. But when I was a kid in Baltimore, my buddies and I seemed to always be getting stopped by the cops and frisked. They'd mumble something like, "Oh, a lady was mugged up the street and she said a Black kid did it." While we never knew when this was true and when it wasn't, typically in my neighborhood - if someone robbed someone - it was a Black kid. Yeah, that is sad, but it is true and I'd be lying or bullsh*tting if I claimed otherwise. But, a big deterrent to gun violence would be the danger of being caught at random in a police search and facing stiff jail time. The bonus would be dozens of guns coming off the streets almost every day. While this is very unsavory to think about - it would work. Then as Black people, we have to decide whether we want our young Black men to have hurt feelings or to have bullet wounds.
All this ranting and it still seems like a lose-lose to me. I hope I'm wrong.


Evolution83 said...

While I honestly cannot agree with everthing (i.e. the violation of the 4th amendment right to bear arms simply because people abuse the right), you have said the most ingenious thing: teacher recruiting. Now while I dont profess to know everything there is to know private schools, I think they may recruit, which would definitely explain a lot, but to recruit teachers, not just based on scores or tests but the willingness to teach, could alleviate a host of problems. It could also form a trickle down (or trickle up as the case may be) effect that would eventually reorganize the system.

Excellent post, man. I love proactive posts.

The Thinking Black Man said...

Hi EVOLUTION83, Thanks for the kind comment.

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of violating the 4th Amendment. Illegal search and seizure just opens up so much potential for wrongdoing on both sides of the law. While I am against it, I have to admit that it WOULD get a lot of guns off the streets. But it would be a mess.

I really like the agressive teaching and parenting approach. Teachers are a great resource and the very best should be sought and they should be paid accordingly. There is no reason that men and women should [almost] have to take a vow of poverty to impower and enlighten our young people.

It's a rough spot far all.

Thanks again!

Dirty Red said...

Man I was wondering where you been!!
I have been coming to your site for about 2 weeks looking for a new post!
You are not wrong. Education, tough but fair law enforcement and Fathers getting involved in their son's lives are the solution. I think the key thing is Fathers. Men need to raise their children, Fathers should be a childs role model not some sports star or rapper. I wish my son would come and tell me he wants to be like Tim Duncan or 50 cent.(Whenever the Lord feels I am ready to be blessed with a son) My reply would be, when Tim Duncan or 50 cent starts buying your clothes, feeding you, sitting up at night after a long day at work helping you with your homework, playing catch early in the morning or late at night, going to PTA meetings,spending money on video games that I don't play and telling you everything will be alright after some little girl has broken your heart, then you will have my blessing to be like Tim Duncan, 50 cent or anybody else in the world. Until that day comes I will be his Superman. And that is the solution to our gigantic problem.

Lovebabz said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I am glad your back. I awarded you an award--see your Noose post. I will speak to this currect post after the Holidays!

deathsweep said...

I guess teaching, education would help. I guess having stricter law enforcement would help. But in all honesty, lack of either of these is no excuse for "anyone" to think that they have the right to take someones life. If it were randon it could possibly be explained as sickness (putting it mildly) but in the case where it is common, it is simply lack of respect and concern for human life...period. It's a lack of morals.

Gunfighter said...

Welcome back, brother!

It's all of the things you mentioned, but one that you didn't as well.

I happen to know the Chief LAnier indeed does have a magic lamp that will stop crime.

She just won't use it, so she can hold the people down.

It's just a big conspiracy.

Didin't you get the memo?



Sister P said...

Glad to see you back in action!
As someone who grew up in Detroit, I've had too many relatives and classmates murdered to name. Is there a solution? Yes, it's a one word answer. Ready for it? Here it comes! I'm for real....the word is HOPE.

Rev. Jesse says it all the time and I've come to realize that it makes the difference. Hope and believing in Karma would do a lot. When you have a conscience you can't do all that ish.

Now, do I know how to go about instilling hope in the hearts and minds of a once great people? Uhhh...no.

In the mean time, each one reach one. Community service helped me feel better and make it through a lot of tough times in The D.

Evolution83 said...

Ha!! Thanks man. You got me, and Im a History major. I should know better.

Nance said...

I teach high school in NE Ohio, right outside of Cleveland. We try like crazy to recruit teachers of color for our school, which has a minority population of about 22%. We cannot find any candidates! It's' ridiculous. We've gone to recruitment events at colleges and job fairs. Not only are very few people going into teaching, but even less minority students are pursuing a teaching degree. Where are the role models in education that "look like" the kids most at risk? This country has an education gap between white and non-white learners that is being bridged slowly, but not as fast as it might be if there were more minority educators who could stand as examples. Education is absolutely the key; I wholeheartedly agree with you. I just wish it were a more attractive, more respected, more prestigious career for more people who could make a difference.

B. Good said...

I too am baffled at why people look toward the police chief or mayor to stop crime. They are your sons and daughters out here actin' a fool......why don't YOU do somethin' about it?!?


The Thinking Black Man said...

Hey DIRTY RED, what's up Brother?

Yeah, I was out of the loop for a few weeks there. My youngest son was pretty sick for a few weeks, and a big project started up at my job, so I just didn't have a minute to spare!

All I can say to your comment is AMEN! ('nuff said!)

Hi there LOVE BABS!!! Thanks for my FABULOUS AWARD! I'm going to post it up shortly. I'm humbled!!!

Hey DEATH SWEEP, what's up man?

I agree with you 100%. I just can't figure out why some people just feel like they have the ultimate power over life and death and others lives are just not worth any consideration. Inevitably these folks HAVE to learn to respect one another!

What's up brother GUNFIGHTER? I've been out of the loop for too long. Being a Dad, I know you know about sick kids and how they make everything take a back seat!

You know... I didn't get that memo. I'll have to double-check my inbox.

Hey SISTER P, how are you? HOPE is good. My cynical side sometimes forgets about that.

I'm a big believer in Karma, though. I agree that what you put out, comes back. I wish more people did!

I love the fact that you said, "a once great people..." MY GOD, that is such a perfect point! So many of our people forget our legacy of strength and pride. So many have forgotten [or never knew of] the struggles of our fore fathers! Everytime a trigger is pulled, their legacy is shamed. What a great point you made!!!

It's all good! They all tend to blend together sometimes, don't they? : )

Hi there NANCE, how are you?
That is a complete shame! I think that many people probably WANT to teach, but with the way teachers are paid AND sometimes disrespected, it makes the profession unattractive. I think it is downright criminal that athletes, singers, rappers, and actors get paid millions of dollars a year, and yet the people the educate our children and open their minds to a lifetime of learning can barely make $40K a year!!! CRIMINAL!!!

I have a family member with a degree [in education I believe] from Harvard. She works for a local public school system and probably earns in that $40K range. She says it drives her crazy when people say, "Wow, you have a degree from Harvard! Why do you work in a public school system?" She usually shuts them up by saying, "Because I want to help children."


Hey B.GOOD - YES! YES!! YES!!! Bring YOUR kids in the house at a reasonable time! Make sure YOUR kids have done their homework! Check around their room sometime to make sure all is well! MAke sure you know YOUR childs friends! HANDLE YOUR KIDS BUSINESS!!!

Great, great, great!!!

Brother OMi said...

i agree education and PARENTING is the key. the people should also be involved with crimefighting: tenant neighborhood watches, getting people to hang out in pairs, etc.

but everyone is right about the teachers though. its hard to recruit. a friend of mine did the math: 81% of teachers in the US are white females.

we need to think of incentives to get people to teach. we also have to decrease the student to teacher ratio. and bottom line, parents need to step up. join those PTAs folks

also mentoring opportunities are available. there are lots of single people. Big Brothers/Big Sisters are struggling to find volunteers

ZACK said...

Although you wrote this post 3 months ago, it is still relevant.

I completely agree with your plan of action and hope that someone with power reads this.